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How to protect your WordPress website from cyberattacks

WordPress truly powers the web. In fact, to put that into numbers, there is expected to be around 75 million active websites using WordPress right now. However, with that popularity also comes big challenges. 

What could be the downfall of using a Content Management System that’s so widely used? Security. No matter how big or small your website is, you could find yourself becoming the target of a cyber attack. With WordPress, it’s much easier for hackers to have intimate information about your system, making you more prone to attack. 

Luckily, you don’t have to blindly accept your fate. There are several ways you can make your website less vulnerable to attack so you can feel more confident. Here’s how to protect your WordPress website from cyber attacks. 

How are WordPress sites at risk?

First, let’s talk about some of the risk factors at play for WordPress websites. These might not be the same as what you expect from other websites. Since WordPress is an open source platform, it’s easy for hackers to use this system against you if you aren’t careful. 

But it’s not just the WordPress core that’s at risk. Because WordPress also enables you to install themes and plugins which are designed by non-WordPress developers, there are a lot of places you could find yourself facing an attack. Only 37% of security vulnerabilities are from core WordPress while the remaining are all from plugins and themes. 

What are the most common attacks?

   – Brute force – This is when an attack uses trial and error to enter your username and password via your WordPress login screen. 

   – SQL injection – Your WordPress website uses a MySQL database, and an SQL injection is when an attacker gains access to this database. 

   – Cross-site scripting – This is a common problem with WordPress plugins. It makes it so you’re more likely to load web pages with insecure javascript scripts, exposing you to more attack. 

   – Malware – A well-known threat is malware, short for malicious software. This is code that gains unauthorized access to your website, and it’s used to collect sensitive data. 

   – DDoS attack – Finally, the DDoS attack is when an attacker sends traffic (requests) through compromised networks to a single target, clogging up that targeted system so no legitimate users can use it.

Is WordPress safe? In simple terms: yes. However, because WordPress powers so many websites, it makes sense that so many hackers focus on this platform. If you use WordPress correctly and stay vigilant, you have nothing to worry about. Let’s discuss how to do just that. 

WordPress security practices

As we just discussed, it’s more important than ever for you to take your WordPress security seriously. Now, let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your website isn’t a target of attacks. With so many websites out there using WordPress, hackers are always looking for easy, unprepared websites. The more prepared you are, the less attractive you’ll look to attackers. 

– Update your WordPress version, themes, and plugins

First, the most important thing you can do is to always update your version of WordPress, plugins, themes, and any extras. These updates always include some kind of security patch. 

If you’re not running the latest version, you’re essentially leaving your website open to attack. The best way to never miss an update is to enable automatic alerts every time an update becomes available. 

– Use a strong password

Don’t underestimate the power of a strong password. As you learned earlier, many hackers simply gain access through brute force. If your password is easy to predict or you’re using a common username like ‘admin’, you’re at risk. 

To make sure your password is strong, include multiple types of characters, symbols, or numbers. Don’t use your WordPress password on any other websites, and change the location of your login page, if possible. 

– Use a security plugin

There are several security plugins that help make WordPress a safer place. The most popular choice is All in One WP Security & Firewall. You don’t need any tech skills to use this plugin. Once you install, you’ll be shown any areas of your website that need more protection as well as suggestions to improve. It’s not a one-size-fits-all magic solution, but it’s a great first step.

– Have a backup plan

Even if you’ve done everything right, things sometimes still happen. Having a WordPress backup plan will help you sleep better at night. An essential part of setting up an IT budget is to consider your backup plan. 

Luckily, for WordPress, this is easy. Use a plugin or ask your administrator to run scheduled backups. You can save these to an on-site server or the cloud. Then, you’ll always have a backup to rely on if you do find yourself as the victim of an attack. 

Better safe than sorry

While it might seem like a lot of extra work to make sure your WordPress website is safe and secure, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These tips above like having a trusted security plugin and securing your password will get you far. 

The best way to protect yourself from WordPress cyber attacks is to stay aware. Fix any common holes, stop automated attacks, and strengthen your user credentials. This should be an ongoing process in your WordPress website maintenance. Is your website protected?

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

 

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