As a website owner, you need to ensure that your customers’ or visitors’ passwords, credit cards, and personal data are safe from the increased amount of cyber security attacks. Hackers have discovered new ways to get the information they need from their victims and as a website owner you are left with no choice but to tighten your website security.
Hackers are after any website on the internet and this includes a country like Nigeria which is our main focus today. In this article, we will discuss proven ways to secure your WordPress website in Nigeria.
Importance of Security on your WordPress Website
Hackers and various types of malware are trying all they can to gain access to websites and their sensitive data.
All websites are at risk no matter how small your website might seem it is also at risk of being hacked. In fact, 43% of online attacks now are aimed at small websites, and only 14% of those websites are prepared to defend themselves.
Small and medium websites are easily attacked as compared to big websites because they lack resources and security expertise.
Below are the proven ways to secure your WordPress Website in Nigeria
#1. Obtaining SSL Certificates
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are an industry standard used by millions of websites in Nigeria and worldwide to protect their online transactions with their customers. Obtaining an SSL certificate should be one of the first steps you take to secure your website in Nigeria.
You can buy an SSL certificate, but the good tithing is most hosting providers offer them for free. The second step would be to use a plugin to force HTTPS redirection, which activates the encrypted connection.
This standard technology establishes an encrypted connection between a host and a client. This encrypted connection ensures that all data passed between the two remains private and intrinsic.
#2. Keeping WordPress Core Files Updated
Keeping your WordPress up to date at all times is critical when it comes to maintaining the security and stability of your website. When a WordPress security vulnerability is reported, the core team starts working to release an update that fixes the issue at hand.
When you are using a WordPress version whose vulnerabilities are known you might not need to keep updating your website. WordPress powers 34% of all websites on the internet and due to its popularity, it is a prime target for hackers, malicious code distributors, and data thieves.
To reduce the risk of your website being attacked, avoid using an old version of WordPress. It makes it easier for you just turn on auto-updates. You can also consider a managed WordPress Hosting solution that has auto-updates built in.
#3. Paying Attention To Themes & Plugins
Updating your WordPress ensures your core files are in check, but there are other areas where WordPress core updates might not protect such as your themes and plugins.
If you are a starter, ensure you only install plugins and themes from trusted developers. If a plugin or theme wasn’t developed by a credible source, you are better off without it. You also need to keep your WordPress plugins and themes updated. The use of outdated plugins and themes can make your website more vulnerable to attacks.
#4. Installing one or more security plugins.
It is important to always run routine check-ups on your WordPress website. You can do this at least once a month. Luckily enough, you don’t worry about your site security all by yourself. This is because you can rely on a security plugin. Ensure you install one or more reputable security plugins on your website.
These plugins will do much of the security-related manual work on your behalf. These may include scanning your website for infiltration attempts, resetting and restoring the WordPress site, altering source files that might leave your site susceptible, and preventing content theft like hotlinking. Some reputable plugins even cover almost everything listed above.
Any plugin(s) you decide to install, security-related or not, you have to make sure they are well-established and legitimate.
#5. Installing a firewall.
A firewall sits between the network that hosts your WordPress website and all other networks and automatically prevents unauthorized traffic from entering your network or system from the outside. A firewall keeps out the malicious activity by eliminating a direct connection between your network and other networks.
#6. Run Frequent Backups
Another proven way to secure your WordPress website in Nigeria is by always having a current backup of your site and important files. You would be frustrated if something happened to your site and you have no backup.
Backups for your site should be done as often as possible. When you have backups, it is easier to restore your data in case anything unexpected happens. Therefore you need to ensure that your website is backed up by WordPress and your hosting provider.
#7. Require & Use Strong Passwords
One of the proven ways to secure your WordPress website in Nigeria is to use strong passwords for all your logins. You might be tempted to use a familiar or easy-to-remember password but this can put you, your users, and your website at risk.
A strong password will decrease your chances of being hacked. You should check on some of the general password best practices and make use of them. You can also use Password Strength Checker free tools.
#8. Never Use The “Admin” Username
Since “admin” is a common username, it is easy for hackers to guess and steal your login credentials from you. The use of an “admin” username makes one susceptible to brute-force attacks and social engineering scams.
Use a unique username for your logins to make it hard for hackers to crack your login info.
#9. Hide Your WP-Admin Login Page
Normally, most WordPress login pages can be accessed by adding “/wp-admin” or “/wp-login.php” to the end of a URL. Hackers use such details to try breaking into websites. When a hacker or scammer identifies your login page, they then attempt to guess your username and password for them to access your Admin Dashboard.
You can prevent your site from being an easy target by hiding your WordPress login page. You can easily do this with a plugin like WPS Hide Login.
#10. Limit WordPress user permissions.
Many WordPress websites have multiple user accounts but it is advisable to change the roles of each user to limit their access to only what they need. WordPress provides six roles to choose from for each user.
Limiting the number of users with administrator permissions, helps you reduce the chance of an attacker brute-forcing their way into an admin account. This also limits the damage that can be done if an attacker correctly guesses one of your user’s credentials.
#11. Host On A Fully-Isolated Server
Private cloud servers come with so many advantages one of them being that they up your security. A private cloud runs on specific physical machines, which makes its physical security easier to ensure. This is different from cloud environments which require a strong combination of antivirus and firewall protection.
Apart from providing great security, a fully-isolated server has other perks such as very high uptime and easy integration of managed hosting.
#12. Disable file editing in the WordPress dashboard.
Normally, WordPress allows administrators to edit the code of their files directly with the code editor. However, this gives hackers an easy way to alter your files if they gain access to your account. If a plugin hasn’t already disabled this feature on your behalf, you might have to do some light coding to disable it yourself.
#13. Filter out special characters from user input.
If a part of your website accepts a response from visitors, whether a payment form, a contact form, or even a comment section on a blog post, this can be a way through for an XSS or database injection attack. Hackers can take this as an opportunity for them to enter malicious code into any of these text fields and disrupt your website’s backend.
It is important for you to have these tools on your website especially if you have a business website since that is how you get useful information from legitimate users.
To avoid this problem, you will have to filter out special characters from user input before having it processed by your website and stored in a database. You can also use a plugin to detect malicious code or a WordPress form plugin to filter out these characters automatically.
It is unfortunate that Hackers and Scammers are constantly evolving and learning new ways to leverage companies’ online presence against them. But Luckily, security engineers are always developing new methods to stop them.