WordPress Security – Protecting your WordPress Installation

February 3rd, 2012 @ 11:46 am

WordPress is one of the most popular and easy to use blogging platforms around, it allows users to create any kind of site imaginable without the need to learn a coding language or get bogged down with technical details. It’s open source software that’s constantly being audited and analyzed by the community, but security holes are always bound to open up with web-based platforms which present a threat to your site and its data. The absolute best way to protect your site from malicious activity is to be prepared before it happens, but luckily it’s as easy to secure your WordPress site as it was to install it.

Always stay updated

One of the easiest and most effective ways of keeping WordPress safe from attackers is to keep it updated as new versions are released. Every piece of software, especially those exposed to the internet, are always vulnerable to bugs and exploits if they are not routinely updated to patch up holes in their security. Web technologies are constantly evolving and hackers are always finding new ways to trick your software into trusting them when it shouldn’t, but WordPress is a very closely monitored system and any time a major security exploit is found the developers are very quick to release an update to fix it. The moral of the story is that being lazy and holding off on a WordPress update can cost you dearly, it’s a matter of clicking on button on your WP backend and it’s a real lifesaver.

However, your WordPress installation isn’t the only thing that needs to be kept up to date. You’re probably using a variety of different plugins and a theme as well, and outdated components can also present security risks. Always keep every part of your site up to date and beware of plugins and themes that seem unprofessional or were poorly made, they often make your site less secure by implementing faulty code.

Use secret keys in your WP-config file

The WP-config file contains all the information someone would need to access the database associated with your WordPress site, so you’ll want to do everything in your power to secure that file and make sure no one can access that sensitive information.

One of the best ways to do this is to use secret keys in the config file. Doing this is very easy, just head over to api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/ and paste that information into WP-config, read through the file and find the area that says Authentication Unique Keys and replace the four lines you see there.

Use a security plugin

There are a lot of little things to worry about in terms of WP security like file permissions, htaccess settings, and a variety of other little factors that hackers can take advantage of. Instead of staying on top of it all yourself, you can try using a trusted plugin solution that gives you a simple GUI where you can keep everything secure without the headache of traversing an FTP.

One of the best complete solutions is Bulletproof Security which keeps track of almost every possible security hold that your installation might have and offers one-click solutions to all of them, it’s very user friendly and a great way to sleep well at night knowing your site is more secure than most.

Another great plugin to use is WP Plugin Security Check. Some of the most insecure parts of any WordPress site are the third party plugins installed for a variety of different purposes, and this plugin checks through all of them to make sure there aren’t any obvious holes or inadequate coding.

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