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WordPress Security Checklist: 15 Ways to Secure Your WordPress Website 

Empowering 42% of the Entire Internet” –

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, where the power of the internet reigns supreme, one content management system stands tall as a dominant force, empowering an astonishing 42% of all websites on the world wide web. That juggernaut is none other than WordPress – the versatile and user-friendly platform that has revolutionized the way we create, publish, and manage online content.’ss staggering statistic not only exemplifies its unparalleled popularity but also underscores the critical need for robust security measures to safeguard the vast ecosystem of websites under its wings. As cyber threats become more sophisticated and relentless, WordPress security has never been more crucial.

In this comprehensive checklist, we embark on a journey through the realm of WordPress security. 

Why Do You Need to Secure a WordPress Website?

Securing your WordPress website is essential for several reasons:

  • Protecting Sensitive Data: Your website may contain sensitive information, such as user credentials, personal data, and payment details. A security breach could lead to severe consequences for your users and your business.
  • Maintaining Reputation: A compromised website can damage your reputation and trust among visitors. A secure website ensures your visitors feel safe and confident in interacting with your content.
  • Preventing Data Loss: Malware attacks and hacking attempts can result in data loss, affecting your website’s functionality and causing downtime.
  • SEO Benefits: Google and other search engines prioritize secure websites in their rankings. A secure website will improve your SEO performance and attract more organic traffic.
  • Compliance: Depending on your region and the type of data you handle, there might be legal requirements to secure your website to meet data protection and privacy regulations.

WordPress Security Checklist

1. Keep Your Site Up to Date

Regularly update WordPress, themes, and plugins to patch WordPress security vulnerabilities and ensure you have the latest security features. 38% of WordPress sites are currently using older versions of the platform, leaving them susceptible to potential security vulnerabilities. To ensure that your WordPress installation is up to date, follow these steps:

  • Log in to your WordPress admin area.
  • From the left menu panel, navigate to Dashboard → Updates. Check if your WordPress version is the latest one. If not, it is crucial to update it promptly.
WordPress Security

To avoid future issues, keep track of upcoming update release dates and ensure your site is always running the latest version. WordPress 6.3 has just been released. So make sure you update it ASAP. 

Furthermore, it is equally essential to update the plugins or themes installed on your WordPress site. Outdated or expired themes and plugins may not be compatible with the latest WordPress core software, leading to errors and exposing your site to security risks. To address this:

  • Access your WordPress admin panel.
  • Go to Dashboard → Updates.
  • In the Plugins and Themes sections, review the list of available updates for your installed themes and plugins. You can update them all at once or separately.
WordPress security
  • Click on “Update Plugins” to start the update process.
  • Delete any unused themes and plugins from your WordPress installation. Inactive or outdated themes and plugins can be exploited by hackers.
WordPress security

2. Use Secure wp-admin Login Credentials

One prevalent error made by users is selecting easily guessable usernames like “admin,” “administrator,” or “test.” This unfortunate choice increases the vulnerability of your site to brute force attacks. Attackers often exploit this weakness to target WordPress sites lacking robust passwords as well. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid using such common and predictable usernames to enhance your site’s security.

Create strong and unique login credentials for your wp-admin Dashboard. Avoid using common usernames like “admin” and always use strong passwords that are a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.

WordPress security

3. Equip Safelist and Blocklist for the Admin Page

Enabling URL lockdown is a powerful measure to safeguard your login page from unauthorized IP addresses and brute force attacks. To achieve this, a web application firewall (WAF) service like Cloudflare or Sucuri can be employed.

With Cloudflare, you can set up a zone lockdown rule, defining specific URLs you wish to protect and the allowed IP range to access these URLs. This setup ensures that anyone outside the specified IP range will be unable to access these URLs.

Sucuri offers a similar feature called URL path blacklist. By adding your login page URL to the blocklist, you prevent unauthorized access. Then, you can safelist authorized IP addresses, permitting them to access the login page.

Another option is to restrict access to your login page using the .htaccess file located in your site’s root directory. 

WordPress security

By adding a particular rule to the .htaccess file, you can limit access to your wp-login.php to only one specified IP address. Consequently, attackers won’t be able to access your login page from other locations.

By implementing these methods, you significantly enhance the security of your login page, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and potential brute force attacks.

4. Use a Trusted WordPress Theme

Choose themes from reputable sources like the WordPress theme repository or well-known theme providers like Tesla Themes. Avoid downloading themes from untrusted sites, as they might contain malicious code.

5. Install an SSL Certificate for Secure Data Transfer

An SSL certificate encrypts data transmitted between your website and visitors’ browsers, ensuring secure communication and protecting sensitive information. Furthermore, SSL certificates play a crucial role in enhancing the search engine optimization (SEO) of WordPress sites, ultimately leading to increased visitor traffic.

By having an SSL certificate installed, WordPress websites switch from using HTTP to HTTPS, making them easily identifiable.

WordPress security

The majority of hosting companies now offer SSL as a standard feature within their plans. Nestify, for instance, provides a complimentary SSL certificate with all of its hosting packages. 

