Let’s start off by asking the million dollar question — IS YOUR WORDPRESS SITE “HACK PROOF”? If the stats are to be believed, more than 70% of the WordPress installations are vulnerable to threats of being hacked! Follow our guide to learn how to perform a website safety check.
Are you fumbling for answers? Then you’ve got to buck up! If the stats are to be believed, more than 70% of the WordPress installations are vulnerable to threats of being hacked!
Scared the bejesus out of you with that statistic, didn’t we? It surely is a scary thought, and even if you do take backups regularly, reinstating a hacked website requires some effort!
But before you try to remedy the situation, you’ve got to know the origin of the hack! Let’s take a look at how hackers tend to work…
How hackers test your website vulnerability
Most hackers employ bots, which instead of looking out for some engaging content, sniff out known security vulnerabilities. The bots are coded to attack all such websites on a mammoth scale, thereby increasing the hacker’s reach. Turns out, this is the most economical approach used by mainstream hackers!
Here are some ways in which hackers can wreak havoc with your WordPress website!
A hacker can use your website to procure sensitive information or personal information infect the computers of your visitors with malicious software such as ransomware, viruses, key trackers, etc. You will gradually find traffic plummeting.
Affiliate marketing, as you might very well know, is a trend nowadays in digital marketing. The hacker can direct the visitors on your website to some other platform that could generate him some affiliate income. Smart!
A hacker can take over your server and use your hardware to send out spam emails, brute force attacks on other sites and what not! This could result in your website and server getting blacklisted… This is a serious issue.
The fact of the matter is that hackers hack websites, WordPress or not, only because it is possible to do so. Yep, simple!
How hackers gain access to WordPress website?
You can’t control what you can’t measure, they say. So, before we make your website hack-proof, let’s deal with the How! How can THEY gain access to YOUR WordPress website? And if they can’t gain access to your site, hackers try to launch DDoS attacks to bring your site down.
According to a recent survey, around 62% of site owners don’t even realize how the hackers managed to launch cyber attacks on their website! Some of the gateways that hackers use are listed below:
- Brute force (guessing the passwords)
- WordPress Core
- File permissions
- Old files
- Stealing passwords
Usually, it’s vulnerabilities in the hosting platform that allow a backdoor entry to hackers. However, it might be possible that some other website in a shared hosting environment got hacked and took others down. Nothing much that you can do!
What’s shocking is that nearly WordPress themes and plugins cause nearly 51% of the hack! Once hacked, chances are that search engines like Google will blacklist your site. And web hosts will suspend it.
Measures that can make website hack-proof
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say. Well, to be honest, WordPress security is a lot about proactivity. If you procrastinate, you are sure to end up with a hacked website, sooner or later!
So here are some website security measures you can adopt to secure your WordPress site after running a WordPress security audit –
1. Choose a high-performing hosting provider:
A hosting provider that lays emphasis on security is mandatory. Besides adhering to the latest PHP and MySQL versions, it must even offer critical malware scanning and backup services. The hosting provider must come up with a responsive customer service panel so as to help you out with any possible hurdles, ranging from an occasional malfunction to well, even a hack!
2. Perform regular backups:
Backing up your website must be on top of your Being Proactive list since there is nothing called 100% website safety check- online safety. Be it safety against cybercrimes and crashes.
Although your hosting provider may take care of the backup schedule, for those who take their site’s backups seriously should invest in a reliable backup-cum-security solution.
There are plenty of safety tools/online tools to choose from. But you can use a plugin like BlogVault for backing up your WordPress website, and MalCare for your security needs!
3. Make your login stronger:
Weak passwords are like an open invitation for hackers, who use malicious scripts to repeatedly enter your login details to gain access to your website.
To make the process more secure, you can try limiting the number of login attempts from a single IP address and using the two-step authentication code. If it’s an issue, you can store multiple passwords in password managers.
4. Keep your WordPress site updated:
Updates! Most WordPress websites are prone to get trapped in the hackers’ nets simply because of the use of an outdated WordPress version.
Primarily, updates are meant to tackle the security concerns of the previous versions. Performing a website safety check can detect possible updates.
WordPress updates can be automated (especially since the 3.7 version), but it may crash your website during major updates. So it is better to stick to a manual schedule!
5. Don’t ignore themes and plugins:
Nearly 51% of the hacks occur due to vulnerabilities in the WordPress themes and plugins. The good news – Most plugin errata can easily be rectified before it moulds into something more serious.
Given below are a few guidelines that can come in handy while managing plugins and themes:
Try erasing unnecessary plugins. There could be quite a few that may not be serving any particular purpose. This helps a good deal in speeding up your website.
A lot of times, plugins are abandoned by the developer and aren’t updated in over a year or more. In such cases, look for actively maintained alternatives of these plugins in the WordPress repository.
Do not install plugins and themes from unverified sources since these could be infected with malicious links and code.
WordPress’s in-built editor allows you to edit files right from the backend. However, it would be a good idea to disable this editor and manage files exclusively via FTP. That is because disabling the editor would protect your files in a situation where someone gains unauthorized access to your files and tries to edit them.
Apart from all these, keep an eye out to check whether Google Safe Browsing (Google Website Safety Check) has listed your website as malicious. Learn about the signs that you need to watch out for if your site was hacked. And having an SSL certificate installed on your site is mandatory. There you go! You are done with the formal fortifications to keep your website safe. Congratulations!
WordPress Management is important, and you need to spare some time for research and adhere to a convenient maintenance schedule.
A website being hacked can be devastating for its owners. Performing website safety check and implementing the security measures mentioned above can go a long way in ensuring that your site is protected from most vulnerabilities that affect WordPress websites.
Apart from these security measures, check if your website is safe from time to time. It’s important to perform website monitoring and be on the lookout for malware. When you do find malware, use a website malware remover to get rid of it.
Do you have hidden malware on your site?
Scan your site with MalCare to find out!