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Don't Do These Security Mistakes That Put a WordPress Website at Risk

Alekh Verma | February 8, 2023

The year 2013 had witnessed a dramatic scene when WordPress security was a hot concern due to constant cyber-attacks.

A security firm Enable Security discovered WordPress sites among the top one million Alexa websites and what they found was surprising- there were 73.2 percent of WordPress sites that were highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

These WordPress sites were vulnerable due to common mistakes that usually site owners or developers ignore during the development stage.

And if you have a website built on WordPress CMS, you must want to avoid all security mistakes and protect your website.

But unfortunately, human is inevitable with mistakes. Many site owners and developers do some serious errors that leave their websites exposed and vulnerable to cyber threats.

In the current digital age where data security is a hot concern of everyone, you must want to be aware of the security mistakes that are usually ignored or often missed by developers.

In this article, eSearch Logix will share with you the critical security mistakes that put your WordPress website at risk. If you detect these mistakes in the early stage no hacker or any cyber-attack can harm your site.

Latest Data That Shows Why WordPress is a Top Spot of Cyber attacks

WordPress is the most used and popular CMS in the world having over 28 million live websites. WordPress holds around 34 percent of the top one million websites on the Internet. As a result, it becomes the top shot of hackers and cyber attacks.

There have been various attacks happened in the past few years on websites. Here are the recent statistics of WordPress security to give you an idea:

  1. “73.2% of the most popular WordPress installations are vulnerable to vulnerabilities which can be detected using free automated tools.” – com
  2. “The four most common WordPress malware infections are Backdoors, Drive-by downloads, Pharma hacks, and Malicious redirects.” – Smashing Magazine
  3. “Only 39% of WordPress websites are running the most current version of the software (4.8).” – WordPress
  4. “81% of attacks are based on insecure or stolen passwords, being the main tactic used.” – Panda Security

Top Website Development Company in USA suggests that most WordPress security vulnerabilities arise due to lack of negligence in security and lack of update. It means if you are aware of the mistakes which happen during the WordPress development, it can save your site from most cyber threats.

Common Security Mistakes That Put a WordPress Site at Risk

#1: Poor Web Hosting Solution

Often, most site owners choose a web hosting provider based on the price factor and compromise with the low standard security features that web host has. This is where they make mistakes. Choosing a low standard or poor web hosting solution can save your money but create security issues and put the website at risk.

It is not necessary that hackers always attack your site; they may target the web host or server where websites are being hosted. In this case, even one compromised website can bring down all the websites on the same host. Hence, it is critical to choose a secure web host and ensure the server has robust security features.

While you select a web host for your WordPress website, ensure-

  1. Does the host give access logging?
  2. Do they have a dedicated IP address?
  3. Will your account be appropriately isolated?
  4. Does the host have a dedicated IP address?
  5. Does the host offer SSH/SFTP/FTPS?
  6. Does the host allow you to install an SSL/TLS certificate?

The proper solution to host your WordPress site would be to use cloud VPS hosting. It gives wide security functionality and a secure environment with updates, backups, and safeguard configurations.

#2: Insecure Login Page

The login page is the entrance to your website. It is the sensitive place where hackers or threats hit. They can enter your website by breaking the doors of your login page. It happens because of using weak username and password that can be guessed based on your previous log in details.

Hackers can use automated scripts to break into the admin room and steal the sensitive data of your site. Here, you should secure the login page to stop unauthorized access from the admin area by adopting two-factor authentication and a strong Firewall.

#3: Not Enforcing SSL/TLS Certificate on Website

SSL/TLS certificates encrypt the traffic between the clients and web host server, and ensure the client or user is communicating with the correct server which owns the domain.

Many WordPress site owners consider firewalls and anti-virus protection sufficient for their website and consequently they don’t feel the need to use SSL security. This is one of the most common WordPress development mistakes.

TLS/SSL certificate provides security to the website and protects it from unreliable sources of communications.   When there is no SSL security enabled, it makes the site vulnerable and opens the gate for cyber-attacks. 

#4: Use of Insecure WordPress Themes and Plugins

Choosing the correct WordPress theme and plugin matters a lot in security. There are a large number of insecure and poorly coded WordPress themes and plugins available which can give an easy route for the entry of malicious software or malware injection.

Especially free WordPress Themes and plugins have higher chances of poor coding and vulnerabilities. These weaknesses open the pathway for external threats to the site. Many business owners use free themes and plugins and comprise their website security. They often change the original website theme developed by the Web developer.

Using insecure and poorly coded WordPress themes and plugins put websites at danger because all these are vulnerable to malicious JavaScript, bugs, etc., that can potentially damage your WordPress site.

#5: Weak Passwords

Weak passwords are the most common mistake. It is not easy to crack the website lock that is why hackers look for passwords by any means to get into the site.

And the common reason for weak passwords is site owners use the same password everywhere. According to a Google survey, 52 percent of the users reuse their passwords for their different accounts. As per Verizon Data Breach Incident Report, compromised passwords are accountable for 81 percent of the security breaches. 

Modern hackers use dictionary attacks for breaking the password of WordPress websites which indicates how dangerous is to use the already used passwords. So you should avoid using weak passwords and take it very seriously.

#6: Not Updating WordPress

Are you using the latest version of WordPress? Many site owners often ignore the importance of WordPress updates due to laziness or forgetfulness. This is another common mistake found in WordPress security.

WordPress gives mainly two types of updates: major updates and minor updates. In both cases, it is necessary to implement the updates. Websites which use outdated WordPress version is more vulnerable to security breach than weak password.

At the same time, you should not miss updating plugins and themes to avoid any open doors for unauthorized access. The only drawback of updating WordPress is that sometimes it may cause conflicts with plugins and web design. But these conflicts can be adjusted easily without any technical issues.

#7: Weak wp-config.php file

wp-config.php file is an important part of a WordPress site. It contains sensitive information about your WordPress configuration, details of the database, security keys of encrypted data, and installation. All this information is confidential and if it gets into the wrong hands, it could damage WordPress security seriously.

Sometimes top WordPress developers often forget or don't implement strong security measures to secure the wp-config.php file. To avoid this mistake, you can move the wp-config.php file to an unpredictable directory and create new WordPress security keys to access them.

#8: Not Using a Solid Firewall

Firewall works as a gateway that checks requests given by users to decide what is allowed and what is not. Developers generally use a firewall in the WordPress site, but they tend to use low-quality or free firewall due to cost. These Firewalls don't have solid WordPress security features to secure the site from external cyber threats.

As WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) where numerous web designers and developers are constantly contributing to the WordPress theme & plugin development, it makes a website highly vulnerable if there is no strong firewall enabled into the website.

Using premium Firewalls can protect your site from various types of external threats. But site owners don't pay attention to its importance and tend to use free Firewalls and comprise with the site security.

The Bottom Line

Security is the most sensitive area where you should high pay attention. Whether it is insecure login, unsafe web hosting, unreliable plugins & themes, weak password, or firewalls, WordPress security mistakes can lead to great damage to your site.

Also keep in mind that applying firewalls and robust security features to your WordPress site won’t guarantee 100% security, you need to stay one step ahead of hackers if you want to avoid any WordPress security breach.

But to err is human, and modern hackers are also tech-savvy and possess high coding intelligence, you may need assistance from an experienced team to keep your site safe and sound. And eSearch Logix is a professional WordPress developer who can assist you to make a fast and fully secured WordPress website.

Book a Free Consultation Now and Discuss Your WordPress Project

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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