How You Can Protect Your WordPress Site from Hackers

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These days your WordPress website security is no laughing matter – in fact, you could say it has become downright treacherous as more and more people come to find themselves left with the devastation of a hacker. Rather than being a statistic, now is a good time to take action and do what you can to protect your WordPress site from hackers. Let’s have a look at a few things you can do.

#1 Protect Your wp-config.php
This is an important WordPress file and so you will want to make sure it is protected. You can hide it so it is not available for public view just by putting a few lines of code into your htaccess file.

<Files wp-config.php>
order allow, deny
deny from all
</Files>

Add this code and it will stop the wp-config.php file from being visible to public users and makes it harder for hackers and robots to spot.

#2 Never use “admin” to Login
One of the most common mistakes is to leave the default ‘admin’ as your login to your WordPress sight. This needs to be changed right away as this is dangerous and allows hackers an advantage. It’s very dangerous leaving ‘admin’ as your login.

#3 Use SFTP
Most people use FTP to upload their files, but you really should use a Secure FTP connection – SFTP. That way when you send your files they will be encrypted.

#4 Using the Login Lockdown Plugin
Login Lockdown plugin will make sure that you remember your password. Every failed attempt at logging in is registered along with the person’s IP address and it will block the ability to login from different IPs if the login has failed after the set number of attempts, which you control. The default setting is 3 failed logins within 5 minutes per hour. You have the control to remove the blocked IP address from the plugin panel in your WordPress dashboard.

#5 WordPress Backup Plugin
You need to have backups regularly not just now and then when you think about it. UpdraftPlus is a plugin that will do this for you and then it will send your backup to your email address and/or store it on the server. An offsite backup is wise because should your site be hacked it gives you the best chance of getting things up and run quickly.

There are plenty of things you can do to make your WordPress site more secure – these are certainly a good start!

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Say No to WordPress Hackers With Better Security

You may have already heard rumblings about the bots attacking WordPress. Bottom line is that every website is at risk and WordPress is no different. It’s important for you to do your part to create a higher degree of security, because you see if everyone else does and you do not, then you become the weak link where hackers can access all the WordPress blogs. The same goes true if you create a strong password and others do not – bottom line, this requires a team effort.

Start by making sure your WordPress installation has the most current updates. Reduce the number of plugins you are using if you can and always delete those plugins you no longer use. Make sure you choose passwords that are hard to crack and always backup your data on a regular bases. Finally, protect your WordPress by making use of .htaccess. Great, that’s a good place to start by putting these things into practice.

Now it’s time to install a WordPress Security plugin that is designed to block IP addresses that attempt to flood or spam a site. It will also restrict the number of login attempts that can occur and it will monitor your live traffic. These plugins are constantly being updated so you can be sure they are on top of security concerns. All In One WP Security and Firewall – by Tips and Tricks-HQ or iThemes Security, formerly Better WP Security are two that can do the job for you.

There’s been a great deal of controversy over whether free content delivery systems are good or bad. The best thing to do is try it yourself. Yes, there are some that really only want to lure you to their paid service but two free content delivery networks that minimize your security risk and are free include CloudFlare and PageSpeed Service by Google. Don’t be afraid to explore what’s out there.

We touched on the .htaccess file earlier. This stands for Hypertext Access and when you configure this file you gain control and reduce your risk of security breaches. Editing your .htaccess file is serious and unless you understand at least basic coding you should hire someone that does. You can quickly become overwhelmed by so many options.

These suggestions don’t guarantee you will not be hacked, but what they do is significantly reduce your risk because there is going to be someone else out there that will be an easier target.

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Making Sure Your WordPress is Securely Installed

Often the One-Click installs offered by many web hosts don’t install the latest version of WordPress, so after installing it, check to see if it’s the latest version and then do an update if needed. Also check the default themes and plugins and update them if necessary.

The next thing you need to do is take care of security issues on your site. WordPress has a plugin called iThemes Security Pro (formerly Better WP Security), that lets you change certain WordPress features to make it more difficult for the hackers to gain access. Be sure to take advantage of this tool to give you the best chance at a secure WordPress site.

iThemes Security Pro will let you:

* Change the default ‘Admin’ username to something different
* Lock entrance to the admin at specific time periods
* Change your admin user ID from 1 to something different
* Ban users based on the IP addresses
* Automatically email your database backups to yourself
* Change the URL you use to login from wp-login to something different
* Change your WordPress directory files from wp-content to something different
* Change your database prefix from wp_ to something different
* Check the number of hits on 404 pages and lock the user out if they are excessive
* Track any file changes
* Limit the number of times you can login attempts with the wrong password

And there’s more.

One of the easiest ways to get through a site’s security is with their password. Many don’t take the time to create solid passwords because they claim they take too much time, but compared to the time it will take you to attempt to rebuild your site, it seems like such a small price.

When you are creating a password:

Every password should be at least 15 characters
Every site should be different
Is strongest if it is not an actual word
Is strongest if it is a mix of special characters, lowercase letters, capital letters and numbers.

Regular Backups

The last thing you need to do is make sure you are taking regular backups of your site files and database(s). That way should the unthinkable happen, you will at least have a backup safely stored away, which will certainly reduce your stress.

One of the most popular plugins for doing this is called UpdraftPlus. This will create a backup and then upload that backup to Dropbox for safe keeping. You can also email that backup to yourself. That’s because the Dropbox plugin keeps only one backup, so sending to yourself allows you to keep many versions.

Get busy, add your plugin(s), change your passwords, make your backups and make your site as secure as possible.

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Essential Plugins to Harden Your WordPress Security

WordPress Membership Plugin

If you are running a WordPress site, security needs to be your primary concern. In many cases, WordPress blogs are compromised because of outdated core files and/or plugins. Files that are outdated can be traced and you are providing hackers with an open invitation to your site. Here are some essential plugins to make sure you have installed.

WP DB Backup
WP DB Backup is an easy to use plugin that allows you to backup your core WordPress database tables with just a few mouse clicks. Don’t let its ease of use fool you – this is a powerful tool and it remains one of the most popular plugins to secure WordPress powered websites.

Sucuri Security
Using this plugin, scanning your WordPress site becomes a simple task to carry out. It will find the vulnerabilities in your website and it provides useful tips on removing them.

WP-DB Manager
This is yet another terrific plugin that lets you manage your WP database. It can be used as an option rather than using the WordPress Backup Manager.

SSL Zen
SSL Zen WordPress plugin generates, verifies, and installs your SSL certificate and helps you renew it year after year. Never pay for a SSL certificate again. Note: Only works with cPanel hosting.

Limit Login Attempts
Limit the Login Attempts to block a hackers internet address to prevent any further login attempts after a specified number of retries have been reached, which makes a brute-force attack next to impossible. All In One WP Security and Firewall or iThemes Security, formerly Better WP Security are two that can do this for you.

Two Factor Authentication
This plugin uses the industry standard TFA / 2FA algorithm TOTP or HOTP for creating One Time Passwords. These are used by Google Authenticator, Authy, and many other OTP applications that you can deploy on your phone or tablet.

Bad Behavior
Bad Behavior is a plugin that aids in fighting annoying spammers. The plugin will help you prevent spam messages on your blog, and it will also attempt to limit access to your WordPress blog, so they will not even be able even to read it.

User Spam Remover
This plugin has a name that gives away just what its function is. This is a popular plugin that helps in the prevention and removal of unwanted spam messages.

There you have it – a handful of essential plugins you should install on your WordPress blog.

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