How to avoid your WordPress website getting hacked

Difficulty: Beginner

WordPress is an extremely popular content management system. In fact, it powers 25 percent of total websites.

As a result of this, it is often a target for malicious hackers. It is helpful to know what to do once your website gets hacked. After all, that means you’re not in a panic and can take action to recover your website sooner. However, what is often more helpful to know is how to stop the hacking from occurring in the first place. While there are always new ways for hackers to try to gain access to your website, following these steps will allow you to put the necessary precautionary measures in place.

  1. Backup your website

    This is the most important step to take if you’re serious about the security of your WordPress website. It’s important to make sure your website is backed up in case you do fall victim to a malicious attack. If you don’t backup your website, you risk losing all your files if they become corrupted. Make sure you store your backup on another medium such as an external hard drive. This means if someone gains access to your computer, you will still have your backup. Another option is to use a plugin which will allow you to store your backup in a Cloud.

  2. Use security plugins

    There are plugins you can use which will help to boost the security of your WordPress website. These will scan your website for any malicious code, meaning you will be alerted immediately if there is anything suspicious. Consider using plugins such as iThemes Security, which is the number one WordPress security plugin. Before installing any plugins, make sure to check if they seem legitimate, and have been updated lately, or else they may not be effective and cause further problems in the future.

  3. Keep updated

    WordPress updates are often released to fix security problems. If you do not update your website, you risk it remaining vulnerable to the security problems.

    As well as updating your WordPress website, you should also remember to update your themes and plugins. These can also have security problems, as well as general usability and aesthetic updates.

  4. Change your username and password

    To make it harder for hackers to gain access to your website, you need to initially change your username and password. It is fairly common knowledge that the default WordPress username is “admin.” If you’ve left that as your username, you’ve done half of the hacker's’ job for them, as they will only have to guess your password. To avoid this, make sure your username and password are both set to something that is more difficult to guess. For your password, consider using a range of upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols.

  5. Install a website lockdown

    As much as we like to think we know everything, sometimes hiring a professional is the best answer. After all, your website is something you want to make sure you have complete control over, particularly if you’re using it for a business. You may be able to fix some hacked areas, but not others, meaning you may end up with further problems in the future. A professional will know exactly what to look for and will be able to remove every corrupted file.

  6. 2-factor authentication

    To secure your login page, consider adding 2-factor authentication. This means users will be required to not only enter the username and password but also a second component. This could be numbers texted to the user, a secret question, sets of characters - whatever you choose. This gives you extra peace of mind that you know exactly who can have access to your website. You can use plugins such as the Google Authenticator WordPress plugin to help with 2-factor authentication.

  7. Use an SSL certificate

    Using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate will help to secure your admin panel. How exactly does it work? It is essentially a secure way to transfer data between the server and the browser. This makes it more difficult for a malicious hack attack.

    If you think you should get an SSL certificate, there are numerous ways you can go about it. You can talk to your hosting, as this can sometimes be an option within a hosting package. Otherwise, there are many trusted sources where you can purchase one online.

    Following these steps will help you be able to secure your WordPress website and make you less vulnerable to becoming victim to a hacking attack.


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