How secure is your WordPress website?

Since WordPress now powers almost 27% of websites across the world, malicious attacks and security vulnerabilities are inevitable because not all business owners are fully aware how safe their site actually is.

Countless companies have a WordPress website built by a design agency and not thought about the importance of ongoing maintenance and security. The site’s up and running and you’re starting to see traffic, but as time passes by, what happens to monitoring the security and keeping watch on plugins and theme updates?

Did you know that attacks on websites running an outdated version of WordPress are increasing at a viral rate? With millions of pages being defaced or turned into virulent attack platforms, it puts a significant risk to the internet’s health and has severe impacts on business revenue.

What can your business do to avoid security issues?

There are several areas of focus that you should look at to help make your WordPress site secure:

1. Get an SSL certificate

An SSL certificate provides security by creating an encrypted connection between your website and visitors. In other words any data being transferred can’t be intercepted during transmission, e.g. password logins or image uploads to your media folder, preventing malicious code from infecting files and your site.

2. Change your passwords

When was the last time you changed your password in WordPress? More often then not, users don’t once it’s been set up.

Most consumers admit to re-using passwords on multiple websites and only change once a year or less, which is worrying to say the least.

It is good practice to change your password and ensure other users follow suit every four months at least. Whilst you may find this to be too much hassle, there are several password managers that can encrypt and store your passwords, so you can access them from either a desktop or mobile phone. ¬†Once you’ve set up your account it will automatically detect which websites need authentication and pre-fill in the forms.

3. WordPress security

It is comforting to know that there are many companies out there which are constantly testing WordPress for security issues and immediately reporting findings to their security teams. This is why security updates are provided once the issues have been verified.

However, just because these updates are released, do you actually know when and how to update your site?

You could configure your WordPress site to automatically notify you via email once these are available, and apply the fix accordingly. It is important to ensure you have a full system backup before any major updates or fixes are performed, just in case there is a need to rollback.

4. WordPress themes and plugins

Plugins and themes can be integral to the build of your website, but are only as secure as the developer that made them.

It’s very important the you ensure that these are actively supported. Agencies that use plugins or themes from a third party for your website should be able to advise you of their reputation and reliability.

Keeping track of your plugins and themes to ensure they are updated with the latest version is just as important as any security aspect on your WordPress site.

5. Have a reliable backup plan

If your website was hacked or defaced tomorrow, could you quickly restore a backed up version of your website?

Most companies fail to implement such an important security strategy which can be a very hard lesson.

You can’t rely solely on your hosting company for backups so it’s important that your WordPress site is setup with an automated schedule. This ensures your local files and the database are backed up, in case of an emergency.