I’ve been a full-time blogger for seven years. During those seven years I’ve had my blogs hacked twice. It was an absolute nightmare of sorts! I sincerely hope you’ve never been hacked, but it is important to have preventative measures in place to keep it from happening to you.
Some helpful tips to help ensure that your WordPress blog is secure, are highlighted below.
Blog Security – Default Usernames and Strong Passwords
During the creation of a WordPress blog, it automatically defaults to the username “admin.” But you can and should change this immediately as that is the most common login that hackers attempt to get in with. If you’ve already created your blog and named it “admin” you can go into the dashboard under “users” and create a new user, give it admin permission and then remove the default account.
Second to not using the standard admin username, you need to pick a strong and unique password. Mix it up with letters, numbers and capital letters. At the very least make a hacker’s job more difficult, not easier.
Blog Security – Plugins and Themes
The beauty of WordPress is the thousands of free plugins and themes readily available to enhance your website. However, many blog owners leave their site vulnerable to attack without even realizing it. A plugin that lacks security features can easily exploited by hackers and malicious bots. One way of preventing this from happening is to make sure that the plugins you use are up-to-date and compatible with the most current WordPress version.
Free themes are a big draw for many bloggers but they often create more of a headache than a help. To that end, although the theme is “free” most are encrypted with code (commonly for links) that can’t be removed from the code without breaking the theme and thereby breaking your site. A custom theme gives you more control over your site. If you do decide to go the custom route, you can hire a web designer or invest in Thesis Theme. A developer’s license allows you to use the theme on all of your websites.
Blog Security – Hosting
We went over securing your blog, but it really starts with having a secure hosting company. Overall the hosting company should have security measures in place but your job is to ensure you have the proper file permissions in place. Hackers prey on sites that have folders and files with weak permissions. During the installation of new plugins and themes, the permissions can sometimes revert back to the default setting. The WordPress Codex contains helpful information on what your file permissions should be set too.
Blog Security – Updates and More
Most theme and plugin updates are released to fix security issues and new bugs, so regular updating is essential. Also, backing up your blog is always a good idea so you can restore your blog should you ever need too.
Along the lines of updating all programs and files regularly when doing so, be careful not to let hackers know what version of WP you are using. You can hide this information by adding the following code to the functions.php file of your WordPress theme – <?php remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wp_generator’); ?>.
Security Plugins for WordPress
Antivirus – This plugin scans templates for exploits and malware.
Hide Login – As the name suggests, the plugin hides the login page to your blog making it harder for someone to find.
Secure WordPress – Install the plugin and the rest is taken care of for you.
For more plugin options visit the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Blog Security – Wi-Fi Access
WordPress security is important but laptops in general also need to be protected, particularly when using public Wi-Fi access which can make it easy for snoopers to access your personal information. Your own SSI connection socket for additional protection is a good idea.
There are other security measures you can use to keep your blog safe but this a good start and will set you off in the right direction.
Belinda Lima is a freelance writer for bbgeeks.com. She uses her word smith talents and her love of technology to write about a variety of social media, consumer electronics, and mobile accessories topics in her articles.