Security is fundamental to the success of your website. With downtime costing an average of $10,000 an hour, and with the average data breach for a small business costing $149,000, security fails are costly. Those expenses do not even include the loss of business and trust from consumers who find their personal information compromised by poor site security.
That is why WordPress support and maintenance must include following security best practices. You may be aware of the most common of these practices. However, there are other steps you can take to keep your site secure.
Here are some of the most important, but lesser-known, steps you, or your WordPress support team, can take to create a safe WordPress site.
Begin with a secure web host.
Your website will be available to the World Wide Web on servers provided by a web host. Your web host will give you the server space, capabilities, and technical support necessary to keep your website up and running.
Because your website sits on servers, it is only as secure as they are. If a web host's servers are susceptible to attack, then your WordPress site could also be compromised. As a result, you should choose a web host who follows security best practices.
Here are some of the steps your web host should take to keep their servers secure:
- Regular backups of your site
- Robust firewalls for their servers (You will need your own firewalls for your website)
- Intrusion detection technology
- Malware and virus scanning software
- Secure passwords
Compare web hosts in order to find the one with the best security. You may pay a little more, but the extra expense is worth the confidence that comes from having a secure web host supporting your site.
Minimize plugin use, and keep plugins updated.
With more than 55,000 plugins available, WordPress offers unmatched customization and versatility for businesses. However, every plugin you add to your site adds potential security vulnerabilities. Even secure, supported plugins can provide a gateway for security breaches.
The best way to keep your WordPress website safe is to minimize your use of plugins. You can reduce the number of add ons your site requires without compromising its functionality if you adopt a custom WordPress site. Your developer can build functionality into the core of your site so you need fewer plugins to achieve that same performance.
When you do use plugins, make sure to follow best practices. Some of the most common of these are the following:
- Choose only reliable and highly supported plugins.
- Test plugins for compatibility and security before use.
- Install all updates and security patches when they are released.
- Use a qualified WordPress support professional to maintain plugin security and functionality on your site
Implement two-factor authentication and other login restrictions.
As its name implies, two-factor authentication forces users to verify their identity two different ways. For example, after they enter their username and password, they may receive a code via text from the system. The user must then enter that code in order to gain access to the site. Sometimes, the user must use a secret code or answer a secret question as the second step in the authentication process.
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress site and makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain entry. Two-factor authentication also only adds a few seconds to the login process, so it will not slow you or the site's users down.
Other easy but often overlooked ways to secure the login process include using an email address instead of a username, changing the login URL from the standard in order to avoid brute force attacks, and restricting user login attempts.
The more steps you take to restrict access to the login process, the more likely you are to keep hackers from successfully logging into your site, where they can gain access to sensitive information.
Specify file and folder permissions.
If you do not specify who can access certain files and folders, and what they can do once in there, you open yourself up to potential security breaches if a hacker gains access to those files and folders.
Set specific permissions for each file and folder in your website. In particular, specify which users have access to each file and folder, and what they can do there. Can they edit? Can they view only? Can they modify outright?
These permissions add a layer of security to your site that makes it more difficult for your files and folders to be changed inappropriately, even if a hacker does manage to get into the site.
Invest in professional WordPress support.
These tips are just a few ways to keep your site safe. In order to implement the full range of security features, you will either need to possess security expertise and extra time to do it yourself, or you will need to invest in professional WordPress support.
An expert in WordPress will understand all the ins and outs of security best practices. In addition, they will have the technical expertise required to keep your site secure from the ground up. Among the tasks they can complete for you are the following:
- Obtaining an SSL certificate
- Improving code or developing custom code
- Creating encrypted connections
- Securing your wp-config.php file
- Managing your WordPress database
- Providing guidance on password creation and usage
- And much, much more
If you need a safe WordPress website, follow all the basic best practices, plus remember to use a secure web host, minimize plugin use, implement two-factor authentication, manage permissions, and invest in professional WordPress support.
By hiring a professional, you can get the whole range of security services at your fingertips, from professionals who have the time and the expertise to devote to your site. Do not hesitate to reach out to Distinct Web Design for help in securing your site. Our professional WordPress support services can keep your website secure, as well as make sure it runs smoothly so your business can benefit from the versatility, customization, and cost effectiveness of WordPress.