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WordPress Security: a Comprehensive Guide for 2024

WordPress is frequently targeted by hackers, and attackers. You can protect WordPress websites by using the right measures.

This guide will give you a brief overview of the security issues and walk you through their key aspects . It’s important that you understand . WordPress security is a continuous process, not a one-time task . A system which is safe today could be obsolete tomorrow. It’s important to keep up-to-date and to regularly review and update security policies.

How can WordPress also be affected?

WordPress users often have the misperception they won’t be attacked by their hosting, because their website doesn’t contain important data . Most hostings aren’t directly attacked by hackers. The majority of attacks is carried out by so called bots. These bots consist of programs that automatically scan the internet for WordPress sites and then exploit security vulnerabilities in order to gain access to WordPress.

Why are WordPress hosts a target for hackers?

WordPress’ popularity makes it a target of choice for cyber-attacks. one vulnerability could potentially affect thousand sites. Many WordPress site operators also use outdated code and weak passwords making them easy to target. What are the goals of these attacks and how can they affect any WordPress website?

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We can see different reasons why attacks are made.

Malware redirects traffic to advertising sites via WordPress

This malware embeds within WordPress and redirects some or all website visitors to another site to display advertising. This type of malware can remain undetected longer, since not every page view redirects to an advertising website, so the malware is not immediately apparent .

Phishing pages are installed by malware in WordPress

In order to fool a recipient of a phishing mail into believing it’s from a bank, or supplier, the phishing email requires a fake website. Some hostings contain subpages that are used to steal the login information of victims. This information can be used by the attacker to login into a bank, or to obtain other sensitive data.

Spam sent via WordPress by malware

Unfortunately, sending spam by email is still profitable. Some malware also sends spam through or from the hijacked WordPress.

Sleeper Malware – “for later”

After infecting WordPress a second form of malware enters a sleeping mode to be prepared for requests from the attacker. WordPress can be used to launch a denial of service attack or for something else at the command. Wikipedia has more information on Denial of Service.

Malware that encrypts WordPress, then demands ransom.

ransomware is a specific form of malware. After infecting WordPress, this encrypts and the database. The attacker will offer to decrypt data in exchange for Bitcoin . having a copy of your data will ensure you’re prepared and can avoid paying an extortionist .

Theft of data from WordPress and WooCommerce stores

Shop solutions that are based on WordPress like wooCommerce contain customer data which is highly interesting to attack. It could be used to find to gain further access, or sell the data in the Darknet. Or to extort shop owners. Extra caution is needed, especially with shop solutions. This is also due to liability issues and concerns.

Hacking WordPress servers is a common practice.

Manual attacks where one or several people attack WordPress can also serve as a stepping-stone for expanding rights on the servers, and attacking other services or users. It is also known as Privilege Scaling. This depends on the quality of security provided by the hosting.

How can I protect my WordPress site from hackers and attacks?

It’s a common misconception that inactive WordPress themes and plugins are useless.

delete plugins that are inactive , and themes. There is a common misconception stating that inactive plugins or themes can’t be exploited. Remove all unnecessary and inactive plugins and themes.

Automatically update WordPress, plugins and themes

Some installations automatically update the WordPress core system , but not plugins or themes. The argument can be that is partially broken due to previous updates, or has stopped working. It’s safer for you to have an issue, and still be safe than it is to risk getting malware, because automatic updates are not active. It’s possible to fix a visual issue with a theme or plugin, but it takes a lot more effort to restore hacked WordPress.

One of the easiest ways to improve the security of WordPress would be to have all themes and plugins set to automatic updates. When a problem is found in one of the components, and an update fixes it, the component will be updated automatically. By using updates you can ensure that your website is better protected from known threats.

Strong passwords and active user management

Weak passwords can be a cause for security breaches. Use strong passwords, preferably unique, for your WordPress administrators and users, your database and FTP access. Strong passwords are ones that don’t appear in pre-made dictionaries, and therefore cannot be guessed simply by testing dictionary list. Check your website’s user accounts regularly and delete accounts that you no longer need. Limit admin access to. Check for unidentified names and suspect email addresses.

Bots can find out names of users automatically through User Enumeration. After obtaining the usernames, the bots attempt to log in with dictionary and most commonly used passwordssimple passwords or known passwords are then stored in the dictionary.

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Set the latest or highest version of PHP if your hosting supports it. The latest PHP interpreters come with the latest updates. Older PHP versions do not receive updates.

Security Plugins

WordPress has a number of plugins that can protect your site. Wordfence is a popular security plugin, as are iThemes Security and Sucuri Security. These plugins provide a variety of features, including fire wall protection, malware scans, and monitoring suspicious activity. These plugins all affect the performance and functionality of WordPress because they run additional checks. The combination of multiple security plugins can result in an unusable WordPress as they might interfere with each other. It is better to use the protection mechanisms described in this article and have a good hosting where most attacks are blocked and filtered by a firewall.

SSL Certificate

We mention the certificate just to be complete. This is less important as modern browsers are complaining if the website isn’t SSL encrypted. SSL certificates are required to encrypt the data transmission from your server to your visitors browser. This is used to protect sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and passwords when listening in on internet traffic within the same Wi-Fi or LAN. Let’s Encrypt is a free SSL certificate offered by many hosting providers.


is essential to make regular backups. You can restore your website in the event of an attack, or technical failure. There are several WordPress plugins which enable automatic backups. These include UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy and others. Make sure your backups are not stored directly on your server, but in a safe location. It is important to know that , even backup plugins, negatively impact the performance of WordPress. Hosting that is reliably back by the provider, and restored in an urgent situation does not suffer from these loss of performance.

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Hosting Provider

It is important to choose a -secure hosting provider for your website’s security. Good hosting providers offer not only regular updates, but also security monitoring and support if there is a security issue. Check reviews of other users and learn about the security practices of your hosting provider.

Monitoring and Response

No site is 100% secure, even with the best security measures. Monitoring tools help detect suspicious activity early. A plan of action for incident response helps you respond quickly and effectively in the event that your website is compromised. This plan should include the steps to investigate and rectify the security incident, restore the website, as well as communicate with users.

The conclusion of the article is:

WordPress security is an area that requires constant care, and adjustments. In order to secure your website, it is important that you implement the best practices and security measures . The security of your WordPress website not only protects you and your reputation, but also your site visitors.



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