Top 5 Steps To Prevent Your WordPress Website From Being Hacked

IGNITE® Digital Agency - 05 October 2016

Rumour has it that one of the most popular web platforms in the world is particularly prone to hacking. You asked so we discuss – are WordPress websites more vulnerable to hacking than other platforms? And what can you do to prevent your WordPress website from being hacked?

Current figures suggest that an average of 37,000 websites are hacked every day, so it’s little wonder that businesses are wary when selecting the best platform to build their site.

Hack-attacks threaten your personal information, your users’ personal information and in extreme circumstances, your business’s reputation. But why is there a common misconception that WordPress websites are more susceptible to hackers than those of other platforms?

To put it simply, because WordPress is the most widely used CMS available (and a lot of people don’t bother to maintain it correctly!)

Like any online platform – not just WordPress – if the software is not maintained, it can be vulnerable to an attack. WordPress just tends to get the most bad press, as it is so immensely popular and well-known, currently powering 24% of all websites in the entire world.

The open source nature of WordPress means that its code is made freely available to the public, and thus susceptible to misuse. However, this accessibility is also one of the software’s greatest strengths, as it makes the code easily bolstered and repaired by the global army of WordPress security experts.

Regular updates from WordPress aim to eliminate any vulnerabilities before they become an issue. Security updates are issued almost instantly as soon as any susceptibility is discovered, as opposed to proprietary/licensed content management systems which have a much slower turnaround time for patches and bug-fixes.

WordPress is really no more at risk of being hacked than any of its counterparts.

The following precautions should be a given, but when not followed, they constitute the major reasons why any website is hacked:

1. Use secure hosting with SSL certificates

It’s easy to be persuaded by free or cheap hosting packages, but sometimes their security features leave a lot to be desired. Where your site security is concerned, you should think with your head (not your wallet).

2. Use secure passwords

Much like the inevitable demise of villain Eugene Belford in the 1995 cult classic Hackers, ridiculously conspicuous passwords will be your undoing.

3. Protect your Administrator account

Similarly, don’t use an obvious login or username that could easily be guessed (such as ‘admin’. Duh).

4. If you must install plugins, only install plugins from trusted sources

If something is too good to be true, then it probably is. You may be getting free commercial plugins, but you may also be getting malicious software too. Furthermore, plugins that are forgotten and left to go out-of-date can present an easy opportunity for the modern-day Kevin Mitnick (or a lesser-known cyber criminal!) It’s best to minimise the use of plugins in general.

5. Keep WordPress updated to the latest version

Above all else, the most important measure to protect your website is ensuring that you keep it up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.

New versions of WordPress are promptly released whenever a threat has been identified. Failure to update WordPress (or any platform for that matter) is effectively a red flag to hackers targeting its older versions with known vulnerabilities.

Of course, if all this is just too much for you, engage the professional maintenance services of a website developer. An agency will conduct regular backups of your site and consistently monitor for malware, plus, in the event of a catastrophe, have the ability to contain any threat to your data and ultimately get you back online faster.

For more information about Ignite Online’s WordPress maintenance service or WordPress CMS website solutions, get in touch

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