6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security to the login process. This requires users to enter a one-time code sent to their mobile device or email. To enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for your WordPress site, follow these steps:

  • Install a login security plugin, such as Wordfence Login Security, from the WordPress plugin repository.
  • You can download and install a third-party authentication app, like Google Authenticator, on your mobile phone.

By completing these steps, your WordPress site will be equipped with 2FA, providing an extra layer of security for your login process.

7. Create Backups Regularly

Regularly back up your website’s files and database to enhance WordPress security. In case of a security breach or data loss, backups can help you quickly restore your site to a previous state. WordPress users can easily back up their sites by utilizing a plugin such as All-in-One WP Migration. This plugin simplifies the backup process, making it convenient and efficient for website owners to safeguard their data.

WordPress security

8. Put a limit to the Number of Failed Login Attempts

Regrettably, hackers employ brute force techniques to gain access to your WordPress admin area by trying multiple password combinations until they succeed. To counter such attacks effectively, it’s essential to restrict login attempts on your website. Use plugins to limit the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address. 

Implementing this WordPress security measure not only prevents unauthorized access but also aids in detecting any suspicious activities on your site. In the majority of cases, legitimate users typically require just one successful login attempt or a few failed tries. Therefore, if you encounter any IP addresses that exceed the allowed attempt limit, it is prudent to treat them with suspicion and take appropriate action to safeguard your website. 

9. Change Your WordPress Login Page URL

Hide the default wp-admin login URL by changing it to something unique. By default, all WordPress websites share the same login URL, which is However, utilizing this standard login URL exposes your site to potential hacker targeting.

WordPress security

To mitigate this risk, you can leverage plugins such as WPS Hide Login and Change wp-admin Login, which empowers you to establish custom login URL settings. By doing so, you obscure the standard login page URL, making it significantly more challenging for malicious actors to pinpoint and exploit your login page. This proactive step for WordPress security can bolster your website’s security and reduce the likelihood of successful brute force attacks.

10. Monitor User Activity

Use WordPress security plugins to monitor and track user activity on your website. This helps you detect suspicious behavior and take timely action. This approach is particularly advisable for WordPress website owners with multiple users or authors accessing the site. The reason for this recommendation is that having several users increases the likelihood of unintended modifications to crucial settings, such as altering themes or configuring plugins.

By closely monitoring the activities of these users, you can pinpoint the individuals responsible for any undesirable changes. Additionally, this monitoring capability serves as an essential security measure, allowing you to detect any unauthorized access or breach attempts on your WordPress website. Being able to attribute actions to specific users enhances accountability and strengthens the overall WordPress security.

WordPress security

11. Regularly Scan Your Site for Malware

Perform regular malware scans to identify and remove any malicious code or files from your website. Thankfully, there are numerous excellent WordPress hack scanner plugins available that can effectively scan for malware and enhance the security of your WordPress website.

Our experts strongly advise installing the Wordfence plugin. This is a widely acclaimed WordPress security plugin that offers real-time updates on malware signatures. It also provides alert notifications, keeping you informed in case your site gets blocklisted on other platforms due to suspicious activities. Wordfence is a robust solution to safeguard your website from potential threats and ensure a safer online environment for your visitors and users.

12. Disable the PHP Error Reporting Feature

The PHP error reporting feature is valuable for monitoring your site’s PHP scripts as it provides comprehensive information about paths and file structures. However, it poses a significant WordPress security risk by exposing your website’s vulnerabilities on the backend.

For instance, if the error reporting reveals a specific plugin associated with the error message, malicious individuals can exploit known vulnerabilities in that plugin. To proactively protect your site, it’s essential to modify the PHP file containing the error reporting settings. Follow these steps to do so:

Access your site’s wp-config.php file using an FTP client like FileZilla or your hosting provider’s File Manager.

WordPress security

Include the following code snippet into the file, ensuring it is added before any other PHP directives:


@ini_set('display_errors', 0);

By adding this code, you effectively disable PHP error reporting and suppress the display of error messages on your website. This action helps to fortify your WordPress site against potential exploits and enhances its overall WordPress security.

13. Migrate to a More Secure Web Host

The effectiveness of multiple WordPress security measures diminishes significantly if the hosting environment remains susceptible to cyberattacks. Thus, selecting a hosting provider that ensures a secure space for all your website data and files on their server is critical.

If you suspect that your current web hosting company lacks sufficient WordPress security measures, it’s time to consider migrating your WordPress website to a more secure hosting platform. Here are essential factors to consider when hunting for a secure web host:

  • Type of Web Hosting: Hosting types like shared or WordPress often pose higher vulnerability risks due to resource sharing. It is advisable to select a web host that also offers Virtual Private Server (VPS) services or dedicated hosting, as these options isolate your resources from other users, enhancing security.
  • Security: A reliable hosting provider proactively monitors its network for suspicious activities and ensures regular updates of server software and hardware. They should have robust server security measures in place, capable of defending against various types of cyberattacks.
  • Features: Regardless of the hosting type, it is crucial to opt for a hosting provider that offers automatic backups and security tools to prevent malware. Having these features is essential, as they can prove invaluable in restoring a compromised website during worst-case scenarios.
  • Support: Choose a hosting company with a 24/7 support team possessing excellent technical knowledge. They play a vital role in assisting you in safeguarding your data and resolving any technical or security issues that may arise.

