Basic Security Best Practices for Your WordPress Site: A Guide for the non-technically inclined

WordPress powers more than 33 percent of all websites on the internet, and chances are that it powers yours too.  As the digital world grows and with increased security concerns, it’s no longer enough to build and launch your WordPress site. You have to adhere to certain WordPress security measures if you want to keep hackers and other malicious software from your website.

Data from Internet Live Stats shows that over 90,000 websites are hacked every day. This calls for stringent security measures for your WordPress site. So you might be thinking: but security measures are to be kept by those with the technical knowledge, right? No. There are a lot of basic security measures that a non-technically inclined person like you can take to make your WordPress website or that of your organization secure.

In this guide, you’ll learn about basic security measures that you can practice to keep your WordPress site secure if you are a non-techie. We’ll take you through:

  1. Basic password practices
  2. WordPress website updates
  3. Third-party tools updates – plugins and themes
  4. Decluttering your WordPress website
  5. The importance of an SSL certificate for your site
  6. Basic security measures with your computer and network
  7. Seeking help from WordPress website management professionals

Let’s get the ball rolling

1. Follow good password practices

wordpress security

One of the basic yet strong WordPress security measures is your password management practice. While WordPress does its best to provide you a password combination suggestion when creating your account, as well as keep your passwords from being hacked, there are a lot of password hacks you can keep to make your WordPress site even more secure.

Use strong password combinations

To strengthen your WordPress security, your first step is your login password, which should be unique alphanumeric and character combinations. A good practice is to avoid the use of your name, your kid’s name or that of your pet. A strong password should be a mix of numbers, alphabets, and special characters.

Make your password unique to your WordPress site

Your password should be unique to your site. Do not share it with anyone. Don’t use your WordPress password for other online profiles, especially for social media platforms.

Use 2-factor authentication

2-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a system that provides additional security measures to your WordPress account. When activated, 2FA adds an extra layer to your login process, requiring certain confirmations before you log into your account. These extra layers are created with something that you know, something you are, and something you have, and prevent intruders from penetrating your site even when they are able to bypass your primary password.

Use a password manager

If you happen to be managing more than one WordPress site or manage your site with many other online profiles, chances are you’ll have issues remembering your passwords. In this case, it’s advisable to use a password manager to help you keep track of all your unique passwords with a single master password.

2. Regularly update your WordPress website

WordPress security
Image source: WPBeginner

Regular updates for your WordPress website is an important practice that will keep your site secured. In most cases, small updates are automatically installed on WordPress. When it comes to major updates like a new WordPress version, you will have to update the site yourself.

These new versions might come with a complete redesign of the admin dashboard, repaired security vulnerabilities or new versions of important parts.  As a site manager, your job is to update your site to the latest WordPress version. Since most of these updates are pushed in the form of notifications to your site or email, you can do the installation with a few clicks and save yourself from security breaches.

3. Regular updates for third-party tools – plugins and themes

Managing a WordPress site means you’ve definitely got a lot of plugins and some themes in use. These tools should be regularly updated just like your WordPress version in order to keep your site secure.

Plugin updates

Plugins are like WordPress’ little siblings that support your site’s operations. Some of the most important plugins you’ll install as a webmaster would mostly be on security, social media or content management. While nothing might have happened to your site because of your regular update and security vigilance, intruders and other malicious software can get to your site through these plugins if you don’t do regular updates

As these plugin builders update their software to add new robust features and eliminate any bugs and security breaches in old versions, you have to follow suit and equally update your plugins once the new versions are rolled out.

Theme updates

Creators of the WordPress themes you use regularly update their software. Whenever a new theme update comes out, you will be notified with information about security patches and bug fixes. All you need to do is to update your themes to the newest version to stay secure.

4. De-clutter your WordPress site

Today, there are over 50,000 WordPress plugins, with new ones added every day. While running your site, you might have installed a lot of these plugins – some of them may still be in use, and others might be redundant. Some of these plugins are also installed automatically when you launch your site.  These unused and disabled plugins and themes form a “digital waste”. This digital garbage eventually slows down the performance of your site and makes it vulnerable to third-party attacks.

To keep your site secure, you need to eliminate this waste. Apart from disabling all unused plugins and themes, you have to equally delete them from your WordPress site to keep it clean and secure. 

5. Get an SSL certificate for your site

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate is a small data file that encrypts your website’s details using cryptographic keys – creating a secure connection between a visitor’s browser and your website. Basically, an SSL certificate’s purpose is to secure the transfer of data to and fro our website, including login and credit card processing details among others. Sites with SSL certificates are respected by search engines and browsers.

For website managers who don’t deal with a lot of sensitive data, a free Lets Encrypt SSL certificate, provided by most of the hosting companies, is enough to keep your site secure. For those dealing with sensitive information such as user profiles and financial details, you can get an SSL certificate between $70 and $199 a year depending on the service provider you choose.

Having an SSL certificate is a must if you want to your site to be deemed as secure by search engines, browsers, and even users.

6. Your device security – computers and networks

Wordpress security

You may think that hackers and other malicious software can only get to your WordPress site through out-dated site versions or plugins or weak passwords. The truth is, your site could be attacked through your own computer or your home or office network.

Secure your computer by keeping the most up-to-date version of your operating system, antivirus software, and browsers among others. You should also endeavor to secure your office or home network by keeping strong passwords. 

7. Use a professional WordPress site management team

Managing your site, keeping your blog, and juggling through all the security measures above may be daunting for you as a non-technically inclined person, especially when you have a ton of work to do.

Trying to keep up with all these tasks might plunge your site into more risks. To pull this off, you need to look out for the best WordPress site management team to handle your site, from managing passwords to updating, installing, and pruning plugins and themes to keep your site secure.