6 Steps to Guarantee the Security of Your WordPress Site

WordPress is undoubtedly the king of the blogosphere, representing millions of the most successful blogs out there today and offering a wealth of customization options for content creators.

As one can imagine, however, with so much success also come a number of security concerns.

Considering the 55% increase of phishing scams and cyber-attacks in 2015, cybersecurity is a massive concern for today’s site owners. In the wake of so many attacks, many bloggers are wondering how to protect themselves and their digital investments. Therefore, it’s no surprise why so many of today’s professionals are seeking their CISSP certification to keep their sites safe and fight the growing threat of cyber-attacks.

Regardless of your current knowledge of cybersecurity, there are steps you can take to protect your site if it’s hosted on WordPress. Achieve peace of mind and make your site a safer place by following the following six-point checklist.

1. Change Your Username

Changing your username from “admin” is an incredibly simple safety fix that makes your site less susceptible to brute force attacks. By having a unique username, you avoid getting blasted by hackers going after sites with “admin” as their target.

2. Beef Up Your Password

Having a strong password may seem like a no-brainer; however, up to 75% of users boast weak passwords that are a potential breeding ground for attracting hackers and scammers. The principles of a strong password are fairly straightforward, including by not limited to:

  • Sufficient length (approximately 12 characters or more)
  • In this case, unique to WordPress (for example, don’t use the same password for your site and personal email)
  • Uses a combination of numbers, letters, capitalized letters and special characters
  • Doesn’t use common words or phrases and is broken up by the aforementioned characters (for example, “Blogger1234!” is a weaker password versus “12Blog34Ger!”)

3. Know Your Plug-Ins

To avoid scams within WordPress, only rely on trusted plug-ins with sufficient ratings and reviews. While you can obviously see such information from within WordPress’ plug-in manager, take the time to conduct a quick Google search to make sure your plug-ins are trustworthy.

4. Update Your Plug-Ins

Likewise, make sure your plug-ins are up to date so that they may continue to do their job. For example, if a plug-in such as Akismet fails to update, don’t be surprised by the influx of spam traffic to your site. While you can set plug-ins to update automatically, manually keep an eye on them as well.

5. Know Your Host

Keep in mind that your web host does have a certain degree of influence on the security of your site. While at first glance it may seem that many hosting services are identical, make sure you know the fine print of what happens if your site gets attacked. Some hosts offer built-in site backups, for example, while cheaper hosts may not. Also, websites running off of shared hosting may want to pay special attention to what their host offers in terms of protection.  

6. Be Wary of “Free”

WordPress is widely lauded for its robust themes and plug-ins offered for free. However, bear in mind that “free” does not always equal “safe.” If a theme or plug-in was put out for free, there’s a chance that the developer did not go through the necessary security checks to ensure its quality. Again, use your best judgement and read reviews before relying on anything that’s free or charge.

The process of protecting your site requires a certain degree or vigilance and awareness. By understanding what scammers are up to and how to avoid their attacks, you can keep your site safe and avoid a potential hacking headache.

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