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WordPress is one of the most popular platforms you can use to build your website.

It’s accessible, customisable, and it has a huge community of savvy users building and sharing a deep knowledge of how to really get the most of it.

Unfortunately, in the past, that means it has also been possible for some of the less-pleasant of internet users to use that open nature against a website’s owner. Whether it’s hacking a site to post inappropriate, spammy, and spyware-riddled adverts or to access sensitive financial details, WordPress Security has had its sceptics – but one of the simplest ways to make your site more secure is to keep it up-to-date.

However, that doesn’t mean WordPress itself is insecure. Rather, it just means that WordPress website owners and the site designer need to put into place some of the basic security measures that might otherwise go entirely missed! Any professional WordPress expert should know how to set up the system for best practice.

Stay current

Most security concerns with WordPress can be immediately solved simply by ensuring that you’re using the safest, most recent version on your site. Beyond a lot of bugfixes and quality-of-life additions, WordPress includes plenty of regular security patches that help tackle vulnerabilities that might have previously allowed malicious users access to your site.

We know updates can be worrying, changing elements of the site that might render it unusable once those updates are complete. That’s why we recommend updating the site in a testing environment first before you make the new version live. That allows us to work out any compatibility issues and to make sure that the site is fit for purpose, not just secure and up-to-date.

Don’t forget your plug-ins

When designing WordPress sites, we’ll use plugins like JetPack and Yoast SEO that allow you to provide a broader range of content to the site and to immediately improve your search engine optimisation efforts as the site is populated. WordPress allows for a lot of flexibility when it comes to working with plugins, but these plugins can be another security concern if they’re not kept regularly updated. The plugin can become a backdoor to your site if it isn’t.

The plugin dashboard on WordPress is easy to use, and it doesn’t take long at all to make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of the tool available. If you’re no longer using a plugin or a plugin has grown obsolete and is no longer updated, it’s a good idea to find a replacement or simply remove it from the site. There’s no need to leave a potential liability lying around. Finally, make sure that any plugins you download are taken from a trustworthy, reputable source.

Be smart with your details

Not every hacker is all that clever. Some are lucky, more than anything. They take advantage of details that are easy to exploit. For instance, when you’re deciding your username and password, never use “Admin” as the account name or “password” as the password. Make a new account with a unique name, give it administrator privileges and delete the older name.

Once you’ve done that, consider how strong your password is. It might seem hard to remember at first, but a password that uses a mix of lower case and upper case, numbers, and symbols is much stronger than just a password with one case of letters. Don’t use your own name, date-of-birth, or anything too personal and easy to find in your password. Don’t use whole words, either, as some hackers use what’s called a “dictionary attack” going through essentially the whole thing to find the right word to unlock your site.

Using 2-factor authentication, sending you an email for verification when you log in, removing password hints and limiting password attempts help you keep the access side of the site much more secure, too.

Stay informed for best results with your WordPress security

Every time there’s a new kind of breach, it quickly becomes common knowledge. But you need to stay subscribed to WordPress blogs and in touch with WordPress developers if you want to hear what the latest breach is.

WordPress is quick to issue updates tackling a new vulnerability. But that doesn’t mean that you can safely wait for them. Sometimes, we might have to implement the HTTPS standards. Sometimes, we might have to make the login process more secure. Sometimes, we might have to remove or replace a plugin temporarily or permanently, until we’re sure that the security issue has passed.

When it comes to staying updated on security and ensuring that your site is as secure as possible, partners like Toast Websites can help ease a lot of your concerns. We’re constantly staying up-to-date on the latest breaches and smart about how we implement things like logins and plug-ins to the site. You can get the peace of mind to just think about what you want from the site.

Need help with WordPress security or support?

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Posted by Kelly and categorised in Maintaining WordPress.

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