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WordPress Website Security

WordPress Website Security: Two Essential And Simple Tasks

Key Takeaways

  • To ensure your WordPress website’s secure, you need to regularly update its Core, Themes, and Plugins.
  • The other aspect of site security is backing up. Make sure you back up your website’s database, files, and folders at least once a week or in real time.

Word­Press web­site secu­ri­ty starts with reg­u­lar main­te­nance! There are many things you can do to pro­tect your web­site, with some tasks being more impor­tant than oth­ers. In this arti­cle, you will learn about two sim­ple but essen­tial things you can do to min­i­mize the risk of run­ning into issues, and keep your vis­i­tors hap­py at all times.

Web­site secu­ri­ty is of tremen­dous impor­tance to every web­site own­er. Word­Press web­sites are very often the tar­get of hack­ing attacks. Wak­ing up one day and real­iz­ing your site is gone or infect­ed with mal­ware is a real night­mare. It can cause your busi­ness to lose rev­enue and credibility.

When it comes to online inter­ac­tions, trust is the num­ber one require­ment. Besides Word­Press hacks, if your web­site breaks or is not func­tion­al, it can have the same destruc­tive effect on your vis­i­tors. You can quick­ly lose trust that took a long time to build with your cus­tomers. If only a part of your web­site is bro­ken, it might take days or even weeks before you real­ize some­thing is wrong.

Update your website regularly

The first and most impor­tant Word­Press web­site secu­ri­ty task is reg­u­lar updates.

Your Word­Press instal­la­tion has 3 dis­tinct areas:

  • Word­Press Core
  • Themes
  • Plu­g­ins

You need to update all soft­ware reg­u­lar­ly. To avoid pos­si­ble con­flicts between dif­fer­ent soft­ware, you should do the updates in the cor­rect order.

Updating the WordPress Core

The Word­Press core con­sists of many dif­fer­ent files that make up the appear­ance and func­tion­al­i­ty of the Word­Press platform.

Most busi­ness own­ers are not aware that the Word­Press core is chang­ing and evolv­ing con­tin­u­ous­ly. Word­Press installs minor updates auto­mat­i­cal­ly by default. For major updates, you either need to ini­ti­ate the update man­u­al­ly or set it up to automate.

Updat­ing the Word­Press core rarely breaks a web­site, so we’d advise you to set an auto-update, and have your site updat­ed as soon as each new release is avail­able. Every major update car­ries impor­tant secu­ri­ty fix­es, which can make a dif­fer­ence in get­ting hacked or not.

Updating WordPress Themes

Besides the Word­Press core, your web­site instal­la­tion has one or more themes. The theme is what makes your web­site dif­fer­ent to oth­ers. It con­sists of a col­lec­tion of files that mod­i­fy the graph­i­cal inter­face with­out inter­fer­ing with the under­ly­ing soft­ware, the Word­Press core. The theme is what enables the look and func­tion­al­i­ty on the fron­tend – it’s what your vis­i­tors see.

Word­Press comes, by default, with sev­er­al free themes. Since every theme and plu­g­in present a poten­tial secu­ri­ty risk, the first advice is to remove all addi­tion­al themes you are not using. Your web­site needs only one – the active theme. Unless your theme con­sists of a par­ent and child theme, then you should keep both.

It’s safe to delete all oth­er, inac­tive themes. If you ever decide to change the theme, you can rein­stall it in a cou­ple of minutes.

Updating Plugins

Word­Press plu­g­ins are bits of soft­ware that can add new fea­tures or extend the func­tion­al­i­ty of your web­site. Word­Press plu­g­ins should inte­grate seam­less­ly with the Word­Press core. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s not always the case, and you should be very care­ful when installing new plugins.

Plu­g­ins are built by third-par­ty devel­op­ers. Some­times, a devel­op­er stops main­tain­ing a plu­g­in, so it becomes incom­pat­i­ble with new Word­Press ver­sions. Also, an out­dat­ed plu­g­in can break not only your web­site but also presents a secu­ri­ty risk.

pur­plenote: The num­ber one rea­son for get­ting hacked is due to out­dat­ed plugins!

Updat­ing plu­g­ins can some­times seem a daunt­ing task, espe­cial­ly if you have dozens of them. How­ev­er, you should always update one plu­g­in at a time. Oth­er­wise, you will not be sure which plu­g­in may have caused issues or broke your web­site, if it hap­pens dur­ing a bulk update.

Oth­er than that, try to min­i­mize the num­ber of plu­g­ins you are using. Hav­ing new func­tion­al­i­ties and cool plu­g­ins can be fun, but it’s bet­ter to avoid installing new plu­g­ins if they are not essen­tial. If you have plu­g­ins that are not in use any­more, delete them com­plete­ly. Even inac­tive plu­g­ins can cause a secu­ri­ty threat.

A word of advice: Before installing a new theme or plu­g­ins, you should always check if they’re com­pat­i­ble with the lat­est Word­Press ver­sion. Also, check the rat­ings and com­ments from oth­er users. If there are known issues, a quick check can save you ongo­ing trouble.

Backup your website regularly

The sec­ond cru­cial Word­Press web­site secu­ri­ty task is mak­ing reg­u­lar backups.

A full web­site back­up con­sists of:

  • the data­base
  • all files and folders

How often you need to back up your web­site depends on the fre­quen­cy of changes. Ide­al­ly, you should do it once a day or at least once a week. For exten­sive web­sites, with mul­ti­ple admins and authors, the best prac­tice is to have real-time backups.

If some­thing hap­pens to your web­site, hav­ing a fresh back­up can save your busi­ness’ cred­i­bil­i­ty. It can mean the dif­fer­ence between hav­ing a bro­ken or inac­ces­si­ble web­site for days or even weeks, and fix­ing it as soon as you notice some­thing is wrong.

How to backup your website

You can use mul­ti­ple back­up systems:

  • back­ups from your host­ing provider
  • sched­uled back­ups via back­up plugins
  • man­u­al backups

How­ev­er you choose to do it, make sure you store back­up files on your com­put­er or cloud stor­age. If you store files only on your web­site, and it becomes infect­ed, you will not be able to get those back­up files to fix the website.

WordPress website security and purpletools maintenance service

If you are over­whelmed with Word­Press web­site main­te­nance tasks, or just don’t want to take care of every­thing your­self, pur­ple­tools main­te­nance ser­vices are there to help you.

pur­ple­tools main­te­nance plans include every­thing need­ed to keep your web­site acces­si­ble and per­form­ing well at all times. We take care of your web­site’s secu­ri­ty, reg­u­lar updates, and sched­uled back­ups. Should some­thing go wrong, we can undo the dam­age with the click of a button.

Find out more about pur­ple­tools main­te­nance plans.

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