It is important to start with basic best practices. Hire a developer from a reputable firm rather than a cheap freelance developer, and remain cognizant of small details that end users typically overlook.
Find a Reputable Web Hosting Provider
Hosting vulnerabilities account for a large percentage of hacked WordPress sites. Select a web hosting provider with a good reputation and a good track record. Pay a little extra for a reliable hosting solution instead of immediately selecting the cheapest or most convenient option.
Use Strong Passwords and Change Them as Needed
Approximately 8 percent of hacked WordPress sites were hacked in part due to weak passwords. Additionally, end users should change passwords as necessary. It is recommended that users change passwords after a new developer works on the site or after an employee with access to the site terminates his or her relationship with the company the site is associated with. It is also strongly recommended that different passwords are used for a WordPress site and the email address associated with it. Password creation and management might seem simple, but best practices are easily overlooked.
Use a Unique Username and Hide It in the Author Archive URL
Use a unique username that is not as obvious as “guest” or “admin.” “Admin” was the standard username for WordPress sites until version 3.0 was launched, and many users have kept the username “admin.” Change it by creating a new administrator account and subsequently deleting the original “admin” account. Additionally, hide the username in the URL bar. Hackers can see usernames in URLs from author archive pages due to a default setting on WordPress. Change the user_nicename entry in the wp_users table to hide the real username.
Limit Login Attempts
Limit login attempts to discourage brute-force attacks. It is not a surefire way to discourage attacks, especially when hackers have access to thousands of IP addresses. However, it is a simple measure that can potentially help.
Disable File Editing From the Dashboard
Add the following to the wp-config.php file to disallow file editing directly from the dashboard. Typically, hackers want to find sites that are easy targets. Change the default WordPress setting by adding the following simple code: define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true ); This method is not a fail safe, and it is highly recommended that all users keep archives of WordPress sites regularly. The importance of backups and redundancies cannot be stressed enough. A variety of security plugins can deter certain types of attacks, but an attack can still happen. Additionally, WordPress plugins that schedule automatic archival and backup are available.
The Biggest Source of Vulnerability Is Often the End User
It is alarmingly easy to overlook the obvious. Copycat site WordPress.org and deals that seem too good to be true are easy to find. Invest in WordPress site security by investing in optimal setup and security maintenance. Often, seemingly small or irrelevant vulnerabilities combine to form a WordPress website that has substantial security problems. Take the time to change passwords, backup site data, and install updates. It will almost certainly be more cost-effective than embarking on impromptu damage control initiatives.
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