Internet security is important for any business that operates online. Unauthorized access to your website’s data can cause a denial of service, loss of vital information, or a shutdown. Any of these issues will cause downtime that can eat into your business’s revenue stream.
WordPress sites are particularly susceptible to hackers. WordPress is easy for website developers to use, but without precautions, that ease of use can come at the cost of security.
In 2017, 83% of WordPress websites were compromised. According to Sucuri, most instances “had little, if anything, to do with the core of the CMS application itself but more with its improper deployment, configuration and overall maintenance by the webmasters.” Fortunately, there are steps you can follow to secure your WordPress website.
Think Like a Hacker
Hackers are opportunists. They choose their targets based on which sites offer the most reward for the least amount of effort. Small business owners often think that they are not on the radar of experienced hackers because they have little to offer, but that isn’t the case. Small eCommerce businesses offer hackers the best rewards–effort ratios, and they need to be protected from malware.
The majority of attacks are automated. Hackers are energy efficient. They set up bots to search the Internet for potential targets based on known vulnerabilities. If your site comes up, then it wasn’t because they were tracking you specifically but because the bots found a vulnerability on your website. Once they’ve selected your website, they then start to look for ways to exploit the vulnerability.
Hackers often first look to steal financial information. Smart hackers, however, can find many ways to profit off of the information that they do find. For example, hackers steal system resources. If they can get access to your servers, they can turn your hardware into one of the many machines slaved to their botnet and increase their own system’s power.
They could also redirect traffic from your website to their own affiliate links to generate income. Skilled hackers can find many uses for the data that they get on the Internet, and online businesses are easy targets.
How to Secure Your WordPress Website
Protecting your WordPress website requires you to be proactive. Preventative care is much more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of a security breach. Once you know what the hackers are after, it becomes much easier to keep them out.
Choose Your Hosting Provider Wisely
The first step in securing your website is to make sure that you are using a quality hosting provider. The provider should have a good reputation and implement high-quality security measures to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities on their end. Good practices for hosting providers include supporting the latest versions of MySQL and PHP. They should also run regular scans for malware and perform backups daily.
Choose a hosting provider that specializes in running WordPress-based sites. Such hosts are already well aware of the vulnerabilities associated with WordPress websites and have optimized their security protocols accordingly.
Backup, Backup, Backup
Data is the currency of the Internet, and hackers want to steal it. If they gain access to your data, they may block you out or force you to purge your data. That threat is why it is important to create backups. Quality hosting providers will take care of backing up your data for you.
Use Strong Password Protection
Strong login practices are a simple yet essential step for fortifying your website. Using strong passwords, changing them frequently, and requiring users to also use strong passwords is a great start. LastPass is an excellent tool for generating and storing strong passwords.
These are just a few of the ways available to secure your WordPress website. Your hosting provider can help in other ways, such as hiding the version number of any software you are using, making sure that your software is up to date, setting correct file permissions, and more.
These are all preventative measures to secure your WordPress website, but they are not bulletproof. If you think that your site has been compromised, notify your service provider immediately. They can run antivirus and malware scans and work with you on next steps.