WooCommerce takes the lead among eCommerce sites around the world with a market share of 30%. This puts it way ahead of other platforms such as Squarespace, Shopify, and Magento, and for good reason. WordPress and WooCommerce together brings a high level of functionality, customizability, and security to your online store.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the platform also makes it a lucrative target for hackers. If your WooCommerce site gets hacked, the consequences of a hacked site are intensified compared to regular sites. This is because you not only stand to lose traffic and rankings on search engines, you’ll also customers and sales that will have a drastic impact on your online business.
So while there is a certain level of in-built security, there are measures you need to take to make your WooCommerce store safe for you and your users. And if anything were to go wrong, you need to have a system in place to minimize downtime so that your business is not affected.
In this article, we address the security flaws that are present among WooCommerce websites and the steps to take to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats.
The security needs of a WooCommerce site are different from a regular site. You need a wp security plugin that is designed to take care of these added needs. Install MalCare to start proactively protecting your website. It will regularly scan your site and you can clean up any malware instantly.
15 Best WooCommerce Security Tips
To keep your site on WordPress secure, there are different levels of security you can implement to make it rock solid so that hackers have no chance of entering. We’re going to break it down into three levels:
Security Level 1
1. Change your default username ‘admin’
Hackers use a technique called brute force attack wherein they try to guess the combination of your username and password. They target admin accounts because it has complete authorization over your site.
Leaving your username as ‘admin’ makes it so easy for them to break into your site. Think of it as leaving your key on the door.
Create a username to something that is unique and difficult to guess. To change your WordPress admin name, go to User > Add New.
Enter all the required details but make sure to use a username that is unique. Now, create a new account and select ‘Administrator’ from the available WordPress user roles.
Once done, you need to log out of your wp-admin. Sign back in with the new account. Now you can delete the previous ‘admin’ user account. All posts associated with the ‘admin’ account will be transferred to the new one.
2. Use a strong password
Weak passwords are one of the most common causes of hacks. To stay ahead of the game and beat hackers at their brute force attacks, you need to use strong passwords. Remember, for a wp-admin use a password that you don’t use one that you use for every other account. Keep a unique password that is dedicated only to this account and not used elsewhere.
Now, to make your password strong, here are three security tips:
- Use a passphrase rather than a password. A passphrase is a series of words rather than just one word. For example, instead of setting your password as ‘computer’, you should use ‘thisismycomputer’.
- You can also use acronyms. For example, John F Kennedy at BlogVault becomes jfk@bv. But it’s still a very weak password.
- Next, you should always use a combination of letters, numerals, and symbols such as Jfk@Bv123$. But it’s still not strong enough.
By combining the above three tips, we can create a super-strong password like ‘ThisisJfk@Bv123$’. It has a phrase, acronyms, uppercase letters, lower case letters, numerals and symbols in no particular order.
Now, you’ve got yourself a strong password that’s difficult to guess.
Security Level 2
1. Backup your website
You may wonder how a backup features under security tips. It’s one of the most important things to carry out for any website. When a regular website goes down, it’s bad. When a WooCommerce site goes down it’s disastrous – you stand to lose customers, orders, and revenue.
If your website is hacked, you can restore it quickly and get back to business. However, you must figure out the reason for the hack and fix it so that you don’t get hacked again.
The reason why we stress on the importance of backups is because when you own a WooCommerce site, you are dealing with sensitive customer information. Such a site would have personal data of customers, transaction details, credit card information, payments, and orders.
It is absolutely vital that you maintain a backup of your website so that you don’t lose this information.
Since WooCommerce sees frequent customers and orders, you need to implement a real-time WooCommerce backup solution. This will ensure that when new data is generated on your site, it is immediately backed up.
Further, ensure your backup is stored safely in an encrypted form. If by chance it falls into the hands of hackers, they can’t do anything with it.
Losing WooCommerce data would be a serious breach of trust and could escalate into a major security issue for your business that comes with several consequences and a high cost of recovery.
2. Install a security plugin
Next on the agenda is to install a security plugin on your WooCommerce site to protect your site from hackers. As we mentioned, a hacked WooCommerce site will bear consequences that are more severe than regular sites.
A good plugin will regularly scan your website thoroughly and check for any hacks, malware or suspicious activity.
There are many security plugins for WordPress available in the market, but not all of them offer the same level of security.
Many plugins rely on outdated methods of malware scanning and cleaning. So you may be alerted that there’s malware on your site when it’s actually clean. And there are times where you may think your site is clean but it actually has disguised or hidden malware that goes undetected by these scanners.
As WooCommerce deals with highly sensitive data, you simply cannot take the risk of using an unreliable plugin. To protect your site, you need a firewall to proactively defend your site against hackers. As hackers are evolving their techniques with every passing moment, you also need a scanner that can detect disguised and hidden malware.
