WordPress is currently one of the most popular content management systems used to build websites. It’s open source software allows developers to build plugins that extend the functionality of WordPress. That is why many businesses are asking “Is WordPress secure?”. With security being an important part of a website, businesses must consider how their website is built and maintained to ensure their website does not get hacked. This is understandable given the threats that exist today. According to Security Magazine, hackers attack computers with internet access every 39 seconds on average. It is therefore essential for modern websites to not only generate sales and look aesthetically pleasing, but to also shield sensitive information and prevent security breaches.
At Compete Now, we build secure custom websites focused on communicating your message and reaching your goals. If you are interested in learning more about our web design process, click here or call 617-539-6528 to contact us.
Now, we’ll discuss whether or not WordPress is secure.
Is WordPress Secure
Out of all of the content management systems available, WordPress sites are one of the most secure options. As a company, WordPress is made up of skilled developers who constantly create new methods to keep WordPress safe. As a company, WordPress invests significantly in their security.
In addition to WordPress, the plugins that are installed are also a large factor in website security. Each plugin is responsible for updating its software to prevent any security vulnerabilities. WordPress plugins come in free and paid versions. Plugins are generally well maintained well and are not a security threat, but there are times when a plugin will become abandoned by the developer and can become vulnerable to hackers. We will discuss this more later in the article!
No matter what, everything that is published on an online network has the potential to be stolen or exposed. Although there are many reasons why WordPress sites get hacked, a team of experienced web developers will know how to build and maintain your website in such a way that it is as secure as possible.
Choose Your Hosting Company Wisely
Choosing a secure website host impacts the overall security of your website.
Before we explain how to choose a secure host, we will give some background on the purpose of website hosting. Website hosting is a service that gives you the ability to publish your website on the internet. Hosting is what allows anyone online to see your site, thus, all websites have to have a hosting plan to be online.
One of the most important elements of a website host is the security that it provides. Website hosts can back up your website daily, assuring you that your site can be quickly restored in the event of an issue. Many providers also set up advanced firewalls to protect your website against hackers. It is also common for providers to provide SSL certificates that automatically renew, allowing you to securely collect payments and information from site visitors, along with spam filters and domain name privacy.
At Compete Now, we offer managed WordPress hosting plans that vary depending on your website’s needs and functionality. We focus on ongoing website security and performance, while providing hosting support to ensure that your website is running safely and efficiently to free up your time and give you peace of mind.
Some popular hosting services include the following:
- SiteGround – SiteGround offers free SSLs, a security plugin made just for WordPress, and Cloudflare CDN with some of its plans. Other benefits include daily backups, built in caching and page speed improvements, and excellent hosting support.
- WPEngine – WP Engine offers a variety of resources and customer support that is specialized for WordPress. Their hosting plans include an advanced firewall, page speed improvements, daily backips, free SSL and CDN, staging sites and more! WPEngine also will send you email alerts when a vulernable plugin on your website needs to be updated.
How Developers Can Help Make Your WordPress Site Secure
There are many steps that skilled website developers can take to ensure that your site is safe. These preventative measures include the following:
Choose Secure Plugins
WordPress offers thousands of free plugins. An experienced developer will only choose plugins that have plenty of users and positive reviews and that are known to be safe.
When it comes to choosing secure plugins, here are some tips:
- Check out the website that the plugin is coming from. Does it seem trustworthy? Is it in the approved WordPress plugin repository? Is it professionally designed? Is the company name in the footer and is it easy to find the terms and conditions?
- Google the domain name in quotations (“sample.com”) to see if any reports regarding malicious activity surface.
- Pay attention to how recently the plugin has been updated (the more recent, the better). Plugins that are not updated frequently risk becoming a security vulnerability as well as being an issue with newer versions of WordPress.
- Beware if the plugin has less than 1,000 installations, as this might signal that it’s either not trustworthy or not being updated frequently.
- Make sure that it is compatible with the latest versions of WordPress, PHP and other plugins you have installed on the website.
- If a plugin becomes abandoned and is no longer maintained by the developer it is best to replace the plugin with an alternative option.
Install a Security Plugin
A security plugin will regularly check your site for any potential vulnerabilities or security threats. Most are simple to install and many are free.
