15 Ways to Harden the Security of Your WordPress Site



We are living in an online era in which nothing comes with 100% security.

Yes, it is the true fact which could not be changed considering any of the technology. Keeping this in mind I have outlined some of the proven methods which can be adopted to keep your WordPress site away from malicious attacks.


A security breach can lead to your website getting hacked! Moreover, a good website builder will always be concerned about hardening WordPress security to avoid huge business loss.


Before moving ahead with the topic, let us get clear about the necessity of WordPress security and what are the things that make it prone to spammers?



What makes WordPress a target for Hackers?


Having more users than any other CMS, it is more likely to be hacked. According to the report, around 1,305 WordPress plugins are the biggest source to attack resulting in 54% of the global WordPress vulnerabilities.


WordPress has always been a hot center as it is being used by millions of users globally. They could easily target your website just to introduce malicious software for use on your site.


To sum up, I would say that being the friendliest and fast-growing content management system, it pays the price of popularity!




Why harden the security of WordPress Site?


If your website is a business, then you need to pay extra attention to harden WordPress security.


What if you wake-up and find that your site is under security risks? Or the hacker found access to your private database and server.


Sounds scary, isn’t it?


Relax for a moment.


In this post, I have planned some of the useful measures and tricks to keep your website safe and secure because security is seriously important.


Let us discuss.



Top 15 Ways to Harden WordPress security


Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

It is recommended to enable SSL certificates for your WordPress site that ensure secured connections across various networks encrypting the crucial information.


It is essential to encrypt sensitive data like name, password, credit cards details, and payments information before sending it through the network.


One can install SSL by the right use of plugins such as Cloudflare. You can also ask the hosting service providers such as GoDaddy or Bluehost for SSL certificates.



Install Security Plugins from Reputed Sites

Always have the habit to download important plugins from official websites to avoid your sites from becoming the victim of malware attacks.


There is a list of security plugins in WordPress. The most reliable ones are iThemes Security, Sucuri, and Wordfence.


I suggest you download them from the official WordPress.org to make sure it doesn’t intrude malicious code.



Set up Website Application Firewall (WAF)

A Website Application Firewall is rather a good option to rely on. It adds another security layer to protect your website from hackers and security breaches.


It is just an extra step to avoid spam attacks and enable high-end security service layer. There are few firewall software providers such as Norton and ZoneAlarm for defeating against ransomware attacks.


Use Smart Usernames and Password

Forcing yourself to use strong passwords can ultimately avoid hackers to enter your site and keep safe from vulnerable issues.


Weak passwords offer an easy gateway to your site and are open to brute force attacks. So just in case if the intruder reaches your login page, he won’t be able to track the password.


Apart from the password, have a good practice to not use common usernames such as “admin” to avoid unnecessary security threats like brute force attack.


You can use Force Strong Passwords, a WordPress plugin to enable extreme strong passwords.



Choose a Secure Web Hosting Service

A trusted website hosting provider can be your next pick to manage a complete site security issues. It takes care of the various security standards that include malware scanning, restores points network monitoring and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.


One can choose any of the best service providers such as SiteGround, HostGator or Flywheel to enable secure website hosting with appropriate plans.



Two-Factor Authentication Service

The most certain way to prevent brute force attacks is to set-up a two-step verification process. To check the authenticity of the admin user, along with the password, an authentication code is sent via SMS on the phone which assures that the person is an admin.


Several plugins like Two-Factor Authentication, Duo-Two Factor Authentication, and Clef Two-Factor Authentication can add this feature to tighten login security.



Use CAPTCHA on Login Screen

Always understand that a secure login page can avoid the hacker before it enters the site and be safe from the next big attack! To prevent automated bad bots or brute force attacks enabling CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA is the best option.


Use Google CAPTCHA (reCAPTCHA) plugin for popular contact forms, password recovery, login and registration to make your job easy and hard for spammers.



Change File Permissions

Modify the read-write file permission in case of a number of users handling the website database and add another level of security to your database.


This is because an attacker can inject unwanted changes into your WordPress directories without your knowledge. Prevent access to such directories by changing the necessary file permissions.


A guide to change file permissions in WordPress Codex will help you modify file permissions and keep an eye on your important files.



Backup Your Site 

Saying this, I don’t mean to say every once in a while. But the point is you cannot afford to lose your content files in-case of any hacker attack at a particular instance. Taking scheduled backups of your website directories or files can help you restore it to a version prior to damage and ease.


You can choose any of the automated solutions by BlogVault, WordPress Backup to Dropbox or BackupBuddy for simple backups.



LockDown phpMyAdmin

Secure phpMyAdmin script to ensure database security with loads of crucial information. This is because phpMyAdmin gives the ability to interact with MySQL Databases used by WordPress to manage post, comments, categories etc.


Also, prefer using the latest version of phpMyAdmin to protect against spammers and keep your personal content secure.



Secure HTTP Headers

To enable robust security over the transfer of technical information via web server you need to adopt the WordPress plugins that ensure secure HTTP headers. These headers pass information such as cache-control, content-encoding, content-type, connection, date, etc.


Adding such features to your site help you mitigate attacks and give technical comfort.


HTTPs offer:

  • X-XSS Protection policy- to block malicious script by user input
  • Strict-Transport policy– prevents man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Referrer policy-restricts amount of information on link headers



Keep Track of Dashboard Activity

When there are a number of users involved in the site, it is essential to retrace a number of activities carried out and finds out if anything goes wrong. This is also a great security measure because it connects dots between specific action and reaction.


So just in-case, if the certain file has affected your site, you can investigate it further to check if any malicious code has been infused. A plugin WP Security Audit Log keeps a track record of the user activities in site’s backend so you can view both what users and hackers are doing.



Use .htaccess to Protect Important Files  

.htaccess file contains the main configuration settings of the web server and has control to the whole website. Being considered as the heart of WordPress site, I suggest you protect it from the unauthorized users.


After tweaking your .htaccess file to protect your blog from hackers, you cannot leave it prone to vulnerable threats. Simply paste the snippet code in your domain’s root .htaccess file.



<Files ~ “^.*\.([Hh][Tt][Aa])”>
order allow, deny
deny from all
satisfy all



Disable XML-RPC and Conduct Security Scans

If your website does not use services such as pingbacks or mobile apps to talk to WordPress using the API features, I recommend disabling XML-RPC features. Consequently, you can be saved from big attacks like DDoS and brute force via XML-RPC.


To activate this feature use Disable XML-RPC by WordPress to restrict vulnerable attacks. To brush up your security layer execute security scans by trusted software like Sucuri SiteCheck, CodeGuard and many more.



Keep Themes and Plugins Updated

Always prefer using themes and plugins that are up-to-date by setting it to update automatically. Rather than going for manual updates, automatic updates for plugins and themes are another thing you can configure by inserting a snippet of code into the wp-config.php file as below:


For plugin-

add_filter (‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’); 


For themes-                                                                                                                                                           add_filter (‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’);



Summing Up


There are several ways to protect WordPress site from malicious attacks.


However, I have covered the most important ones to avoid website vulnerabilities and help you get secure websites from common threats and security vulnerabilities.


Hope you might love to adopt some of these measures for sure! Do let me know in case of any queries.


Cause it’s better to be safe than to be sorry, isn’t it?


Good luck! J



About the Author:

Anil Parmar is the co-founder of Glorywebs, a custom wordpress web development company aiming to help clients with services like mobile apps, web design, digital marketing and more. Mobile apps, website themes & WordPress plugins we develop have a common # 1 goal: Keep it as simple as possible for technical as wellas non-tech geeks. Find him on Twitter @abparmar99 & say Hi!



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