2019 WordPress Security Checklist

Understanding why your WordPress website needs a security plan can help you put the appropriate proactive security measures in place, stopping hackers and malicious software from breaching your system. At FirstPage Marketing, we understand how important it is to create a strong security plan for your WordPress website. That is why our team of digital marketing experts has put together this 2019 WordPress Security Checklist that includes 9 helpful tips for securing your WordPress site.

Why Do You Need a WordPress Security Plan?

While most website owners tend to think that hackers would never be interested in targeting their site, it is important to note that WordPress is one of the most commonly hacked content management systems (CMS) on the Internet.

Taking your WordPress website security seriously by implementing a WordPress security plan in 2019 can help protect your website from hackers and other malicious attacks. With that being said, WordPress security updates are not something that can be done once and then be completely forgotten about. It is important to implement a WordPress security plan that is constantly evolving, ensuring regular updates to your website’s security standards.

Tips for Securing Your WordPress Website in 2019

In order to properly defend your WordPress website, you will need to take a multi-pronged approach that covers everything from your server to your customer’s data. Follow the WordPress Security Checklist below for some simple tips on securing your WordPress website.

1. Use Secure Hosting

The first step in any good WordPress security checklist is ensuring that your web hosting plan is working to keep your website as secure as possible. Make sure to choose a reputable company with a team of experts on site to handle your website’s security measures.

Some of the features your web hosting plan should offer are:

  • Data centre security measures
  • Server-side security systems, such as firewalls and anti-malware software
  • SSL certificate add-ons
  • Automated or managed backups
  • Managed updates

2. Install an SSL Certificate

An SSL Certificate is critical for any website in 2019. In July 2018, Google’s Chrome Browser began marking non-HTTP websites as not secure. We believe that an SSL Certificate will become increasingly important in 2019. In fact, we predict that Google will fully transition into ranking HTTPS websites higher than HTTP websites in search results.

Websites that have an SSL certificate have an extra encrypted buffer between their server and all others. This means that websites that have made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS are labeled as secure and are rewarded with a higher ranking by search engines like Google.

3. Delete Default Admin Username and Password

Every time WordPress is installed on a website, it automatically creates an admin username that can be used to sign into the site. This login information should be replaced by a new unique username that you create yourself, as well as a new complex password generated by the WordPress password generator tool. Once the you have a new username and password, make sure to delete the default admin information from the website.

4. Hide WordPress Identifiers

Since WordPress websites that have not been updated to the latest and most secure version are more likely to be hacked, consider hiding WordPress identifiers that will make it easy for hackers to find known vulnerabilities in your website. Some features that you can enable in your WordPress security plugin to prevent hackers from finding out information about your WordPress website include:

  • Hiding the WordPress version your website is using
  • Preventing others from discovering the list of usernames associated with your website
  • Hiding the name of the theme your website is using

5. Install a Security Plugin

Try finding an all-in-one security WordPress plugin like Wordfence or iThemes Security that will help cover all of your bases. Some of the things that you should look for in a security plugin include:

  • A firewall
  • DDoS scanner and protection
  • Enabling of two-factor authentication
  • Enforcement of stricter password standards
  • Geography-based blacklisting
  • IP blacklisting and whitelisting capabilities
  • Malware monitoring and protection
  • Monitoring of database, themes, and plugins for file changes

6. Only Download Themes and Plugins from Trusted Sources

While WordPress themes and plugins work to decrease the amount of work you have to do from scratch, it is important to only install them from reputable sources. It is also a good idea to minimize the number of active plugins on your website because using a greater number of plugins will increase the likelihood your website will be hacked.

Once you are done with a theme or plugin, make sure to completely delete it from the site, rather than just deactivating it. This will free up storage, bandwidth, and help decrease the chances of being breached through an outdated theme or plugin.

7. Keep Software and Plugins Up to Date

Since outdated software and plugins are the leading cause of WordPress websites getting hacked, make sure to update your website’s software and plugins as often as possible. When updating your website’s software and plugins, consider performing updates on a test version of your website first to ensure that there are no conflicts or issues with the updates.

8. Generate Backups

By having a system in place that generates regular backups of your WordPress website, you will be able to easily revert your site back to a recent version in the event that your website is pulled down by a hacker or a new plugin wreaks havoc on it.

9. Restrict User Access

Consider restricting user access on your WordPress website by only providing users with access to certain areas of the site. Doing so will ensure that users are only making changes that they actually need to.

It is also important to delete usernames or change the passwords of employees that are no longer with the business to help prevent their login credentials from ever becoming compromised.

Implementing a strong WordPress security plan can help you protect your website from hackers and malicious software. If you would like to learn more about our 2019 WordPress Security Checklist, get in touch with us today.