WordPress makes publishing blog posts easy, but is it safe to use? Absolutely — as long as you make WordPress security a priority.
WordPress is open-source software, meaning there is no secret code. Anyone with a little programming knowledge can easily hack into a basic WordPress site if its owner has not taken proper precautions.
That’s where you come in. Those who take the time to read up on WordPress security and apply what they’ve learned can confidently and safely use what is arguably the most popular online content publishing platform today.
Start With An SSL
Security for WordPress websites begins with a secure hosting platform. You’ll want to choose a hosting company where you can install an SSL Certificate so you can lock out unwanted visitors.
An SSL certificate provides security by creating an encrypted connection between your website and guests. In other words, information cannot be intercepted during transmission, preventing malicious code from attaching itself to uploads and tagging along for the ride. A good example is GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting, where installing an SSL for WordPress has never been easier.
Research Theme Reviews
All WordPress themes are not created equally. Many are designed by professionals. Just as many are built by developers who simply do not have the experience to include security measures — or make sure they are kept up to date with the latest patches. Another segment includes themes deliberately built with infected code designed to harm you or your online guests. They generally appear exactly the same to the naked eye. How’s a non-techie to tell the difference?
That’s where reviews come in. A good rule of thumb is to skip being the first to try a new theme. Choose a theme that has a strong reputation for success. Look for clues by checking to see when it was last updated. If it has been a while, and the reviews appear out of date as well, move along. It’s not worth the risk to try an unknown theme just because the price is right. After all, free isn’t really free if your site gets hijacked.
Plugins are essential to make WordPress everything it can be. Do your due diligence to be sure all plugins come from trusted sources.
Avoid ‘Admin’ Username
You’re the admin, so your username should reflect it, right? Actually, no.
If you were writing a code designed to break into someone’s website, you’d want to start with the most likely suspect. With WordPress, you guessed it — “Admin” is the default. Change it. Make it anything. Just don’t use admin. If you’ve already gone this route, it’s not too late. Your WordPress admin username can be changed.
Select A Strong Password
Once again, do not use ‘password’ as your password, or ‘pass123’ or…well, you get the idea. Creating a strong password can mean the difference between having a WordPress website as secure as if it were protected by a deadbolt lock or as vulnerable as if nothing stands between it and hackers than a lock that can be popped with a paperclip or hairpin.
Go with the deadbolt. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters. Include a number and symbol. Mix up the order and use as many characters as allowed.
Use Due Diligence With Plugins
Plugins are essential to make WordPress everything it can be. They add functionality by making it easy to add contact forms, shopping carts or track activity on your site.
While some plugins can leave you vulnerable, others help lockdown your site from potential data leaks. Do your due diligence to be sure all plugins come from trusted sources. You might consider adding an anti-spam plugin, for example, to reduce the risk of guests posting untrusted links on your comment pages or new user registrations from nasty bots.
Even WordPress Plugins from reputable sources require routine maintenance to keep your WordPress website secure. Passwords need to be strong. Old, unused plugins should be deleted. And, always, always, always keep your plugins up to date.
Keep your plugins & WordPress current. Think updates are too time-consuming? There's a solution for that.
Be Current To The Core
A current theme with current plugins isn’t going to do much for security if your core WordPress installation is out of date.
First, identify which version of WordPress you are using. Then check to see if it is the most current stable release. If not, install the newer version. It’s free, and worth the effort. (Psst…if regularly updating WordPress versions isn’t your thing, you might consider choosing a WordPress solution that takes care of it for you.)
Blog, Blog, Blog
By taking these simple steps to keep your WordPress site secure, you can blog away without worrying about anything more than your next caffeine break. So get to it. The world is waiting to hear from you.