HomeBlogWordPress SecurityHow to Secure Your WordPress Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Secure Your WordPress Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Secure Your WordPress Website

With WordPress’s popularity comes the attention of hackers and cybercriminals constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. This guide will discuss how to secure your WordPress website and protect it from potential security threats.

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems on the internet. It’s used by millions of website owners, bloggers, and businesses.

Understanding WordPress Security

WordPress security is critical for every website owner. Security breaches can cause major damage, including lost revenue, reputational damage, and even legal action. Hackers can steal sensitive information, inject malicious code into your website, and use your site to distribute malware to your visitors.

As a website owner, you must know how to secure a WordPress website. This can be achieved by taking several steps, including:

  • Regularly updating WordPress, themes, and plugins to ensure any vulnerabilities are patched.
  • Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication to prevent brute force attacks.
  • Installing security plugins that can help to detect and prevent malware attacks.
  • Regularly backing up your website to ensure that you can quickly restore it in the event of a security breach.

Common WordPress Security Threats

There are several types of security threats that WordPress website owners face, including:

  • Brute force attacks are where hackers try to guess your username and password.
  • Malware attacks are where hackers inject malicious code into your website to infect visitors’ devices.
  • SQL injections, where hackers exploit vulnerabilities in your website’s database.
  • DDoS attacks are where hackers overload your website with traffic to crash it.

It is essential to be aware of these threats and take steps to prevent them from happening to your website.

The Cost of a Hacked Website

The impact of a hacked website can be significant. Firstly, you could lose access to your website entirely. This could result in lost revenue and damage your reputation, as customers may perceive your website as unreliable.

Secondly, your customers’ personal information, such as names, addresses, and credit card numbers, could be stolen, resulting in legal liabilities. This could be detrimental to your business and result in costly legal fees.

Thirdly, you could lose customer trust and therefore damage your reputation. And finally, you could be penalized by Google or other search engines, causing a loss of website traffic and revenue.

It is essential to take WordPress security seriously and take steps to prevent security breaches from occurring. You can protect your business, customers, and reputation by doing so.

Keep Your WordPress Installation Up-to-Date

Keep Your WordPress Installation Up-to-Date

Keeping your WordPress installation up-to-date is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of security breaches. WordPress releases regular updates to identify and repair vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

However, updating your WordPress installation is not just about security. It’s also about enjoying the latest features, speed improvements, and bug fixes. So, keeping your WordPress installation up-to-date is essential to ensure your website runs smoothly and efficiently.

Updating WordPress Core

Updating your WordPress core to the latest version is crucial to keeping your site secure. Often, the vulnerability discovered may only apply to specific versions of WordPress, so it’s vital to update your software regularly to ensure your site is secure.

WordPress offers an automatic updating feature that you can enable to ensure that your WordPress installation is always up-to-date without any manual intervention.

However, before enabling this feature, it’s essential to ensure that your site is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. You can do this by checking with your theme and plugin developers.

Additionally, it’s a good practice to back up your site before updating your WordPress core. This way, if anything goes wrong during the update process, you can quickly restore your site to its previous state.

Updating Themes and Plugins

Themes and plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress website. However, they can also be a source of vulnerabilities. So, it’s essential to keep them up-to-date, just like WordPress core.

Themes and plugin security vulnerabilities are detected and fixed often, so updating them regularly is necessary.

It is recommended to activate automatic updates for plugins and themes on your site to ensure you always have the latest version installed.

However, ensuring your site is compatible with the latest version of the theme or plugin before enabling automatic updates is essential. You can do this by checking with the theme or plugin developers or testing the updates on a staging site first.

Finally, it’s worth noting that not all themes and plugins receive regular updates. So, choosing themes and plugins from reputable developers who provide regular updates and support is essential.

Keeping your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins up-to-date ensures your site is secure, fast, and efficient. So, make it a priority to check for updates regularly and keep your site up-to-date.

There are dedicated WordPress security plugins like Ithemes that will help you secure your site.

Secure Hosting and Domain Providers

Choose Secure Hosting and Domain Providers

Choosing a secure hosting and domain provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when creating a WordPress website. The hosting provider that I use is WPX, and it is the one I recommend.

Not all hosting providers are created equal, and some can leave your website vulnerable to attacks from hackers and other malicious actors.

Below are some of the recommended features of a secure hosting provider for your WordPress site:

Features of a Secure Hosting Provider

  • Regular backups of your website: A secure hosting provider should offer regular backups of your website to ensure that you can recover your data in the event of a security breach or other issue.
  • Regular updates of the latest version of PHP and MySQL: Keeping your website’s software up-to-date is crucial for protecting against vulnerabilities and exploits. A good hosting provider should automatically update your website’s software to the latest version of PHP and MySQL.
  • Firewall protection: A firewall is a security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A secure hosting provider should offer firewall protection to monitor and protect against hacking attempts or other malicious activity.
  • SSL certificates: SSL certificates encrypt data between the client device and server for data security. A secure hosting provider should offer SSL certificates to protect your website’s data from prying eyes.

Protecting Your Domain Privacy

When purchasing a domain, always opt for domain privacy. Domain privacy replaces your information with the registrar’s information in WHOIS lookup, hiding your information from the general public. Doing so prevents hackers from using that information to attack you and your website.

