WordPress is one of the most popular content management and publishing platforms globally, with over 455 million registered websites. With such an enormous influence over the internet, hackers, thieves, and other cyber criminals consider WordPress a high-value target for pulling off data hacks, phishing scams, and committing various forms of cyber harassment.
When running a WordPress website, you must provide a safe place for your customers to browse, read, and linger without worrying about their private information being at risk. If you’re one of the veteran webmasters, startup business owners, or thriving artists who have asked how to secure a WordPress site, your search is over.
In this article, you’ll learn the basics of making your WordPress site hack-proof, phish-proof, and theft-proof, allowing you to run a secure website for all of your visitors to enjoy.
1. Pick a Hosting Company with Reliable Security Measures
Many technicians say that building security on a WordPress site is different compared to a standard domain. It’s not a one-and-done deal, meaning your security program must continuously monitor your website 24/7 and have its virus definitions updated daily. A small opening in your website’s firewall can be exploited by hackers to steal millions of dollars’ worth of data.
Many web hosting providers like SiteGround, BlueHost, and HostGator have provided people with a reliable way to store their website data without compromising security. Their competitors also have excellent offerings that will help your website stay up, load fast, and be responsive without giving hackers an opening.
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Instead of choosing a web host with cheap offers and an untested security system, it’s better to pick one established in the field. Be detail-oriented and picky with the security features of your prospective web host. Chances are you’ll need more than one layer of security, especially when dealing with millions of customers daily who are vulnerable to spam, phishing, and email scams.
2. Avoid Nulled Themes
Getting a premium theme for your WordPress website might seem like an unnecessary expense when you’re just starting with a business page or an art blog. However, many security experts argue that premium themes are part of a higher eco-system of security that repels hackers looking for websites to exploit. Premium themes are made by professional website builders and tested by WordPress before release, meaning they’ll be free from lags, misdirects, and elements hackers might abuse.
There is a niche of WordPress website owners who use nulled themes or premium themes that have been tampered with to work for free. Nulled themes lack the security updates and support that premium themes regularly receive, opening them up to a host of security threats.
Hackers might use buttons or hyperlinks on your website to redirect visitors to a dummy website and then rip them off. If a hacker is skilled, he or she can even lock you out of your website.
Free themes are great if you have a reliable web host, but if you’re ready to take it up a notch, don’t use nulled themes. Pay for a professional-looking premium theme and save yourself the hassle of being targeted for a fraudulent website.
3. Get a Security Plugin
In the early days of WordPress, only programmers and the HTML-proficient knew what was going on. Unlike Tumblr, Blogger, and Newgrounds, WordPress had a significant learning curve that required in-depth knowledge of coding to overcome. As the years passed, people discovered that not everyone would master the skills to become a developer, so programmers came up with security plugins to improve your website security without writing a single line of code.
A WordPress security plugin will audit your visitors’ activities, your website’s file transfers, and continuously scan your website’s front-end and server. It will give you a security notification if it finds something out of place and installs a firewall that will keep you out of a hacker’s crosshairs.
WordPress security plugins cost about $50 to $110 per year, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind. You can customize security features to fit your needs, including blacklisting IP addresses, installing a detector for spam-like comments, and putting in two-factor authentication.
4. Get an SSL Certificate
Many web hosting providers put in a free SSL certificate with even their low-tier offerings because they know how dangerous the internet has become. An SSL certificate, or single-socket layer security, is a requirement for websites where people input sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, payment history, and street addresses. Without an SSL certificate, there will be no encryption between your website’s server and the user keying in that data, meaning it will be accessible to cybercriminals.
SSL certificates have an annual cost of $70 to $199. You can get a Let’s Encrypt SSL for free with most packages from web hosting providers.