Here are some of the most popular WordPress security plugins:
- Sucuri Security – Sucuri offers free and premium versions that audit for security, monitor files, and scan for malware. The premium version of Sucuri also offers a firewall, Google Site Browsing and McAfee Site Advisor. If there are any red flags, Sucuri emails you right away.
- WordFence – This free plugin continuously checks for malware and spam. It also blocks bots and has a two-factor authentication built into it that developers can enable. In addition Wordfence compares your website’s files with those in the WordPress.org repository to check their integrity and to alert you of any changes. Finally, Wordfence has a free firewall that you can add to your website.
- VaultPress – VaultPress is a free plugin with premium options. Its top features include backing up posts, media, files, and comments in real time to protect your site against hackers, viruses, or outages. In addition, VaultPress scans for malware and notifies users immediately of suspicious activity.
Install an SSL Certificate
SSL stands for “Single Sockets Layer.” It encrypts information before it is moved between your browser and server and it is obligatory for sites that process sensitive information to have one. Installing an SSL certificate with make it so your website loads with https:// and will appear as “Secure” in browsers.
Most WordPress hosting companies offer SSL certificates for free using Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. These certificates auto-renew so you do not have to worry about them expiring. If you host with GoDaddy or another company that still charges for SSLs, you can still get one for free! This would require using Cloudflare for your DNS and includes a free SSL certificate along with many other security and performance improvements.
How You Can Help Make Your WordPress Site Secure
After a team of skilled web designers create your website, there are steps that you can take to keep your site safe. With WordPress, plugin and PHP updates coming out regularly, you will need to continuously keep your website up to date with an ongoing managed WordPress hosting plan. Check out our guide on making your site the best website possible for a list of what you can do to make your site more effective. Here are some security related tips for you to keep in mind:
Use a Strong Password and Store it Wisely
Use a strong, unique password for your website. We recommend using a password management tool such as LastPass to generate secure passwords and store them safely. In addition to a secure password you will want to avoid common usernames such as “admin”.
Limit Login Attempts
Change your login settings to limit login attempts. This can help block hackers from logging in. Security plugins can assist with limiting the amount of logins attempted in a given time period.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor authentication adds the extra layer of security to ensure no one can login even if they do get the username and password.
Keep WordPress Up to Date
WordPress releases new versions frequently and these updates are important to keep your website safe. Many of the updates include security enhancements as well as new features you can use to improve your website.
Update plugins when necessary, or hire a company to provide website maintenance to check your site for vulnerabilities regularly. If a plugin becomes abandoned and it no longer receiving updates, replace that plugin before it become vulnerable to hackers.
Choose a Secure WordPress Host
Having a secure website host is an excellent starting point to keeping your website safe. Hosting providers such as SiteGround and WPEngine add security rules to their servers making it difficult for hackers to access your website. In addition to this, their daily backups and support teams can quickly restore your website if any issues arise.
Keeping your PHP software versions up to date is also important as these can become insecure over time. The best hosting providers will automatically upgrade your PHP versions to ensure your website is safe and running efficiently.
Overall, there are many cheap website hosts that you can choose. GoDaddy, Bluehost and others are cheaper, but lack the security and performance of a premium website hosting provider.
Why Does My WordPress Site Say “Not Secure”
If your website is saying “not secure,” it is most likely because you do not have an SSL installed on your site. Though SSLs were originally designed for e-commerce sites with transactions taking place, they are now expected to be on all websites. An SSL will make your site stronger and assure visitors that they are visiting a safe place. Google even favors secure sites over non-secure sites when deciding on ranking. If your site does not have an SSL, do not hesitate to contact a web developer to install one.
What are the Next Steps to Securing My WordPress Website?
Your website is an investment and an important part of your business. Customers find you on Google and your website is their first impression. Ensuring your website is secure, loading quickly and properly on all devices is more important than ever before. To keep your website secure we recommend investing in our managed WordPress hosting plans. Our hosting plans include a premium website hosting provider, daily backups, scheduled WordPress and plugin updates, uptime monitoring and more! In addition, we regularly visually inspect the website on all browsers and mobile devices to ensure nothing breaks over time due to any plugin or WordPress updates. You can learn more about our managed hosting plans here.
Contact Us for Your Website Design and Security Needs
At Compete Now, we design websites with security top of mind and we provide regular maintenance services to existing sites, during which we ensure that sites are free of vulnerabilities. If you would like to build a new site or have a company that you trust host your website, click here or call 617-539-6528 to get in touch.