Online security has turned into a massive concern over the years. Hackers, malware, and viruses are on their rise, aiming to exploit your online privacy. As a website designer/developer, WordPress security should be your major concern to protect your sensitive data and enhance the performance of your website. According to the statistics provided by Sucuri, WordPress websites are heavily infected by malware, having a share of 83% of the total infected websites. Moreover, in the 2016 statistics, there were 61% hacked WordPress websites which had outdated security patches. Thankfully, that number has decreased to 39.3%. Now, looking at these statistics, we know that our WordPress web pages are at huge risk of getting infected and hacked. This is the reason why we have to take concrete measures to ensure better performance and privacy of our websites/web pages. Therefore, running security scans on your WordPress webpage can be a solid solution to these issues.
Is it important to get your WordPress site scanned?
One cannot claim with complete confidence that his/her website is immune to all privacy threats. There are over 7 million attacks on WordPress sites every hour, which means your site may also be vulnerable. Hackers these days have a huge arsenal of tools to tackle the security of your site. If your site has your personal information, it could be used to hack into any other account on the internet such as your social media account, online bank account or maybe your bitcoin wallet (if you own any). One thing in which most newbie website developers or bloggers get confused is what the best option for their site is; WordPress.com or WordPress.org. No matter if you’ve hosted your site to the dedicated WordPress.com or own a different hosting for WordPress.org, it is recommended to scan your site for viruses time by time.
Even if you are just starting as blogger with no sensitive information on the site, getting it under a lot of viruses and malware can result in major problems. On the other hand, if you don’t have such information on your site, it is potential that your site could be used to piggyback using your bandwidth and cost you tons of money depending on your hosting.
Signs your site is vulnerable to hacking:
- Having “admin” or “administrator” as your username.
- Weak or easy to guess passwords.
- Weak plugins
- Plugin and theme editor is enabled
- Significant files without any password.
- Insecure computer system or server.
Scanning your site
There are some free and helpful tools available for you online to scan your site. Following sites/plugins could be helpful for you to secure your site’s privacy:
- Sucuri SiteCheck: It checks for malware, viruses, errors and outdated security.
- WPScan: A free to use site scanning tool. However, you need to purchase the paid version for commercial use
- Norton Safe Web: Scans your site and informs you about the threats
- WordPress Security Scan: Checks for vulnerabilities in your site. Purchase the paid version for more advanced scanning.
These tools are not super-advanced and will give you just some initial ideas on the security of your site. If you are planning to use it for commercial purposes, you should consider buying the paid versions of these tools. Furthermore, make sure to select a website builder that ensures high-end security and safety tools at the back-end. For this, it is recommended to review website builders online before choosing the best one for you.
Moreover, these sites don’t guarantee an updated security scan which is the reason why free scanners are not preferred for commercial use.
Detailed and advanced scanning
If you have a commercial site having sensitive information, it is preferred to rely on paid/premium scanning services. This is the reason why you should consider some tools and plugins which would scan your site in a comprehensive manner. Here are few of them:
Checks website core files and files for malware and viruses and notifies you when they are active so that you can apply security patches on them.
Although it doesn’t solve the security problems, it identifies them and looks for them in deep locations such as your files, plugins, and themes.
This plugin does the same job as the above-mentioned tools do, but it searches for the threats in a very thorough manner. It not only looks into your files, core and plugins, it also looks for functions and codes used by hackers to harm your site’s privacy.
How to tackle these issues?
- Update Plugins and Themes:
First of all, you have to log in to the WordPress admin dashboard, then go to the dashboard option on the sidebar and click on Update in the drop-down menu. After that, select what you want to update.
- Uninstall Unnecessary Plugins:
There is no doubt about the fact that plugins are a very useful feature of WordPress. However, the more plugins you install, the risk of your site getting hacked gets higher. Disabling plugins is just not enough to ensure security. You should consider deleting the plugins and themes you are not using. Removing unnecessary and unused plugins enhances your site’s performance and security. The lesser plugins you have, your site’s performance and security would be better.
- Use strong passwords:
An ideal password must contain a mixture of more than eight digits, punctuation, and upper/lowercase characters.
A WordPress security scan should be checking a few things. The same password shouldn’t be used twice. It is also very important for your site not to contain any word from the dictionary as it makes your password very weak and easy to crack through dictionary attack.
- Use Captcha on forms:
Captcha is very important for forms as a hacker can spread malware and harm your site with or without the login access. If your WordPress web page contains a form without a captcha, it is potential that it could be used to send many spams and malicious emails which could be more than the server’s limit.
- Limit the attempts of logging in:
There is a very useful plugin named“Limit Login Attempts Reloaded” which will keep your admin page protected with a limit which you can set and customize. If the user exceeds the limit, he can no longer have login access to your site. This could be a very useful way to protect your site from malicious attacks.
- Disable the file editing option:
After you do your WordPress security scan, you’ll observe that WordPress enables you to edit your theme and plugins directly from the admin panel. This exposes the vulnerabilities of your site and can be a major security concern for your site.
Your site’s online privacy should be your major concern in order to enhance the performance of your site and the user experience (UX). You can use any of the above-mentioned tools to scan your site for any sort of issues. Moreover, you can apply security patches and also take very important measures to protect your website.
The author Pawan Sahu
Pawan Sahu is the founder of MarkupTrend. He is a Digital Marketer and a blogger geek passionate about writing articles related to WordPress, SEO, Marketing, Web Design, and CMS etc.