I’ve heard many webmasters complaining that WordPress websites are not secure enough. Or sometimes they would also say that open-source scripts like WordPress are vulnerable to all sorts of attacks.
Do you think it’s true? I would dismiss this opinion.
I would rather say that it’s webmasters’ responsibility to secure their websites by taking precautionary measures on their own or by hiring a good web developer.
If you are too a victim of virus attacks or malicious code injections on your WordPress eCommerce website and you want to fix this problem yourself, then here is your brief guide on securing your WordPress website.
In this blog post, you will learn:
1. How to secure your website database
2. How to secure admin login
3. How to secure WordPress Themes & Plugins
4. How to secure server files
#1 How to secure WordPress website database
It becomes even more important for eCommerce websites to have secured databases in order to protect sensitive information like customer details, product details, and orders & sales reports. Here are but a few critical measures that you can take to secure your WordPress eCommerce website database.
A. Change the prefix of the database
Usually, WordPress provides an option to choose prefixes for the database however most web developers would skip this step and continue to install the website using the default method. As a result, the database becomes prone to potential threats of SQL injections.
By default, WordPress installation has the database prefix “wp_” however it is recommended to change it to something that’s harder or even impossible for the injectors to guess. Maybe, using “wpmydb13_”, “mydb090_” could save your life and keep your database safe and away from SQL injections.
If your web developer didn’t change the default prefix for the database, no worries. Plugins like DB Manager are here to help you. Using this plugin (or similar), you can change the prefix of your database anytime. But do make sure to take a backup of your database before you make any changes.
No matter how secure your WordPress eCommerce website is, it would always be a good idea to back up the database, just in case. There are several backup plugins available for WordPress websites, however, BackupGuard has always been my favorite.
If you take backups of your website database regularly, you can always restore it with the latest & clean copy in case of any SQL injections.
#2 How to secure admin login
Everyone (including hackers), knows the standard login URL for the WordPress admin dashboard. In most cases, you can use /wp-login.php or /wp-admin after the website name and you can see the login page. Using standard conventions for URLs always invites the threats like brute force attacks. How to prevent this?
A. 2-Factor Authentication
WordPress websites that use 2-Factor Authentication require entering the passwords for 2 different components. As an admin, you can always decide on those components so that it becomes impossible for the hackers to guess both passwords.
There are some useful plugins like WP Google Authenticator that will help you to set 2-Factor Authentication for your WordPress eCommerce website.
B. Website Lockdown
Website lockdown features protect WordPress websites from brute-force attacks. By using the lockdown feature, whenever there is any continuous hacking attempt with wrong passwords, the website gets locked for that user, and you are notified of such suspicious login attempts.
Plugins like iThemes Security work great for this purpose. You can also set a certain number of failed login attempts after which the plugin will ban that IP address.
C. Change Login URL
In the very first place, you can change the admin login URL of WordPress which will minimize the chances of brute force attacks to a great extent. In other words, by changing the admin URLs like websitename.com/wp-admin/ to something else, you will make it harder for the intruders to even reach your login page.
D. Strong Passwords
Last but not least, you must always set stronger passwords for the admin login of your WordPress eCommerce websites. A perfect combination of uppercase, lowercase, special characters, numbers, and alphabets is considered a strong password. There are also some online tools available that help you to generate strong passwords.
Tools like password generators can help you to set stronger passwords.
#3 How to secure WordPress themes & plugins
For any eCommerce website built with WordPress, themes and plugins are very important and at the same time, crucial too. Therefore, it becomes mandatory to secure them. Let’s see how we can secure them.
A. Update them regularly
Most of the WordPress themes and plugins are updated regularly by their developers. This update could involve fixing any bug or patching any potential security threats. Therefore, it’s always recommended to update the plugins and themes to their latest versions often. Also, try to use only those plugins that are regularly upgraded by their developers.
B. Remove useless plugins or themes
You must make sure to remove the plugins or themes that are not being used anymore. Idle plugins/themes are prone to security threats. So, it’s essential to do housekeeping of your website and server, say once in 2 weeks’ time.
#4 How to secure server files
This measure against security loopholes of your eCommerce website requires some technical skills. So, if you are not confident enough to perform these actions yourself, you better go for hiring a web developer.
A. Disable File Editing
Any user with admin access is able to edit the files pertaining to themes & plugins very easily. One can go to Appearance > Editor and make changes there. So, it’s always recommended to keep the file editing permissions disabled.
All you need to do is, add this small line of code in the wp-config.php file, and you are done:
B. Secure WP-Config File
WP-Config file contains critical & sensitive information related to your WordPress website installation and therefore it must be kept securely. Don’t worry, there is nothing much to do for securing the wp-config file. Just change the location of this file from root to one fold above. That’s it.
By securing the wp-config file, you are protecting your WordPress core installation details and that’s really a significant step towards securing your website.