WordPress security issues that website owners should be aware of and steps to avoid vulnerabilities.
Why does WordPress have security issues?
It’s a wonderful tool to enable the set up of an affordable CMS website.
CMS stands for Content Management System, which means that the client can manage content.
Using WordPress, the web developer can take control of design, structure and layout and pages are easily accessible so the client can update in-house.
WordPress is arguably the most popular CMS website builder; making up 25% of the internet today.
Why? Because it has so much functionality, created on a public network. It is free and a WordPress website designer will be able to customise it. Used correctly it is also search engine friendly.
The Open-Source software is available to everyone across the globe. Every time a version is released it’s easily accessible – anyone can examine the source code.
Curious hackers set to work finding holes which allow them to take a site down, make it act oddly, send a message or host illicit content.
The longer a WordPress version has been available, the more often, and more easily, it is tapped into.
Why would someone want to hack my website?
For fun, to prove a point, as an experiment, to learn something, get a message across or more seriously, to steal data.
Hackers are real people developing programs which look for security holes within out-of-date WordPress installs.
Not all hackers are malicious. Often “hackers” are reporters of security issues and vulnerabilities. White hat hackers are good news for technology.
However, black hat hackers are not such good news for your WordPress website.
Issues and vulnerabilities
Open-Source software is a positive thing – the source code is available for examination from the WordPress community too.
Issues and vulnerabilities are found and fixed much quicker than with traditional software.
That is why there are so many ongoing releases of WordPress.
Hackers find holes, the WordPress community fights back.
Is WordPress safe?
Yes. It is safe when you keep your WordPress core, themes and plugins up-to-date. There are extra steps you should take to keep a website secure.
WordPress security updates
To lessen the chance of a hack, WordPress core, WordPress plugins and themes must be kept up-to-date. The more up to date the version, the less chance a hacker has.
I encourage any WordPress website owner to keep the WordPress install up to date. Use trusted plugins and themes that are checked for security and keep these up to date too.
Before updating back up the database, just in case there are conflicts. A website can be completely restored from a database backup.
Steps to secure WordPress
- Use obscure admin names.
- Enforce strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Hide the back end.
- Install an SSL certificate to make sure that communication between user and browser is secure.
- Change database table prefix.
Website owners fend off many attacks by installing a WordPress security plugin like:
These take the necessary steps to keep the site secure and free from attack.
Use an automatic backup system so that you can reinstate the website quickly and easily if you do come under attack.
Of course, a website is never 100% protected against attacks, but it can be 99%.
I offer regular WordPress updates and maintenance to keep websites secure.