Everything You Need to Know About Site Security for Your WordPress Website

Even massive companies with lots of security funding can suffer from breaches. For example, as many as 50 million Facebook users have had their security compromised.

Do you know the right ways to invest in site security for your company?

It’s often tempting to think that you’re immune to attacks. However, big brands aren’t the only ones that cyber attackers target. Small companies are just as much at risk as huge entities like Facebook. In fact, some attackers target small businesses more, believing that they haven’t invested in site security.

You can foil those hackers with proper WordPress security measures. In this guide, I’ll show you how. Keep reading to learn how to keep your company’s and customers’ information safe!

1. Use an HTTPS Address

HTTPS, or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, sites offer security above what HTTP addresses have.

HTTP basically is what’s responsible for moving information from your website to other people’s browsers. When people visit your site, HTTP is what allows them to see what’s there.

Cyber attackers can target data during this transfer time and steal you or your customers’ information. But if you have an HTTPS site, they can’t. The “S” just means the data gets encrypted before it’s sent to a user’s browser. Encrypted data can’t be viewed by hackers.

HTTPS sites got started as a way to protect sensitive information in transit. But now, many sites have HTTPS addresses, even if they’re not focused on “sensitive” information. After all, if you collect information about your customers, such as addresses and emails, that’s sensitive too.

Most of the time, your WordPress host will give you the certificate you need to get verified for an HTTPS address (I certainly do when hosting WordPress sites with me).

2. Try a Two-Step Authentication System

If your site has a password, that may not be enough to protect it from hackers. Instead, try a two-step system.

With these systems, people who enter a password will also need to verify identity using a code sent to their phones before they can log in. That way, even if an attacker gets their hands on customer passwords, they won’t be able to get into the system.

3. Lock it Down

When someone tries to enter too many times with an incorrect password, you can lock them out of the site. Many times, the person using multiple wrong passwords in a row is a hacker.

You’ll get notified every time someone gets locked out, so you can check to see what the problem was. Although this might occasionally affect a customer who forgot their password, it’s much more likely to keep out hackers.

4. Update Regularly

Minor updates to your WordPress site happen automatically. But bigger updates need to get installed manually.

Don’t stall on installing those big updates. If you let your site go without them, you’ll lose a lot of security. You also need to stay on top of updating your WordPress themes, plugins, and other add-ons.

Always update a staging site first to make sure the updates don’t break anything or get someone like me to do it for you.

5. Protect Your Work Computers

You and any employees in charge of the information on the site must be extra-careful about keeping your work devices safe.

In addition to your computer, you might need to take extra steps to secure your phone or tablet, too. If you use it for work, it has to be secure. Otherwise, if your device or the information on it falls into the wrong hands, you won’t have any protection.

How can you keep your computer safe? Make sure to scan for malware and viruses frequently. Use a firewall — your operating system probably comes with one, or you can download one.

Make sure you’re using a secure connection anytime you log in to your site. This might mean you can’t work on the WiFi in some places, but it keeps hackers from stealing your login information.

You’ll also want to physically protect your devices. If you’re in public, cover your login information on the screen, just like you should cover your PIN number at a cash machine. And always be careful to avoid theft. Don’t leave your devices unattended in your car, don’t walk home with them late at night.

6. Back Up Your Site

Backing up your site doesn’t protect you from attackers, but it does ensure that you can get your site back after a security breach.

Make a regular schedule for site backups and stick to it. That way, if a problem does occur, you can use the latest backup to restore your site. If you don’t back it up, you could lose your site information completely, or have to spend thousands on data recovery.

7. Change Passwords Frequently

It’s a good idea to change your password often. Make sure not to use the same password for your site login that you’ve used elsewhere. Use a variety of hard-to-guess letters, numbers, and characters for security.

You can also prompt your customers to change their passwords on a schedule. This is especially valuable if you deal with sensitive content, like financial information.

8. Use a Great Host

Your WordPress site host makes a big difference in how much security you can have.

Of course, a good host also impacts your site in other ways. Hosts can help or harm your site’s reliability, growth, search engine ranking, and more. When you choose a host, make sure they have great security features as part of the package.

For example, they should regularly update tools and software to meet modern security threats. They should also offer site backup, tech support, and other tools that will help in the event of an attack.

Is Your Site Security Up to Par?

If you haven’t given site security much thought yet, all of these tasks can seem daunting. However, they’re also essential for running a successful business.

It’s always best to take action before a problem arises. But whether you’re planning ahead or handling an emergency, I can help. Find out more about my emergency WordPress incident support here.

Published: 12/12/2018

Last modified: 03/11/2021

Tim Oxendale
I'm an award-winning plant-powered (Vegan) freelance WordPress Developer/Web Designer. I work with great individuals, small-to-medium sized businesses and start-ups. I aim to have a great relationship with all my clients where I can add value to their business by being dependable, honest and by doing the type of work that makes a difference.

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