How do you keep your WordPress blog safe? Here are some important steps to take to keep your WordPress blog safe & keep your reputation well.
Becoming a successful blogger is the aspiration of millions of people globally. WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS), and many new bloggers opt for it immediately – it’s easy to use, has great navigation and is super intuitive.
WordPress popularity comes with some unpopular issues too – hackers will try to exploit its vulnerabilities. A successful blog is often a favored target for hackers. If they gain access, they can alter posts to discredit you, delete your data, or change links to redirect your visitors to phishing or other scam sites. They may embed malware that infects the devices of your loyal followers.
All of this can ruin your reputation, and once this happens, it can be difficult or impossible to recapture the following you lost. How do you keep your WordPress blog safe from such issues? Here are some important steps to take.
I’ve been using Cloudways since January 2016 for this blog. I happily recommend Cloudways to my readers because I am a proud customer.
1. Invest in High-Quality Hosting and Secure Your Site
It’s worth paying a little more for a hosting plan with better security. Before you sign on with a web host, look into what kind of security options they provide, especially if you plan to install an e-commerce platform too, or if you wish to sell ad space, including affiliate links that pay you a percentage of sales. When it comes to payment processors, always choose those who have a good reputation and strong security features in place.
If you take payment information such as credit card numbers from customers, or any kind of personal information, they want to know your site is secure. Consider installing an SSL Certificate which includes a recognized seal appearing at the top of your page. Visitors can see at once that they’re on a protected site.
Finally, if you’re already using a hosting company but have reservations about it, you can always move your site to another. Go for a hosting provider who supports moving your existing website, and can assist you with the process. If or when you can afford it, you’ll also find much better security with a virtual private server (VPS) vs cheaper shared hosting options.
2. Update WordPress Regularly
Be proactive and when a new version of WordPress becomes available. New versions have improved security features and take care of any security issues the older version had.
So, when you log in to your WordPress and see that a new version was released, install it to your blog as soon as possible. This takes a little more effort, but it’s reassuring to know that your site is as safe as it can be.
3. Secure Your Login Details
Making sure your login information is airtight will help keep intruders out too. This goes not only for you, but your subscribers, helpers, or contributors too – anyone with a unique login.
- Always change the default username and passwords that your hosting company provides when you first sign up.
- Using simple passwords because they’re easy to remember is asking for trouble. Even stronger passwords should be changed periodically, perhaps every two months. Your password should be:
- At least 8 characters, but longer is better.
- Preferably a random string of symbols, lower and uppercase letters, and digits.
- Hard to guess – don’t use any personal info like your birthday or child’s name. Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Secret – if you must write down passwords, keep the list locked away until you need it. Alternately, record them in a password-protected text file on your computer, so you only have the one password to remember. You can also purchase secure password management applications.
- Use Secure Connections – Don’t risk public Wi-Fi to log in to your blog’s Control Panel or WordPress admin page. An increasing number of businesses, such as laundromats, restaurants, and boutiques, offer public Wi-fi access as a convenience to their customers. But since it’s open access, cyber-criminals can also log in and prowl for promising victims.
4. Only Use WordPress-Approved Plugins
WP programmers release a steady stream of plugins that will enhance the functionality of your blog. You can go for plugins that will help you with your blog’s SEO, or those that make social sharing a breeze. You will also find a host of security plugins that will actively scan for malware, or have additional firewalls to keep intruders out. As with all other plugins, some are free, while others are only available as paid options. Luckily, most have a free trial period so you can test them before you commit.
When you do find the right plugin, install any upgrades as they become available. Often these will include new security features, such as countermeasures to the latest threats. This is true of all types of plugins, not just those related to site security.
Use only plugins that are approved by WordPress. You’ll find them in the WP repository. Avoid downloading them from any other third-party source, as such plugins are risky.
Seeking out advice from other bloggers is always a smart move before you commit to anything. Look for feedback on any particular plugin so you understand how well it works and how difficult it might be to install, configure, and maintain. That could save you from inadvertently making some risky errors of your own.
5. Ensure Security for Remote Team Members
If you have contributors who can also log in to your blog, make sure they are familiar with security threats so you minimize all cyber security risks. Keep your team members informed of any problems you might suspect with your blog or hosting. Be sure to let them know you’re taking care of the issue. You might also consider adding an FAQ or similar resource to explain security tips or issues.
If you’re also dealing with visitors from the EU, make sure your blog is GDPR compliant. While many websites post a privacy statement regarding what information they get from users, how that information is used, and how it’s protected, this is not enough anymore. You have to give your users the ability to opt out of information gathering too. It helps to build trust and avoid misunderstandings.