Website Security – Why is it important to maintain your website?

29 Sep 2020 - 8 minutes read

If you have a website for your blog or business, it’s important to understand the value of security for your site. As you may have read in the news, hackers are constantly trying to gain access to websites. There are often different motives behind these attacks, but whatever they are, it’s vital to protect your website.

Below are a few important ways to make your WordPress website more secure.

Updating the WordPress Core, themes & plugins

WordPress periodically releases updates to its Core framework, offering new features and security upgrades. There is a big community around the world working to improve WordPress’s Core Framework, so it’s important to apply these core updates to your website whenever they become available.

For your WordPress website, you will be using Themes for your customer view. You might be using the WordPress native themes, have built your own, or have purchased third party themes from online vendors.

You can find a large number of themes online according to your requirements since the WordPress CMS is one of the most popular content managers in the world. Yet there is a huge risk in purchasing these third-party themes; unless you sign up for a support subscription, you won’t be able to access the latest updates released by the theme developers. So if you’re planning to buy a theme online, it’s advisable to understand the support provided by the developers. Therefore, the best option is to build your own theme by hiring a Web Development agency.

WordPress websites use plugins to integrate additional features. The default WordPress system comes with some basic functionality but if you want to have additional features you need to use plugins.

Similar to the themes, you can find a huge number of both free and paid third-party plugins online matching your requirements. But you first need to find out if the plugin is being maintained by the developer, if it is compatible with your WordPress version, or if it is being marked as an abandoned plugin by the WordPress community. Plugins are more vulnerable to attacks than the themes, so using an insecure plugin on your website can make it easier for hackers to gain access.

Choosing the correct Hosting server

A hosting server’s security plays a major role in your own website’s security, as hosting servers are the first entry point when a user browses a website – they are the engine that displays the results to the users using the data and design. So if the hosting server is not secured, then the hackers can get access to all the files and data on the server.

No matter how much you keep your own website secure, if the hosting server doesn’t have the proper protection, your website is vulnerable to attacks.

You can find many different providers with very cheap hosting packages, but you need to choose the correct hosting provider based on a few key factors, such as: if the hosting provider has the latest version of the application servers (latest version of the LAMP stack); if they have a firewall; if they have automated backups and options to restore your website; and if they have a support team to help if you something goes wrong with your site.

Using SSL certificates

SSL certificates will help you to keep the communication between your website and the users encrypted. Using SSL certificates will make the website load using https protocol; if an attacker tries to eavesdrop the communication between your website and your users, the SSL certificates will encrypt the data and won’t allow them to decipher it. If you are selling products online through your website, it’s essential to use SSL certificates, otherwise the users’ credit card information can be compromised.

Most modern web browsers now showing a “Not Secure” alert to the user if the website doesn’t use SSL certificates, which can affect the traffic to your website. You can purchase SSL certificates from online vendors, and the cost of the certificates differs according to the level of security. Most hosting providers will provide you with a free SSL certificate when you purchase the hosting package.

Using security plugins

When you have all of the above settings in place, you need to keep an eye on your website in case there are any issues with it. There are different types of plugins available which can scan your WordPress website for any malicious files or hacked content, allowing you to take immediate action and secure your website.

Some third-party service providers offer external firewall features for purchase which can filter the traffic coming to your website, using tools to identify malicious attacks and block them before they affect your website. Usually, these service providers will have an annual subscription package for these kinds of activities.

Other things to consider

Apart from the aforementioned activities, there are a few other things to consider:

  1. Only provide minimal access to your users. If you are using someone else to post articles on your website, they won’t need an administrator account but they can be given an author account instead;
  2. Use plugins which will instruct users to create strong passwords;
  3. Use Captcha for the login page with a maximum number of failed logins;
  4. Change the WordPress admin login URL from the default to a custom URL;
  5. Do not use “admin” or your site’s name as the username for your administrator account.

Conclusion

Considering the number of online threats, it’s always good to validate your website’s current security strengths and weaknesses. When important security guidelines are not followed, it can create major hassles for you.

The above article was created to help the community understand basic WordPress security best practices. Please share this article with your friends using WordPress as well.