More than 455 million websites are using WordPress as a CMS and it is certainly the most widely used CMS in the world. The kind of popularity that WordPress has also makes it the most targeted platform by hackers. This makes WordPress sites vulnerable to security issues which have become a major concern for website owners. The kind of online environment that we have today makes it imperative for website owners to consider website security seriously. This post will discuss some major WordPress security issues that will not only enhance your site’s productivity but will help you develop trust among your customers along with a robust brand value.
Why Does Website Security Matter?
Any kind of intrusion into your business website may result in serious damage to both data and the credibility of your brand. Hackers can steal sensitive data from your site and may also send malware to users. Not only your existing customers but you will lose the opportunity to grab new visitors to your WordPress site. The worst situation may be that you end up paying ransomware to gain access to your site.
Besides this, Google also keeps a constant eye on websites with vulnerable security issues and this has a direct impact on your website’s ranking in SERPs. Google blacklists over 10000 websites every day labeling them unsafe.
WordPress Security Issues Along with Solutions
You must have understood why website security keeps immense importance for any business owner to ensure brand value and increased conversions for websites. Now let’s discuss some major WordPress security issues and ways to eliminate them.
Brute Force Attacks
It’s a common practice for hackers to gain unauthorized access to a website by trying a series of usernames and passwords on a trial & error basis. According to HelpNetSecurity, there was a rapid increase in the number of brute force attacks in the year 2021. It rose from 55 billion in T2 (2021) to 206 billion in T3 (2021), which was an increase of 274% in the same year.
Malware-A serious Threat to Daily Operations
To put it in simple words, malware is malicious software that comes in the form of a file or a code and infects the performance of your website. Once your website gets infected by malware, hackers can gain access to your website and steal sensitive information from it. Hackers gain complete control over your website to manipulate it according to their objectives. According to Purplesec, there was a 350% increase in ransomware attacks since 2018. Botnets, ransomware, and spyware are some most common types of malware that are often reported by website owners who don’t take website security seriously.
The best way to stay away from such security threats is to consider a regular and reputed website maintenance service that constantly monitors your website’s performance and anticipates possible security threats before they cause serious damage to your website’s data and functionality. You can also consider using “security check” in your Manage WP Dashboard. It allows you to scan for possible security threats. The service effectively flags site errors and outdated versions to help you act on time and fix the issue immediately.
Cross-Site Scripting CSS
CSS is too diverse in its kinds and the measures to prevent it depend on the kind of CSS with which your WordPress site is affected. However, some basic strategic principles will help your website to stay from CSS attacks. First of all, be active and aware regarding the type of user input your website gets, and never trust an input that seems to be a part of HTML output. WordPress developers generally use encoding techniques depending on the usage of user inputs.
Outdated WordPress Version
As mentioned above, WordPress is used by over 455 million websites around the globe and only half of them use its latest version. According to W3Tech, WordPress 6 is used by 54.4% of total websites which use WordPress as a CMS.
Each WordPress release comes with updated security features allowing WordPress site owners to comply with the latest and advanced security standards for their websites. Hence, updating your website with the latest version will help you stay away from some common WordPress security issues that trouble you the most.
Besides switching to the latest WordPress version, you must also consider updating your plugins and themes regularly as outdated plugins are more prone to security vulnerabilities and are often targeted by hackers. Web developers also follow the WordPress release cycle and keep releasing plugin updates for various extensions. Enable “automatic update” for plugins and themes and limit the number of plugins for your WordPress site. The more plugins and themes you use for your site, the greater the risk of your website getting infected with malware.
Structured Query Language (SQL) Injections
It’s a programming language that allows communication among different databases. A WordPress website uses a MySQL database and the chance to get infected with SQL injection increases when hackers gain unauthorized access to your database. This may prove to be a great disaster for your site as hackers can make desired changes in your site’s database.
To avoid this security issue, you must put restrictions on your form submissions as hackers usually enter from this. In addition to this, you can also add a captcha to put an extra layer of security on your website. Using a security plugin like Wordfence may also prove to be a prudent step here.
All your SEO practices may prove futile if your WordPress website gets infected by SEO spam. Top-ranked websites are the most targeted websites by hackers. They often target top-ranked web pages and infect them with spammy keywords. It’s somehow similar to SQL injections that direct a user to a malicious website.
One of the best security measures for such an issue is conducting regular scans for malware and using security plugins like Sucuri and Wordfence. You can also get to know about such spam if you monitor your analytics seriously and with due attention. It will highlight any sudden spike in your website’s traffic or ranking so that you can immediately come to know about the issue and resolve and procure necessary measures for it.
Unsecure Web Hosting Service
However, this isn’t a WordPress security issue but website security certainly begins with a safe and reliable web hosting service. Data breaches have become much more pervasive across the globe. Hackers keep exploring the slightest dimness in web hosts’ security systems to exploit their websites on them. Free hosting accounts are always an easy target for hackers due to the minimum-security measures adopted by web hosts. Hence, it is always advised to steer clear of free hosting accounts and always discuss security responsibilities with your web hosting service provider.
WordPress site owners must go for a managed WordPress hosting provider as these services use robust and industry-proven security processes. Moreover, they have an effective disaster recovery strategy that comes in very handy if your website faces any security-related issue.
Switching to managed cloud hosting services can also prove to be a smart decision as the cloud offers a much-secured network offering high scalability. It is much more cost-effective also due to which businesses, irrespective of their size, are opting for cloud service for better and enhanced web security.
Never Show Your Default WordPress Version
WordPress by default adds the current version number to the publicly visible header of themes. This benefits hackers to plan attacks against all possible vulnerabilities of that particular WordPress version.
You must change the code in the functions.php file of the theme to hide the kind of version that you are using. In addition to this, all tables in the database have a common prefix “wp “which reduces the guesswork by hackers to gain unauthorized access to your site. To avoid any security vulnerability regarding the database, you must change this default prefix while installing WordPress. You must also use trusted WordPress security plugins like Sucuri, Wordfence, Patchstack, and iThemes security.
Website Maintenance: Enhanced Productivity Along with Peace of Mind
Whatever segment or size your WordPress site has regular website maintenance is an unquestionable way to enhance its productivity. A trusted and reputed website maintenance service constantly monitors the activities on your website and keeps updating it with the latest technologies to ensure impeccable security. This is a proactive approach towards a website’s security through which you can not only ensure optimum performance from your site but enhance the number of users on it.
- If you focus on these key areas mentioned in this post, you can certainly reduce the possibility of getting harmed by any kind of security vulnerability. The most successful websites are the ones that have taken website security as a priority. You are dealing with a digitally advanced audience that thoroughly evaluates a website on certain factors before getting loyal to it.