Hardening WordPress involves implementing a series of security measures to protect your WordPress website from potential vulnerabilities and attacks. Here are some steps you can take to harden WordPress:
- Keep WordPress Updated: Ensure that both WordPress core and all plugins and themes are regularly updated to the latest versions. Updates often contain security patches that address known vulnerabilities.
- Use Strong Login Credentials: Create strong, unique passwords for your WordPress admin account and all user accounts. Avoid using common usernames like “admin” and consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.
- Limit Login Attempts: Implement a plugin that limits the number of login attempts from a single IP address. This prevents brute force attacks by locking out users or IP addresses that exceed the specified login attempts threshold.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implement a plugin that adds an extra layer of security to the login process, requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a temporary code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their username and password.
- Disable File Editing: By default, WordPress allows administrators to edit theme and plugin files from the dashboard. Disable this feature by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file:
This prevents attackers from modifying critical files if they gain access to your admin dashboard.
- Protect wp-config.php: Move the wp-config.php file, which contains sensitive database information, to a higher-level directory than the default location. Update the file path in your WordPress installation by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file:
require_once(ABSPATH . '../path/to/wp-config.php');
- Use Secure FTP (SFTP): Instead of using regular FTP, use SFTP to transfer files between your local machine and the server. SFTP encrypts the connection, ensuring secure file transfers.
- Secure Database Access: Change the default database table prefix from “wp_” to something unique during the WordPress installation process. This makes it harder for attackers to execute SQL injection attacks targeting your database.
- Install Security Plugins: Utilize reputable security plugins that provide features like malware scanning, firewall protection, and real-time threat monitoring. Popular options include Wordfence, Sucuri Security, and iThemes Security.
- Regular Backups: Implement a reliable backup strategy to ensure that you have recent copies of your WordPress files and database. If an attack occurs or your website gets compromised, you can quickly restore a clean version.
- Implement Web Application Firewall (WAF): A WAF adds an additional layer of protection by filtering and blocking malicious traffic before it reaches your WordPress site. Consider using a WAF service or installing a WAF plugin.
- Disable XML-RPC: XML-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol that can be exploited by attackers. Disable it by adding the following line to your .htaccess file:
<Files xmlrpc.php> Order Deny,Allow Deny from all </Files>
- Secure Hosting Environment: Choose a reputable hosting provider that prioritizes security measures, applies regular server updates, and offers features like SSL certificates, server-side firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.
- Monitor Website Activity: Keep an eye on your website’s access logs and monitor for any suspicious activity or unexpected behavior. Unusual patterns or repeated failed login attempts may indicate an ongoing attack.
Remember that security is an ongoing process, and it’s crucial to stay vigilant and proactive in keeping your WordPress installation secure.