If you are working on a WordPress website or wordpress.org in any way then you should realize that there are a few obvious and not-so-obvious security issues that need to be addressed. Here are some solid tips to boost your WordPress security.
You need to begin by analyzing the hosting company and servers that host your website. In case any website on that server is hacked then your WordPress site too may get compromised. One hosting company that offers a secure server is WPEngine.com. This service provider has tied up with Sucuri Security to provide high levels of security and in case your website does get hacked, they will resolve the issue for free.
You must keep in mind that you must have a server-level firewall in case you host your site on any server including your own. In addition, you must access your server only from a secure network and allow only specific personnel to do the same.
Your MySQL too should be very secure and in case you require to FTP in then you must use SFTP through a trusted program such as FileZilla. You must also use hard-to-crack passwords and take regular backup of your database and all related files regularly, especially before making major changes.
Another useful tip that involves using your developer and his/her programming skills is to make changes to your .htaccess file. You must make these changes only after installing WordPress.
You can ask your developer to write code to turn off your server signature. This move will provide less information about your server, which will make it harder for any hacker to hack into your system. You can also use 301 redirects to redirect suspicious strings back towards a canonical URL. In addition, you or your developer can insert codes to stop bots that do not have any user agents from striking your website. Another short code can ensure that your website does not suffer from SQL injection, which is another common tactic used by hackers.
A good developer can also create coding to allow your login page to be accessed only from specified IP addresses while blocking access from all IPs not mentioned in the code. You only need to modify the “allow from” lines to insert the desired IPs. You can also use paid tools such as ProxyBonanza to do the same.
You must also block access to all sensitive files that only you and your trusted team need to access. A well-written code will help block access from browsers while only allowing specific users to access those files. If you notice specific IPs trying to hack your files then you can use the “deny from” coding to stop those specific IPs from getting access.
You can also use advanced techniques to modify your .htaccess file to block access from specific countries, specific languages, etc., for further security. Once your host and server issues are solved, then you need to ensure that your WordPress installation too is as secure as possible.
You must ensure that your WP install is done through a very secure FTP (SFTP). You must use different and complex passwords for your WordPress admin, FTP, database, etc. Please avoid using admin, qwerty12345, administration, or other such passwords that can be hacked by an amateur hacker or script kiddie.
The theme or plugin that you choose for your WordPress site should also be from a trusted source or from WordPress itself. Anyway, a security check on the chosen theme or plugin is a good idea before you implement it.
A few free and paid plugins that can be trusted and can really help protect your site are Limit Login Attempts, Akismet, Better WP Security, Sucuri Security, CloudFlare, Stealth Login Page, CodeGuard, Google Authenticator, and of course, WordPress SEO by Yoast.
You must also ensure that you regularly update your themes, plugins, and WordPress since most updates also feature better security. Finally, you also need to modify your robots.txt file to restrict the amount of information that you wish to give out and block access to undesired viewers.
On a personal level, you must ensure that each and every pc or laptop at your workplace and home is guarded by an aggressive antivirus and firewall combination. All hardware and software programs must be kept at secure locations, and all drivers and software programs should sport the latest updates.
In addition, you must make sure that your emails as well as all smartphones with internet access are protected since hackers will certainly try to gain access to your passwords and WordPress data through such actions too. Your mobile phones must be protected with complex passwords and must have a remote erase feature to clear all data from a lost phone.
On the WordPress front, you must make sure to keep your WordPress and all plugins updated at all times. You must continuously monitor all your server log files and track WP access as well as look out for changes made to any file by using plugins like Simple Login Log and CodeGuard. Finally, remember to change your passwords at regular intervals with complex ones.
The above tips will definitely help you boost your WordPress security and make it very difficult for hackers to gain access to your invaluable data.