How Can I Improve the Security of My WordPress Site through Maintenance?

As an entrepreneur, you likely have a laundry list of responsibilities, and chances are high that website security might not be at the top of that list. However, if you're using WordPress for your business website, it's time to rethink your priorities. With the ever-increasing risk of cyber threats, it's more important than ever to understand how to protect your WordPress site, and the role that regular maintenance plays in cybersecurity.

The What and Why of WordPress Security Risks

Before we delve into the solutions, let's address the elephant in the room - the security risks. A recent report revealed that at least 13,000 WordPress websites are hacked per day, with outdated sites causing 61% of these attacks¹. The staggering stats don't stop there. Almost 1 in every 25 WordPress sites has been hacked, and around 90,000 attacks come through WordPress every minute². And the most common method hackers use to infiltrate? Automated attacks, which account for 97% of all WordPress breaches¹.

You might think you're safe with your strong password, but the truth is, even that's not foolproof. Weak or stolen passwords cause 8% of WordPress hacks, and in a world where cybercriminals are becoming increasingly clever (much to our dismay), even the strongest passwords can be cracked².

Real-Life Case Study: GoDaddy

Just last year, GoDaddy, the top global web hosting firm, reported a massive data breach affecting 1.2 million of its WordPress customers. The breach exposed customers' email addresses, customer numbers, and even the original WordPress admin passwords. Furthermore, active customers had their sFTP and database usernames and passwords exposed, putting them at greater risk of phishing attacks³.

This case study is a sobering reminder that no business, no matter how big, is immune to cyber threats, and it goes to show just how important regular WordPress maintenance can be.

Unmasking The Risks

An outdated WordPress site is an open invitation for trouble. Here are the three most common security risks that come with an outdated website:

  1. Software vulnerabilities: When your WordPress core, plugins, or themes are out of date, they become the perfect targets for hackers. They can contain security loopholes that are like open windows for cybercriminals, allowing them to sneak into your website and wreak havoc. This could mean defacing your website, stealing sensitive data, or even using your server for illegal activities.
  2. Brute force attacks: In the digital world, a brute force attack is like a persistent thief trying every key on a keychain until one finally works. Cybercriminals use automated software to bombard your login page with numerous password guesses, hoping to eventually strike the right combination and gain access to your site. Once in, they can do anything from stealing information to injecting harmful code.
  3. SQL injections: To carry out an SQL injection, a hacker manipulates a web form field or URL parameter to trick your database into divulging information or executing harmful instructions. Without proper precautions, this could lead to serious data breaches or damage to your website's functionality.

Burglar with crowbar at front door - How can I improve the security of my WordPress site through maintenance? - your wp guy - Every business owner can take proactive steps to improve their WordPress site's security. From the importance of strong passwords and regular updates to the use of security plugins, web application firewalls, and SSL, this comprehensive guide provides actionable advice to protect your site from cyber threats.

How to Protect Your WordPress Site

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect your website against these security vulnerabilities. Here are some important measures you should consider:

  1. Keep WordPress Updated: WordPress is an open-source software that is regularly maintained and updated. Ensure your WordPress core, plugins, and theme are always up to date. WordPress automatically installs minor updates, but major releases require manual installation².
  2. Use Strong Passwords and Proper User Permissions: The most common WordPress hacking attempts use stolen passwords. Make it difficult for hackers by using stronger, unique passwords not just for WordPress admin area, but also for FTP accounts, database, WordPress hosting account, and your custom email addresses which use your site's domain name. Don't give anyone access to your WordPress admin account unless absolutely necessary. If you have a large team or guest authors, make sure that you understand user roles and capabilities in WordPress before you add new user accounts and authors to your WordPress site².
  3. Choose a Secure WordPress Hosting: Your WordPress hosting service plays a critical role in the security of your WordPress site. A good shared hosting provider takes extra measures to protect their servers against common threats. They continuously monitor their network for suspicious activity, keep their server software, PHP versions, and hardware up to date, and have ready-to-deploy disaster recovery and accident plans. Using a managed WordPress hosting service provides a more secure platform for your website, offering automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website².
  4. Install a WordPress Backup Solution: Regular backups of your website can save you in disastrous situations if your site gets hacked or you accidentally lock yourself out. There are several free and paid WordPress backup plugins that you can use, but the most important thing is to store your backups off-site (like in a cloud service), not on your hosting server².
  5. Implement Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress site. It works by requiring a second verification step after you enter your password – usually a code sent to your phone or email. This means that even if someone guesses or steals your password, they still can't access your site without the second factor. You can easily add 2FA to your WordPress site with a variety of plugins.
  6. Use a WordPress Security Plugin: A security plugin can help you harden your WordPress site's security with just a few clicks. These plugins offer features like regular scans for malware, firewall protection, spam filtering, and more. Some popular options include Sucuri, Wordfence, and iThemes Security. These plugins offer a range of features, from basic protection to premium features like real-time monitoring and advanced firewall rules.

Why Is Website Security Important to Small Business Owners?

Having a secure website is crucial for maintaining your customers' trust. If your website is breached, it can lead to lost sales, a tarnished reputation, and even potential legal trouble if sensitive customer data is compromised. Regular maintenance doesn't just secure your site—it's a preventive measure that protects your business's bottom line.

Final Thoughts

An unsecure website could put your business and customer data at risk, and that's a scenario we all want to avoid. So what can you do about it? It's simple: keep your WordPress core, plugins, and themes up-to-date, use unique and strong passwords, choose a secure WordPress hosting, back up your site regularly, add an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication, and consider a WordPress security plugin. Let's be proactive about website security because, after all, it's not just about protecting your site, it's about safeguarding your business's reputation and your customers' trust. Don't forget: in the digital world, a secure website is a thriving one!

If you're ready to take the stress out of WordPress maintenance and want professional help, we're just a call away. Schedule your discovery call with Your WP Guy today. Let's fortify your WordPress site together, one update at a time.

How Can I Improve the Security of My WordPress Site through Maintenance? Summary

  • Keep WordPress Updated: WordPress is an open-source software that is regularly updated. Ensure that your WordPress core, plugins, and themes are up to date to maintain the security and stability of your site.
  • Strong Passwords and User Permissions: The most common hacking attempts use stolen passwords, so it's important to use strong, unique passwords not just for your WordPress admin area, but also for FTP accounts, database, WordPress hosting account, and your custom email addresses that use your site’s domain name. Also, limit the number of people who have access to your WordPress admin account.
  • Role of WordPress Hosting: A good WordPress hosting service can play a crucial role in the security of your site. They monitor their network for suspicious activity, prevent large scale DDOS attacks, keep their server software, PHP versions, and hardware up-to-date, and have disaster recovery and accident plans in place.
  • Install a WordPress Backup Solution: Backups allow you to quickly restore your site in case something goes wrong. UpdraftPlus is our recommended backup solution.
  • Best WordPress Security Plugin: Security plugins can help protect your site. Sucuri and Wordfence are two highly recommended options.

How Can I Improve the Security of My WordPress Site through Maintenance? FAQs

Leave a Comment