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How To Protect A WordPress Website From Hackers

5 Easy to Follow Steps To Protect a WordPress Website from Hackers

If your website has already been hacked this information is too late for you and you may wish to speak with a specialist company, such as ourselves, for getting your website back in your control. This information is for those who want to protect a WordPress website from Hackers, before it has been hacked.

Why do Hackers do what they do?

There are two types of Hackers. “White Hat” and “Black Hat”. White hat hackers normally get access to your website and delete or amend posts in the blog. They leave you with access to your website. They would say they are highlighting to you that your website is insecure. They would also say that they are acting in a positive and helpful way. However, finding that a blog post on your website, that you may have spent hours writing, has been deleted does not feel like a positive action. Black hat hackers, like their white hat counterparts, gain access to the website and lock out users. Normally, a fee is negotiated to get your website back.

How can you secure your WordPress website from Hackers:

1. Creating WordPress Website Database

When using “softaculous” to install WordPress you can take some basic steps to start to protect the website from hacking attempts.  Hackers scrape the internet for websites that are built on WordPress. One tell-tale sign they look for is the “name” of the database created when you install a WordPress website. By default, this uses a prefix of “wp_” and usually has a series of digits after it, for example, wp_123. This is a signature that hackers will search for.  When running your WordPress installation change the “wp” to three random letters (don’t forget to add the underscore_ after the 3 letters).

2. Your Admin Account Login Details

I know, that you already know, that your login details should be unique and difficult to break. The trouble is that most of us know this, then don’t actually apply it. We assume hacking will happen to someone else and stick with our old favourite password. If you want to protect yourself from hacking – DON’T!

Use a random password generator to create your password. If you are worried that you will forget your password then use secure software such as Google Chrome password or LastPass to remember your passwords. LastPass is a free software that not only remembers your login details but will automatically log you into websites, which is a huge timesaver if you frequently log in to multiple websites. It has a secure password generator and if you have a number of websites you log in to frequently, it will analyse the security of all of your passwords and make recommendations.

To often passwords are “created” by the user that are easy to type, that they think are random, however, they form a pattern that is easy to trace.

Another tip to manually creating a password is to use three random words together.

Answer these 3 questions:

  1. An item in view right now
  2. The colour of the top you are wearing
  3. The last thing you ate

For me my password today would be “PencilBlueBanana” – random and not as difficult to remember as you may think.

Here is a list of the top 25 passwords that were hacked in the last year.  If you recognise any on the list as yours – change it NOW!

      1. 123456
      2. 123456789
      3. qwerty
      4. 12345678
      5. 111111
      6. 1234567890
      7. 1234567
      8. password
      9. 123123
      10. 987654321
      11. qwertyuiop
      12. mynoob
      13. 123321
      14. 666666
      15. 18atcskd2w
      16. 7777777
      17. 1q2w3e4r
      18. 654321
      19. 555555
      20. 3rjs1la7qe
      21. google
      22. 1q2w3e4r5t
      23. 123qwe
      24. zxcvbnm
      25. 1q2w3e

3. WordPress Security Plugins

There are a number of plugins that you can add to your website to help protect you against Hackers. There are a number of different routes hackers use to get to your website. They will try to crack your username and password, they will use out of date plugins to access the back-end of the website, they will try and access the website through comments.

Here are the best plugins for WordPress security (in our opinion):

  1. Wordfence – cost free.protects against a number of hacking routes including trying to crack the username and password. It also has an informative panel in the dashboard showing the number of attempts to hack your website and the usernames that have been tried and failed.
  2. WP Guard –  cost £99 – our own plugin offered as part of our WP Security package. Protects against all known hacking routes to your website. Call for more details.
  3. Cookies For Comments – cost free. Ensures that comments are only left from computers with a “real” IP address. Reduces the chances of ‘bots’ spamming the comments to find a hole in security.

4. Keep Your Themes and Plugins Updated

WordPress Developers work hard to keep their plugins and themes secure. However, to get the full benefit of their hard work you need to keep the plugins on your website up-to-date.  This can be a 10-minute exercise each day. If you have more than one website this can become time-consuming and frustrating.  There is a free service on wpremote.com that allows you to add all your WordPress websites and from this one website check all of the plugins and themes on all of your WP websites and at the press of a button update them all. Up to 50 websites can be monitored and updated in just a few minutes. WP Remote checks and can update the version of WordPress, the themes and plugins.

5. Keep Back-ups of Your Website

The hosting account where you keep your website can automatically create back-ups of your website on a regular basis. Daily, weekly or monthly. Back-ups can soon fill your hosting account and so set the frequency on how often you genuinely update your website. Remember, and set dates in your diary, to review the number of back-ups in your hosting. A back-up of your website forms part of your website and the next back-up will back-up the website and the back-up, effectively creating a back-up of the back-up! Regular reviews and deleting out of date back-ups will solve this storage sapping issue.

These 5 easy to follow steps will help keep your website secure and up-to-date.

If you don’t have time, or the inclination, to take these 5 steps then consider the “WordPress Protection” service we offer from as little as £99 a month.