Cybersecurity for WordPress

October is Cybersecurity Month: Is Your Blog Protected?

Whether you have built a massive and super popular blog or are just getting started, cybersecurity is always a concern. Even if you don’t store valuable data on your site, it can still be used to spam others. No site is too small to ignore the potential of what can happen.

From using your site to phish for information to outright breaking your pages, hackers and bots are relentless. For Cybersecurity Awareness month, take time to make sure all of your holes are plugged.

Because it doesn’t take much for someone to ruin or abuse your blog.

A successful attack could lead to all kinds of hell for a website owner. In this case, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of the cure.

7 Easy Ways to Boost Cybersecurity in WordPress

As one of the most popular blogging platforms, WordPress is often a target from the criminal element. That’s what happens when your software runs roughly 42.6% of the entire Internet.

Luckily, there are several effective methods you can use right now to vastly decrease your chances of being a target. And the best part is that these are not all that difficult to implement.

Some are nothing more than installing a good plugin and configuring it to your liking.

1. Limit Failed Login Attempts

A “brute force” attack is when a hacker or bot will try various passwords in rapid succession in order to “guess” your credentials. Luckily, there are a lot of cybersecurity plugins that can greatly reduce this risk.

By limiting how many times a password attempt can fail, you discourage and prevent future attempts.

For example, in the Wordfence plugin, you can set a low limit and then block the IP addresses of those attempts. This means anyone from that IP address can no longer try a different password.

And that’s also in the free version of the plugin.

Since I am the only one who uses most of my sites, my rules are pretty strict for login attempts.

2. Use an Advanced Password

Using an advanced password is pretty much a given, nowadays. But, there are still people out there who try to keep it simple so they don’t have to remember a 25 character random collage of letters and numbers.

Use an advanced and unique password at all times. If you’re worried about remembering, there are a ton of password protection apps you can use such as LastPass.

Even if you use the free version only, it’s still better than using a password like “123456.”

3. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Using two-factor authentication can make it extremely difficult to hack your WordPress website. This is because attackers would have to know the second method of authentication.

Usually, people use text messages or email codes in order to log into the website.

This is something else you can easily add for free to WordPress. Though, it may be worthwhile to check out the premium services. Still, Adding WP 2FA can make a huge difference in the cybersecurity of your website.


4. Always Keep WordPress, Plugins, and Themes Updated

Keep all elements of your WordPress blog updated. That’s because sometimes loopholes, exploits, and poor coding from older versions can open the doors for someone to take advantage of the site.

Sometimes, this also means removing outdated plugins or swapping them for current alternatives with similar functions.

I know there are probably a few people out there who love certain plugins that have been outdated for several years. And sometimes you just can’t find a tool similar to the outdated function.

But you’re also running the risk of being a target, not to mention that outdated plugins and themes can sometimes break your website anyway. For example, the coding could be obsolete and not compatible with today’s standards.

The best part is that there are a few ways you can set WordPress, plugins, and themes to update automatically. That way, you don’t have to take time out of your day or worry about forgetting.

5. Use a WordPress Firewall

Adding a firewall to your WordPress site can easily reduce the risks of being attacked. And not to sound like a broken record, but Wordfence is one of the better options around.

Even in its free version, Wordfence will protect your site from some of the most nefarious hackers and bots on the Internet. You’ll also get emails each time someone attempts to, or does, access your website.

Since it’s free to use, there’s really no sense in denying your blog some of the best cybersecurity methods available for WordPress.

6. Change Your Login URL

By default, WordPress will use a certain URL you use to access your site. Unfortunately, this login URL is common knowledge.

But did you know you can change the URL of the login page to virtually anything you want?

If you randomize the login URL, it makes the login page incredibly difficult to find. Without the login URL, no one can attempt to log in with usernames and passwords.

Just make sure you share the new URL with anyone who needs to log into the website.

7. Keep Regular Backups of Your Website

It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Keeping a regular backup of WordPress can prevent some of the most nastiest situations.

For example, if your site was attacked and used by phishing malware, a simple restore from a previous backup removes the problem. Just make sure you scan after the restore to make sure the exploit is no longer present.

Not to mention that a backup can save you hours of repair work should you accidentally break your site or delete an important file.

And yes, WordPress is full of free backup plugins like UpdraftPlus.

How Vital is Cybersecurity in 2021?

The above are just some of the simplest ways you can tighten the security of your WordPress website. The list of what you can do to enhance cybersecurity is quite extensive.

Though, not everyone has the money to invest in some of the most solid methods of protection on the market.

That’s why I wanted to point out easy and free methods to keep your site protected. The above are things that anyone can do with a self-hosted WordPress website.

Keep this in mind; the recent pandemic has prompted more ransomware attacks in the United States. And this isn’t just blogs, either. In fact, 20.2 million various devices connected to the Internet were targeted in 2020.

This goes to show that even as businesses closed down, hackers and bots didn’t. In fact, the attacks ramped up.

So, the next time you think your security measures are adequate, never underestimate the resilience and persistence of a bot programmed to prod your site looking for exploits.

No website is too small to not be a target.

Are You Sure Your Cybersecurity Measures are Adequate?

It can be quite disheartening when you spend all this time building up an amazing website only for a hack or bot to ruin it all. And if you have an eCommerce site or otherwise store personal data, a successful attack can quickly ruin your online reputation.

Don’t assume that your site is not important enough to vandalize. Make sure you’re taking proper steps to tighten the cybersecurity of your blog.

Even if you just implement the basics above, you’re greatly reducing the risks.

Michael Brockbank
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