This is why we strongly recommend using a premium plugin like MalCare that is trusted and guaranteed to keep your site clean. You can rest assured that you don’t get false positives, any form of malware will be found, and you can clean your hacked website in no time.
3. Get an SSL certificate
This is a very basic step you need to ensure you implement on your website. An SSL certificate ensures that sensitive information that is transferred between a user and your website is encrypted. This eliminates the possibility of hackers getting their hands on this information.
Once you add SSL to your site, your website name in the address bar will change from http to https, and a padlock will appear to its left.
Earlier, getting an SSL certificate was expensive and entailed a long process. Most WooCommerce hosting platforms also offer SSL certificates. But now, thanks to initiatives like LetsEncrypt, you can get an SSL certificate for free in no time.
For a WooCommerce site, once you get an SSL certificate, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced. Here, you can enable ‘Force Secure Checkout’.
Now, you’ve taken one more essential step to keeping your site on WooCommerce secure. But there’s lots more to do!
Keep your website updated at all times
Any software receives updates from time to time to add new features, to fix bugs, and to patch up security flaws that may have been present. Software updates are essential and unavoidable. Running your website on the latest software means you have the latest security updates as well.
A WooCommerce site comprises the WordPress core software along with themes and plugins. All three elements need to be kept up to date to ensure your site doesn’t have any vulnerabilities hackers can use.
To safely update your WordPress websites, you can follow BlogVault’s detailed guide.
Security Level 3
1. Limit Login attempts
Delving deeper into brute force attacks, hackers use bots to carry out their work for them. This means they can try thousands of combinations in a second. We already showed you how to set a strong username and password. So why bother with limiting login attempts?
A WooCommerce site is seldom run single-handedly. There are many users added to the wp-admin dashboard with various roles to play. The more users you have, the more chances a hacker has of getting in. By default, WordPress allows an unlimited number of login attempts.
A recommend security measure is to limit login attempts into your WordPress dashboard. You can give users only three attempts to get their username and password right. After that, they are given the option of ‘forgot password’ or they can even get locked out of their accounts.
If you’ve installed the MalCare plugin, you’ll automatically have access to login protection on your WooCommerce site.
2. Use 2-factor authentication
Another measure you can take to make it harder for hackers to break in is to implement 2-factor authentication.
This means anyone who attempts to log in to the WordPress dashboard will need to provide their credentials as well as a secure password that is generated in real-time. This could be a one-time password sent to a mobile number or a code generated on apps like Google Authenticator.
This eliminates any chances of hackers guessing combinations or misusing ill-gotten data.
3. Harden your website
WordPress recommends you take certain measures to harden your website, in other words, make your site more secure.
We’ve covered three main measures you need to implement:
Disabling the file editor in plugins and themes – If a hacker gains access to your website, they can inject malware through the file editor option that is available under plugins and themes on your dashboard.
WooCommerce website owners rarely ever use this editor, so it’s best to disable it.
Block PHP Execution in Untrusted Folders Your WP website is made of files and folders and only some of them use php functions. Once a hacker gains entry into a website, they can insert their own functions into files and folders, or even create new ones.
You need to block these activities by disabling the execution of php functions in untrusted folders.
Change Security Keys WordPress automatically stores your login credentials so that you can log in to your dashboard easily. It encrypts this data and stores it by using security keys and salts.
If hackers figure out the security keys and salts, they can decipher the code and hack into your account.
To avoid this, it’s recommended you replace keys and salts regularly.
Implementing these measures manually requires a bit of technical guidance. Recommended read: 12 Ways to Harden Security of Your WordPress Website. However, if you’re a MalCare client, website hardening is automated and can be implemented with just a few clicks.
Conclusion: Protect your WooCommerce site always!
Security is important for any WordPress site but it’s amplified when it’s a WooCommerce one! Gone are the days when stores had working hours. With the dawn of eCommerce, stores are open 24×7 and money can be made round the clock. Therefore, any website downtime can have dreadful effects on your business.
Further, an eCommerce business deals with sensitive and confidential company information that shouldn’t fall into the wrongs. But more importantly, it also deals with personally identifiable information (PII) which is customer-specific data. If leaked, you break that customer trust and can lose your brand’s reputation. But worse, you could face legal penalties, lawsuits and high costs in recovering from the data breach.
The stakes are much higher and you simply cannot afford to have any lapses in security.
To implement a high level of security on your WooCommerce site, install the MalCare security plugin to block attacks, get rid of malware, and get complete WooCommerce security.
Learn more about WordPress security by referring to our Most Definitive Guide on Website Security.