Wordpress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (“CMS”) for web design - almost 30% of websites are built using this free, open source platform. We’ve already covered the reasons behind Wordpress's popularity here, and now we’re going to share why it’s important to keep your Wordpress website secure, properly maintained and updated.
Because Wordpress is such a widely-used platform for web development, it has become a primary target for hackers. eCommerce websites that handle sensitive material (like credit cards or personal information) are the most obvious targets, but even if you're just running a small informational website or a personal blog and are not storing any sensitive information, your website is still at risk. The most common hacking attempts try to turn your hosting server into an automated bot for sending spam email. Hackers will also try to gain control of your website to get your visitors to unknowingly download and install malicious software packages. This is why even small websites without sensitive information are targets.
Many people hear this and become concerned that Wordpress might be too risky for their website, but as long as you take the right security precautions and keep your Wordpress installation maintained and up to date there’s not much concern. The benefits of using Wordpress far outweigh the risks that come from using a large platform, and the reality is that the very nature of open source software make it resistant to hacking attempts. With so many people working on the platform - continuously testing, patching, and coding - vulnerabilities are fixed almost as soon as they’re discovered.
The Wordpress core code is well tested and very secure. When a Wordpress site does get hacked, it’s usually due to a poorly coded plugin or a plugin that has not been updated and or maintained. It’s important to carefully screen plugins before installing them, as well as to properly maintain and update your Wordpress website and implement comprehensive Wordpress security best practices on a regular basis.
At Harlo, we’ve developed a security process which has served us well over the years - in fact, we’ve never experienced site hack that has followed our process. From the initial setup to launch, we implement several measures and policies to ensure maximum site security including altering the database table prefixes, strict username and password requirements for admins, admin login captchas, limited login attempts, lockout invalid usernames, active monitoring, disable user enumeration, altering the default login url if needed, careful plugin screening and selection, and implementing a regular backup and update maintenance plan.
These security measures are essential and equally important is regularly performing updates and maintenance to your Wordpress website. Since so many developers are constantly working on the Wordpress platform, making improvements and patching security issues, the CMS needs to be kept up to date. At the very least, updates and maintenance should be done quarterly and a complete offsite backup should always be taken beforehand.
We recommend instituting a plan for regular site backups of your website files and database. It’s especially important to perform backups before updating your Wordpress platform and plugins. This ensures that if anything goes haywire during the process, you are able to easily recover your website and database from the backup. Once you have taken a complete offsite website backup, you can proceed with the Wordpress framework, theme, and plugin updates. After updating, it is important to test your site thoroughly to make sure everything is working properly on devices and browsers.
Keeping your Wordpress installation well maintained and updated means you can rest easy knowing that it’s secure and running smoothly. Implementing these standard practices will save you time and money and lower the chances of having your website hacked and data lost.