Cybercrime is on the rise. According to a 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, 67% of the 7,818 businesses surveyed experienced one incident of cybercrime, costing 68% of them at least $10,000 in losses, with half experiencing between 1 and 24 hours of downtime. If you conduct business on the web, a hacker accessing your website is one cybercrime that can cost you and your clients money and peace of mind.
WordPress website security should be a top priority, helping you keep your online operations going and ensuring the best experience for those doing business with you. What are some practical steps you can take to secure your WordPress website?
Choose a great hosting company
Many small businesses focus on finding the best prices when choosing a hosting company. For the purpose of website security, you should look for a host that monitors their servers for threats and boasts website uptime. Most cheap hosting plans are on shared servers, which can save you money, but cost you if a neighboring website on the same server is hacked. For the best WordPress web security, choose managed hosting or get a plan with a virtual private server. WP Engine is a highly recommended resource to keep your website secure.
Create strong usernames and passwords
Choosing an easy username and password may help you remember how to log into your website but it can make hacking attempts very easy. Rather than using “admin” as your username and an easy-to-guess string of numbers for your password, try using a combination of random upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols to make your login harder to decipher. To help you remember your username and password, try using your email address as your username and after creating a difficult password, store and manage it using a service like Google Passwords or Last Pass.
Enable SSL Security
To encrypt your website data and make it harder for cybercriminals to detect, move your website to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Your website host may already offer it for free. If not, you can obtain an SSL certificate for your WordPress website from Let’s Encrypt. The added plus is that Google favors websites with SSL.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
With a two-factor authentication plugin like Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication (2FA), you can help beef up your website security. Two-factor authentication requires you to access your website using two steps. The first step typically requires that you enter your username and password. The second step will prompt you enter a code generated by another app, another device or a code sent to your email or phone. This makes sure that only you–not a hacker–can get into your website.
Choose a good security plugin
To protect your website from unauthorized access, install a WordPress security plugin. Choose a multipurpose one that protects from brute force attacks, monitors your site for malware and has a firewall. Some favorite security plugins include Wordfence or iThemes Security.
Update your website and plugins
WordPress and plugins in their directory are open source and are updated often. Frequently, there are bugs in these that can open up access to your website. By updating your WordPress version and plugins regularly, you access the patches that fix vulnerabilities that may have put your website in danger.
Back up your website
In case your site is ever hacked or locked up by ransomware, your best protection is to have maintained a backup of your website. If you keep a copy of your website on your desktop or cloud storage and your site is taken down, you can restore it without much hassle. Backup your website frequently, especially before and after any changes are made to your website. Your hosting service may provide backups, but the Jetpack plugin offers backups on their paid plans.
Keep your website safe by taking these steps to secure your investment. For help with protecting your WordPress website from hackers and other cybercrime, contact us today.