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How Secure is WordPress: Best Practices for your WordPress Security in 2023

If you’re reading this, that means you already know about WordPress and its open source, which means anyone can create, edit, and distribute plugins and themes on WordPress, which has the best WordPress security.

Truth be told, WordPress users are frequently the targets of the most dangerous cyberattacks, and security data can occasionally be unsettling. The best method to ensure the safety of you, your website, and your users is to remain aware and vigilant about site security.

WordPress comes in first when it comes to the most hacked CMS, with over 95.6%.

Most Hacked CMS - WordPress Security

Every day, more than 30,000 WordPress sites are getting hacked; that means every minute, 9 websites are being hacked, or 390,000 per month and 4.7 million a year. That is more reason to know and apply the security practices to secure your WordPress.

WordPress is not unsafe by default, but it can become vulnerable if you install plugins and themes from third-party sites, especially those that are cracked or free.

So, in today’s article, we’ll explore the best practices for securing your WordPress site.

How Secure is WordPress?

To answer this question, let us first understand how WordPress keeps your site safe and secure.

  1. WordPress keeps your site Encrypted by default; WordPress encrypts (serves over SLL) all sites, including custom ones.
  2. WordPress employs firewalls and has procedures to notify them of unauthorized attempts to get into accounts on
  3. WordPress continually monitors suspicious activities and site traffic. As a further defense against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, WordPress has security mechanisms in firewalls and have systems in place to notify them of unauthorized attempts to log into accounts.
  4. WordPress routinely examines the security testing of services and scans for any weaknesses. Additionally, bug bounty runs a bug bounty program through HackerOne to pay those who discover problems and aid them in enhancing the security of their services.
  5. WordPress systems periodically backup your site data so that WP can restore it in the event of a data loss event (such as a power outage or a natural disaster, for example).

Here is an official guide from WordPress on how to protect your site from attackers. – Keep Your Site Safe and Secure – Support

So, now that you know how WordPress keeps your site secure, let’s go deep into how safe it is.

WordPress is generally regarded as a secure content management system (CMS). However, like any other CMSs, it can be susceptible to attacks if you do not invest in securing your website. It’s an unfortunate reality: WordPress websites are frequently targeted by cyberattacks. In a WordPress security report by Wordfence, a firewall service, thwarted an astounding 18.5 billion password attack attempts on WordPress sites. That’s nearly 20 billion attacks directed at WordPress sites alone.

Blocked Password attack requests

While these figures are concerning, it’s important to note that WordPress powers approximately 43% of the entire internet. Nevertheless, nearly twenty billion attacks remain alarmingly high, even considering WordPress’ significant market share. The discouraging news continues: 8 out of 10 WordPress security vulnerabilities are classified as having a Common Vulnerability Scoring System assigned a “Medium” or “High” severity level.

Reported vulnerabilities by security

However, it’s essential to recognize that these statistics are not the fault of WordPress itself, or at least not the fault of the WordPress product. As a responsible user, there are actions you can take to enhance WordPress security. WordPress maintains a substantial security team comprising world-class researchers and engineers who proactively seek out system vulnerabilities, ensuring they are addressed before hackers exploit them. 

The security team also consistently releases security updates for their software. When it comes to the WordPress core, security is a top priority.

The vulnerability of WordPress websites to potential threats is primarily rooted in how WordPress is made accessible to users. WordPress is open-source software, and this implies that anybody can share and change it because of the openness of its source code. While open-source software offers numerous advantages, such as accessibility, customization options, and optimization possibilities, it also comes with inherent risks. Consequently, thousands of developers have created themes and plugins that greatly enhance the platform’s functionality. WordPress’s flexibility is a defining feature and a key reason for its widespread popularity. Nevertheless, the freedom that open-source software provides does come with certain trade-offs.

TLDR: WordPress is a well-liked CMS, but it is also susceptible to online attacks—but only if its users take security seriously and adhere to standard practices.

Best Practices to Secure your WordPress Site

Securing your WordPress website is crucial, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for it. While some plugins may promise complete protection, it’s wise not to rely solely on a single tool. This section will comprehensively cover the essential WordPress security measures that you ought to think about putting into practice to protect your website.

Keep WordPress Up to Date

The foremost step in WordPress security is to keep all its components up to date. This includes the WordPress core software, as well as any installed plugins and themes. WordPress makes this process straightforward by notifying you of pending updates when you access the Dashboard. 

By heading to the Dashboard > Updates page, you can also see the updates that are available.

You have the option of manually managing WordPress updates, which involves checking the Dashboard regularly and applying updates with just a few clicks. Alternatively, you can enable automatic updates for the CMS itself, plugins, and themes. While automatic updates can be convenient, be cautious, as new versions of plugins and themes may occasionally cause compatibility issues. However, this is a rare occurrence when using well-maintained plugins and themes.

Use a Secure Web Host

The choice of web host plays a significant role in your site’s security. Managed WordPress hosting tends to offer superior security features, including:

  • Automated backups for easy restoration after a security breach.
  • Automatic Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate setup to enable HTTPS encryption.
  • Malware detection and removal services are provided by the hosting provider.
  • Automatic WordPress core updates to reduce the risk of security breaches due to outdated software.