Domain privacy is especially important for small business owners or entrepreneurs. Hackers often target small businesses because they know they may not have the same level of security as larger companies.

By hiding your information with domain privacy, you can protect your business from these attacks and ensure your website remains secure.

Choosing a secure hosting and domain provider is essential for protecting your website from attacks. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure that your website remains secure and protected from malicious actors. These measures will make your security posture better.

Implement Strong Usernames and Passwords

Ensuring the security of your WordPress website is of utmost importance. One of the first steps towards achieving this is by implementing strong usernames and passwords. We will discuss how to create strong usernames and passwords to protect your website from malicious attacks.

Creating a Strong Username

When creating a username, avoiding using default usernames such as ‘admin’ and ‘root’ is essential. These usernames are commonly targeted in brute-force attacks, and using them would make your website an easy target for hackers.

Instead, use a unique username that would be difficult to guess for any malicious user. A strong username should combine letters, numbers, and symbols. It should not be related to your personal information or easily guessable information.

For example, instead of using ‘john doe’ as your username, you could use ‘j0hnD03!’. This username is a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, making it difficult to guess.

Generating a Secure Password

Creating a secure password is the second critical step in securing your WordPress site. Hackers can easily crack a weak password, leaving your website vulnerable to attacks.

When creating a password, it is essential to avoid using common tags such as your name, date of birth, or pet’s name. These are easily guessable and can be cracked by hackers using brute force attacks.

A strong password should contain at least 12 characters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

The password should not be shared with anyone and should be changed regularly to ensure maximum security.

Using a password manager to generate and store your passwords securely is also advisable. This will ensure your passwords are strong and unique, and you don’t have to remember them all.

Implementing strong usernames and passwords can significantly reduce the risk of hacking your website.

It is important to remember that security is an ongoing process, and you should regularly update your usernames and passwords to ensure maximum protection. If you run a website for your business, you can establish an access control policy aligned with your business.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

As technology advances, so do the risks of cyberattacks. It’s essential to take every measure possible to protect your online presence, especially if you run a website or blog with sensitive information.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that can help keep your account safe from potential threats.

When you enable 2FA, you will need to provide two forms of identification to access your account. This means that even if someone has your login credentials, they won’t be able to access your account without the second form of identification.

Fortunately, several WordPress 2FA plugins are available in the WordPress plugin repository. These plugins come with step-by-step instructions on enabling them, making it easy for even non-technical users to secure their accounts.

How 2FA works

2FA works by requiring an additional form of identification for logging in. This can include sending a text message to a registered mobile phone, providing a unique code generated by an app on your smartphone, or entering biometric authentication such as a fingerprint or face ID.

By requiring an additional form of authentication, 2FA significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your account. Even if someone has your login credentials, they won’t be able to log in without the second form of identification.

Recommended 2FA Plugins for WordPress

Several free and paid WordPress 2FA plugins are available in the WordPress plugin repository. They all work differently, but the most commonly used plugins are:

  • Google Authenticator: This plugin generates a unique code you must enter when you log in. The code is generated by the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone.
  • Authy: Authy is similar to Google Authenticator, but it also allows you to use multiple devices and has a backup feature in case you lose your phone.
  • Duo Security: Duo Security allows you to use multiple forms of authentication, including push notifications, SMS, phone calls, and biometric authentication.

Enabling 2FA adds a layer of security and is highly recommended. Choosing a plugin that works best for your needs and preferences is essential.

Conclusion on how to secure your WordPress website

Securing your WordPress website from potential threats is crucial.

Taking preventative measures such as keeping your WordPress core, plugins, and themes up-to-date, utilizing a secure hosting provider and domain registrar, and employing strong usernames and passwords is essential.

However, these measures alone may not protect your account from cyberattacks. That’s why enabling two-factor authentication is highly recommended.

Stay vigilant, maintain your security measures, and ensure your site is safe from the ever-evolving threat landscape. With the right tools and practices, you can protect your online presence and enjoy peace of mind. Read more about WordPress security on my website.


How often should I update my WordPress themes and plugins?

It’s best to update your themes and plugins as soon as a new version is released. Setting up automatic updates will help ensure you’re always running the most secure versions.

How do I know if my WordPress site has been hacked?

Signs of a hacked WordPress site may include unexpected changes to your website’s appearance, unauthorized users in your dashboard, or suspicious activity in your server logs. Regularly monitor your site and use security plugins to scan for malware and vulnerabilities.

Is SSL/TLS necessary for my WordPress site?

Yes, using SSL/TLS (HTTPS) encrypts data transmitted between your website and its visitors, protecting sensitive information like login credentials and personal details. Many web hosts offer free SSL certificates through services like Let’s Encrypt.

Hi I'm Lars Birkelad. As a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) with nearly three decades of experience in IT and information security, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the forefront of cybersecurity. My extensive background encompasses the development and implementation of robust information security and cybersecurity frameworks. Throughout my career, I have collaborated with a diverse range of well-known companies, including government agencies and private firms. I am committed to sharing my expertise and insights to empower individuals and organizations navigating cybersecurity.