6 ways organizations can prevent WordPress hacking

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When it comes to building and growing a profitable business, there’s no platform better than WordPress. But if you’re going to fully utilize all of the robust features that WordPress has to offer, you have to get the basics right. Otherwise, you could end up on the wrong end of a devastating cyber attack.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of WordPress websites get hacked. Issues include:

  • Inability to log in
  • Unplanned site changes
  • Website redirects to another site
  • Warnings from Google about possible hack
  • Notification of breach from security plugin
  • Hacking warning from hosting provider

Depending on the extent of it – and how much private data and information you house on your website – a hack could damage your reputation, compromise your customers, attract lawsuits, and/or close down your business.

Here’s how you can prevent that from happening:

1. Run the Latest Version of WordPress

Always ensure you’re running the latest version of WordPress. Outdated versions often have security loopholes and weaknesses that are well-known to hackers. If you continue to use these old versions, you risk being compromised.

2. Reduce the Number of Plugins

Think of your website like a house. Each plugin you install is like adding a new exterior door. And with each exterior door, you’re creating another possible entry point for a criminal to access. Thus, the more plugins you have, the less secure your site is.

It’s better to have one plugin that does multiple things well, than it is to have a bunch of fragmented plugins that each serve one distinct purpose. (Think of it like having one door to your house, as opposed to five or six.) Consider installing a plugin like Jetpack, which allows self-hosted WordPress bloggers to add an extensive range of features with a single plugin.

3. Avoid Brute-Force Login Attempts

Many hackers prefer to use automated scripts to exploit weak passwords and gain access to websites. These are known as brute-force login attempts. Preventing them requires nothing more than a couple of additional steps.

“Two-step authentication, limiting login attempts, monitoring unauthorized logins, blocking IPs and using strong passwords are some of the easiest and highly effective ways to prevent brute-force attacks,” developer Brian Jackson writes.

Don’t be one of the thousands of WordPress site owners who refuse to spend the extra five minutes it takes to prevent brute-force attacks. Strengthen your passwords and breathe easier.

4. Get Rid of Inactive Users

Much like plugins increase your website’s vulnerability, every user on your WordPress site represents another possible access point. If you have inactive users on your WordPress site, remove them. This eliminates the possibility of dormant accounts being leveraged against you.

On a related note, you should consider who has administrator capabilities and limit the accounts that are able to modify existing content. Too many administrators put your site at risk of being manipulated.

5. Select the Right Web Hosting Platform

With so many different web hosting platforms to choose from, it’s easy to get enticed into using a specific platform without truly understanding what you’re getting in return. Make sure you do your research and only select web hosting platforms that prioritize security (and have a track record to prove it).

6. Correct File Permissions

“File permissions are a set of rules used by your web server,” WPBeginner explains. “These permissions help your web server control access to files on your site. Incorrect file permissions can give a hacker access to write and change these files.”

As a general rule of thumb, all of your WordPress files should have their file permission set to 644. All folders on your site should have a value of 755 as their file permission.

Protect Your WordPress Website

Most ecommerce business owners are foolish enough to think that they’re invincible. But it doesn’t matter how small or large your website is – if it’s unprotected, you risk being compromised.

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