Managing a WordPress site is no small feat. Website owners have to stay up to date with the latest vulnerabilities that can attack a website. WordPress is a highly targeted system according to Sucuri, a well-respected website security firm. There are a lot of best practices for managing a WordPress site, that can help prevent individuals from accessing the website. What are these and how can a business implement these best practices? We will discuss three baseline best practices and what you need to do in order to keep your website safe and up to today’s security standards.
1. Keep Plugins Updated
The first golden rule is to keep all plugins up to date. An approach we take with customers is to have two separate websites, one will be the public facing website and the other will be the development website. Why do we incorporate two different websites? Simple, all change requests are made on the development server in order for the customer to view. We can test if a WordPress plugin breaks the site on an update or causes other components to dysfunction. Once the customer and developer have deemed all components on the site work as expected, we can move on to the quality assurance and review phase. From here, the customer will review the website, with all of the plugin updates, and verify all components are in perfect harmony. Performing the plugin updates on the beta website can be an excellent method to verify all content on the website is displayed correctly, forms are working accordingly, and no issues are occurring after the plugin update. Keeping the plugins up to date is a great WordPress management tip, which helps prevent possible attacks through an outdated plugin. There have been vulnerabilities found within plugins that have been reported throughout the WordPress community. As soon as a plugin update is available, make sure you do so. Maintain all plugins to ensure your website is secured the highest level.
Bonus Tip: Not only is keeping WordPress plugins updated necessary, the same goes for WordPress themes and the WordPress core system.
2. Install A Backup Solution
Backups, backups, backups. How many times have you heard to backup your data? If you have been working with computers the one tip most professionals continuously communicate is back up your data. Same goes for a WordPress website. Backup is an essential component of a website and without a proper plan in place, the day a website crashes can cause a five alarm fire for all parties involved. With the proper tools and services implemented into the website, an effective backup solution will help alleviate any data lost on the website. A plugin we highly recommend for customers is VaultPress. Excellent plugin for backing up and restoring website data. Learn more about VaultPress in a previous blog post we discussed the plugin in more detail. To put it simply, VaultPress is a simple click of a button and the previous day’s site will be populate on the existing site. It really is that simple. Unfortunately, there are many different vulnerabilities found on a weekly, if not daily, basis that have yet to be discovered or announced to the public. The saying goes, better to be safe than sorry, and with backups this is absolutely true. If you are looking for a free alternative, UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration is an efficient alternative for a free plugin.
Bonus Tip: A backup solution can help with making sure the site is backed up on scheduled basis and saved to services like Dropbox or Amazon Storage services.
3. Secure Logins
Malicious hackers look for are weak security logins and virtual back doors that remain open. A tip is have long passwords, more than 12 characters, mixed with numbers, letters, an special characters. This makes the hackers job more frustrating into attempting to gain access to your website. There are many ways of preventing hackers from gaining access to the WordPress back end, but we will discuss one of our favorite methods. Implementing two-step verification is a great way to deter hackers. The benefit of two-step verification comes from the name, there are two-steps required in order to log into the WordPress dashboard. The WordPress admins or users types in the password associated with the WordPress site, which is followed by a code that is texted to the mobile device attached to the user’s profile. Six Revisions has an in-depth explanation on how to setup two-step verification. The main purpose of two-step verification is to prevent anonymous individuals from successfully guessing the password to the WordPress site or using brute force to log in. Even though the process is an extra 20 seconds, having the piece of mind knowing there is an additional step that prevents access from strangers will help WordPress admins and website owners sleep well at night.
Bonus Tip: We touched on having a complex password. Be sure to incorporate a 12 characters or more password with a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Keep all plugins updated and then test with the copy of the website known as a development or beta site.
- Implement a backup solution to protect website data. This will come in handy when the time comes, hopefully never though.
- Two-step login verification is another method to deter hackers from gaining access to the website.
We’d love to hear what other WordPress individuals like to use when managing a WordPress site. Let’s have a discussion in the comments section below!