Non-managed hosting plans, like reseller hosting, can also be secure, but they often require a more hands-on approach to secure your site. Dedicated hosting is not inherently insecure, but the responsibility for security typically rests on your shoulders.

Enforce the Use of Strong Passwords

Encouraging users to follow best practices for password security is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent security breaches. Here are some guidelines to emphasize:

  • Use a unique password for each account.
  • Avoid easily guessable passwords.
  • To create and securely store complicated passwords, use a password manager.
  • Emphasize that you will never request anyone’s password or access to their account.
  • Consider using a password policy manager plugin to enforce strong password standards for all users on your website.

While enforcing password policies may face resistance from some users, WordPress already prompts users to create secure passwords by default. Additionally, WordPress makes it user-friendly to reset forgotten passwords.

Ensuring Your PHP Version is Up to Date

Updating PHP to the newest release is a pivotal step in bolstering WordPress security. It ranks among the most crucial actions you can take. WordPress security keeps you informed about available upgrades right on your Dashboard, so be vigilant for notifications. 

When an upgrade is ready, you will receive a prompt to visit your hosting account and initiate the update to the latest PHP version. In case you lack access to your hosting account, reaching out to your web developer is advisable. They can assist you in ensuring your PHP version is up to date, thereby enhancing the your WordPress security website.

Disabling File Editing in the WordPress Dashboard

WordPress, by default, allows administrators to edit their files directly through the code editor. However, if someone uses your account without your consent, this function might be a security issue. To mitigate this risk, you can disable file editing yourself. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Use FTP or a file manager offered by your hosting company to access the files on your WordPress website.
  2. Locate the `wp-config.php` file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  3. Editing the ‘wp-config.php’ file is possible. You may use a code editor or a basic text editor like Notepad.
  4. Add the following code snippet to the end of the `wp-config.php` file:

   // This disallow file edits 

   define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );

  1. If required, upload the “wp-config.php” file back to your server after saving the modifications.

Including this code in your ‘wp-config.php’ file, you may effectively prevent users from editing files from the WordPress Dashboard. In the event of unauthorized access, this additional security measure helps guard against potential file manipulation on your website.

Whitelist IP Addresses for Dashboard Access

For added security beyond strong passwords, you can whitelist specific IP addresses that are allowed to access the WordPress Dashboard. Users with IP addresses not on the whitelist won’t be able to access the WordPress admin area. However, keep in mind that you and anyone else working on your site will need static IP addresses to avoid being locked out. 

Use WordPress Security Plugins and Suites

Numerous WordPress security plugins can enhance your website’s protection. These plugins offer various features, including:

  • Checking for changes in files.
  • Allowing access to security logs.
  • The login page’s use of captcha and two-factor authentication (2fa).
  • Limiting the amount of login tries inside a certain time frame.
  • Blocking known harmful ip addresses.

It’s important to note that while WordPress security plugins can significantly improve your website’s security, they are not standalone solutions. Even if you opt for a highly rated security plugin like WordFence or Sucuri, it’s still advisable to follow other best practices for safeguarding your site.

By implementing these WordPress security measures comprehensively, you can significantly enhance the protection of your website against potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Implementing Additional Security Measures

In addition to the fundamental practices mentioned above, you can further bolster your WordPress security by implementing these advanced security measures:

Web Application Firewall (WAF) Prior to reaching your WordPress site, a WAF acts as a security measure by filtering incoming traffic and blocking dangerous requests. Sucuri and Cloudflare are two well-liked WAF options.

Security Plugins – WordPress has a number of security plugins, including Wordfence and Sucuri Security. These plugins offer features like malware scanning, firewall protection, and login attempt monitoring.

Regular Security Audits – Conducting regular security audits helps identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your WordPress site’s security. You can use tools like WPScan or hire professionals to perform comprehensive audits. 

Content Security Policy (CSP) – Implementing CSP headers in your website’s headers can mitigate the risks of cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. A well-configured CSP specifies which domains are allowed to load resources on your site.

Final Say

Securing your WordPress security website requires a combination of essential practices and advanced measures. Regular updates, strong authentication, backups, and access control form the foundation of your security strategy. Implementing additional security measures like a WAF, security plugins, and CSP can further fortify your defenses. By following these best practices, you can safeguard your WordPress site against the ever-evolving threat landscape and ensure a safe and reliable online presence for your audience.

Remember that security is an ongoing process, and staying vigilant is key to keeping your WordPress site secure in the years to come.

FAQ on WordPress security

Is it necessary to update WordPress and plugins manually if automatic updates are enabled?

Automatic updates cover minor releases and security updates. However, major releases may require manual intervention to ensure compatibility with your theme and plugins. Always review release notes before updating.

Can I use the same password for all my WordPress sites?

No, it’s not recommended. Using unique, strong passwords for each site is crucial. If one site’s password is compromised, it won’t jeopardize the security of your other sites.

What should I do if my WordPress site is hacked?

If your site is hacked, take it offline immediately to prevent further damage. Restore a clean backup, identify the vulnerability, and patch it. Consider seeking professional assistance if needed.

Are free security plugins as effective as premium ones?

Free security plugins offer basic protection, but premium plugins often provide more advanced features and better support. The choice depends on your specific security needs and budget.

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