IS YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE SECURE?
Securing your WordPress website is vital forprotecting your business from online attacks. Without a proactive security strategy, businesses are rapidly falling victim to hackers and cyber-thieves accessing sensitive information from you and your website visitors.
We understand that improving your WordPress website security can sound like a terrifying idea for WordPress beginners or non-tech savvy users. But you are definitely not alone!
There are plenty of small changes you can make right now to help secure your WordPress website and keep it safe for you and your customers.
The following will provide an overview as to why web security is important and what basic steps you can take to upgrade your WordPress site.
Is Website Security Important?
Protecting your WordPress website is extremely important, as studies show approximately 30,000 to 50,000 websites get hacked every single day. Additionally, information from this study also reported that an attack can occur every 39 seconds on the web.
Without a proactive security strategy, businesses are rapidly falling victim to hackers and cyber-thieves accessing sensitive information. This leads to the risk of spread and escalation of malware and attacks on other websites and IT infrastructures. A hacked WordPress site can also cause serious damage to your business income and reputation.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to protect your physical store, so why not protect your online website as well. Online business owners must also ensure their business website is similarly protected.
WordPress Security Basics
There are a number of basic steps that you can take to ensure your business is protected online. These include:
Keep WordPress Updated
WordPress has now developed into one of the world’s most popular CMS’s and is regularly producing new updates every month. Some of these releases are new, full versions or smaller, critical security patches.
While WordPress automatically installs minor updates, you will need to manually initiate major updates. We recommend updating your website to the latest version as soon as it becomes available. These updates are crucial for the security and stability of your business.
To learn more details about updating your WordPress website, click here.
In recent months, both WordPress 5.5 and WordPress 5.5.1 have dropped with a number of new features and security updates introduced.
The following will provide a summary of each update:
WordPress 5.5 (August)
WordPress 5.5 officially launched on August 11 and became available in 50 languages. This new version, named after Billy Eckstine, brought improvements to three primary areas of websites: speed, search and security.
WordPress 5.5.1 (September)
On September 1, WordPress 5.5.1 was introduced to the public. This maintenance release featured 34 bug fixes, 5 enhancements and 5 bug fixes for the block editor. These bugs do affect 5.5 so it is worth upgrading as soon as possible!
You can update your WordPress website to 5.5.1 by visiting Dashboard > Updates > Update Now. For more specific information about the WordPress 5.5 update, check out this blog post.
If your site already supports automatic background updates or if you host your website with The Creative Collective, it may have started the update process already.
Update WordPress Plugins
A wordPress plugin is like an app for your WordPress site. You can install them to add new features and functionality to your website.
Plugins are created by third-party developers. Most of them keep improving their plugins by adding new features, improving code quality, and keeping them secure. These changes are then released as updates.
You should always keep your WordPress plugins up to date to ensure those changes are applied on your site immediately, as this improves WordPress security and performance of your website.
There are cases when plugin developers stop providing the service of a plugin and therefore stop updating it. This is called an abandoned plugin. If left alone for a certain period of time, this can be a huge security risk.
Some Agencies (such as The Creative Collective) offer the service of automatically updating wordpress core and wordpress plugin which can sometimes mean the website can go down because of a plugin conflict. However, these small risks are minor in comparison to a security breach caused by out of date plugins.
Strong Passwords and User Permissions
The most common hacking attempts for WordPress include the use of stolen passwords. To make this more difficult for hackers, we recommend using stronger passwords that are completely unique to your website.
This includes not only your WordPress admin area, but also File Transfer Protocol accounts, databases, your WordPress hosting account and any custom email addresses that use your site’s domain name.
While we understand that long, complicated passwords are a hassle as they can be hard to remember, there are ways to work around this issue. The great news is that you can use a password manager that stores all your passwords and allows you to manage them with one master password. Password managers are also great for generating strong passwords when creating new accounts.
Another way to maintain strong password security is by adding an annual reminder in your calendar to change website passwords. This feature will ensure that your passwords are updating regularly, keeping ahead of any hackers trying to gain access.
We also suggest withholding from sharing WordPress admin accounts unless you absolutely have to. If you have a particularly large team or use the services of guest authors, be sure to give them a login and user role that reflects their needs.
There are five default users roles with different permissions. These include Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. By giving each user the right level of permission, you are able to better control user knowledge of web processes for your business website.
Your website, including words, images and features, needs to be stored on a server so it can be seen by audiences. This is called hosting. Paying for hosting is very similar to renting out a shop front for your business, except instead of renting a physical location, you’re renting a virtual location.
Your WordPress hosting service plays a huge role in the security of your WordPress website. A good shared hosting provider can take those extra measures to protect their servers against common threats.
Quality hosting companies will protect your websites and data by:
- Continuously monitoring their network for suspicious activity
- Having tools in place to prevent large scale DDOS attacks
- Keeping their server software and hardware up to date to prevent the exploitation of older security vulnerabilities.
- Ensuring disaster recovery and accident plans are in place, allowing them to protect you in the case of an emergency.
At The Creative Collective, you can independently arrange to have your website hosted with your own hosting choice or choose to host with us.
Implementing SSL Certificates
Have you ever noticed how sometimes websites start with “http://” and then sometimes they start with “https://” and have a green padlock nearby?
If you have, you’ve seen the end result of an SSL certificate. But what you probably don’t know is how to get one on there and until now, why you would want to.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) establishes an encrypted link between your web server and your website visitors browser. This basically ensures that all data that is collected from the visitor, such as their name or card details, remains private and secured. This means that if a hacker were to intercept any information, it would be useless to them.
This is vital to ensure that consumers feel safe to purchase your products or services online. Online users expect their details to remain private when engaging with your business.Providing a SSL certificate is a sure way to do this.
If you choose to host with The Creative Collective, we do include an SSL certificate as part of our packages. However, if you choose to host elsewhere, you will need to ensure you get one yourself.
To learn more, check out our SSL Certificate Packages.
Where To Next?
Wanting to create a new wordpress website or refresh your security on an existing one? We’ve got a range of WordPress Website Packages to suit all budgets.
Still using Wix for your website? Learn why The Creative Collective prefers WordPress in our blog post.
As experienced wordpress website designers, we can easily guide clients on what they will need to get together for a WordPress website project subject to its level of customisation and complexity, and also our current production schedule.