14. Disable File Editing

Disabling file editing in WordPress is an essential WordPress security measure that prevents unauthorized users from modifying your plugin or theme files directly from the WordPress admin dashboard. By disabling this feature, even if an attacker gains access to your WordPress dashboard, they won’t be able to alter critical files, reducing the risk of compromising your website.

How to Disable File Editing in WordPress:

There are two primary methods to disable file editing in WordPress: using a WordPress security plugin or adding code to the wp-config.php file. Let’s explore both methods:

Method 1: Using a Security Plugin (Recommended)

  • Install a WordPress Security Plugin: Login to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Plugins” > “Add New,” and search for a reputable security plugin. Examples of popular security plugins include “Wordfence Security,” “Sucuri Security,” or “iThemes Security.”
  • Install and Activate the Plugin: Once you’ve chosen a security plugin, click the “Install Now” button, and then click “Activate” to enable the plugin on your WordPress site.
  • Configure File Editing Protection: After activating the security plugin, go to its settings page (usually found under “Security” or “Settings”). Look for an option related to file editing protection.
  • Enable File Editing Protection: In the plugin settings, you should find an option to disable file editing. Typically, it’s a checkbox that you can tick to turn off file editing from the WordPress dashboard.
  • Save Changes: Make sure to save the changes you’ve made to the plugin settings.

Method 2: Adding Code to the wp-config.php File

Before making any changes to your site’s files, it’s essential to back up your WordPress site. This way, you can restore the original configuration if something goes wrong during the process.

  • Access Your Site’s Files: Connect to your website using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or use your hosting provider’s file manager to access the WordPress installation files.
  • Locate the wp-config.php File: In the root directory of your WordPress installation, you’ll find the wp-config.php file. This file contains essential configuration settings for your site.
  • Download a Local Copy: Download a copy of the wp-config.php file to your computer as a backup.
  • Edit the wp-config.php File: Open the wp-config.php file in a text editor (for instance, Notepad for Windows or TextEdit for macOS).
WordPress security
  • Add the Code: Add the following line of code just before the line that says, “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.”:
define( 'DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true );
  • Save and Upload Changes: Save the changes you made to the wp-config.php file and upload it back to the server, overwriting the original file.
  • Verify the Changes: To confirm that file editing has been disabled, login to your WordPress admin dashboard. Go to “Appearance” > “Editor” or “Plugins” > “Editor.” You should see a message stating that file editing is disabled.

15. Manage File and Folder Permissions

To safeguard your admin account from potential hackers, it’s essential to control user access to your WordPress files and folders. This can be achieved by adjusting permissions for reading, writing, and executing these resources. There are several methods you can employ, such as using your web host’s File Manager, an FTP client, or the command line.

Typically, file and folder permissions come with default settings, which may differ for various files or directories. However, it’s crucial to focus specifically on the “wp-admin” folder and the “wp-config.php” file. To enhance security, ensure that only the Owner has permission to write to these resources.

WordPress security


By following this comprehensive WordPress security checklist, you can ideally enhance the security of your website, safeguarding it against potential threats and attacks. Remember, your website’s security is an ongoing process, so ensure regular reviewing and updation of your security measures to stay ahead of evolving threats. Stay vigilant, and prioritize the WordPress security to provide a safe and seamless experience for your visitors.


Can’t I rely solely on my web hosting provider for my WordPress security?

While choosing a reputable and secure web hosting provider is essential, relying solely on them for security is not recommended. Website security is a shared responsibility between you (the website owner) and the hosting provider. Implementing additional security measures specific to WordPress, such as using strong passwords, updating themes/plugins, and employing security plugins, is crucial to enhance the overall security of your website.

What should I do if my WordPress website gets hacked?

If your WordPress website gets hacked, act swiftly to mitigate the damage. First, take your website offline to prevent further harm. Restore your website from a recent backup, if available, to revert to a clean state. Identify the entry point of the hack and patch any vulnerabilities. Scan your website for malware and suspicious files, and remove them. Once your site is clean and secure, consider strengthening WordPress security measures to prevent future attacks.

Is there a way to monitor user activity on my WordPress website?

Yes, you can monitor user activity on your WordPress website using security plugins. These plugins offer features to track login attempts, failed login attempts, changes to files, and other suspicious activities. By keeping a close watch on user activity, you can quickly detect and respond to potential security threats.

Should I hire a security expert to secure my WordPress website?

If you lack technical expertise or want to ensure comprehensive security, hiring a WordPress security expert is a wise investment. A skilled professional can conduct a thorough security audit, identify vulnerabilities, and implement tailored security measures to fortify your website effectively. Remember, proactive security measures can save you from the costly repercussions of a potential security breach.

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