3 min read
At this point, you may have a WordPress site up and running. Or, you could just be gathering info for when you need to make one. Whatever the case, securing that site with effective methods is essential to run it successfully — free of any issues. It’s especially important nowadays since insecure websites are deemed ‘unsafe’ by Google and will result in a marked loss of traffic. Beyond an SSL certificate, without added security, updates, and effective hosting, the website’s performance will suffer.
Keep your site performing at its best by adhering to these steps:
Step 1: Secure Your Website with an SSL Certificate
Adding an SSL Certificate is a no-brainer since Google has been cracking down on unsecure sites. Once it’s added your site will go from ‘http’ to ‘https’. Securing your site works through encryption methods that keep your users’ browser strongly connected to the server, thus helping prevent intrusions and data theft. Without a secure site, there is no way to safely process payments without a third-party payment processing source like PayPal or Stripe.
The steps needed to add the certificate depend on your method. You can either install a plug-in that secures your site automatically or you can set it up manually. The former has the advantage of a quick and easy solution, whereas the latter is a more permanent, effective solution.
If you choose to use a plug-in, simply head to https://wordpress.org/plugins/ and search ‘SSL certificate’.
The first option, Real Simple SSL, has 3 million active installs, so it should work for you.
Installing the certificate manually is better for a long-term commitment you’d like to cover and get out of the way. I called WordPress support to assist me in securing my site. They helped me through each step and made it a pain-free experience. You can reach them at 1-877-994-9757. If you prefer following the steps yourself, it’s a process but easily worth doing. WPBeginner has a great guide on how to do this.
Beyond an SSL Certificate
After getting that lock on your URL, there are other steps needed to keep your site on top of its security needs.
Step 2: Security Plug-ins
As you know, plug-ins can be used for a variety of things to improve the quality of your WordPress site. A big use is for security purposes. There are a whole host of options at your disposal when searching WordPress security plug-ins. The main option, Wordfence Security, offers a robust firewall, malware scanning, IP blacklist for malicious IPs, endpoint protection that doesn’t hinder any encryption or leak any data, offers 2-factor authentication, CAPTCHA, and can halt login attempts after a certain amount from a user. This prevents brute force attacks. Check it out here.
Do your due diligence to make sure you are selecting the security solutions that fit your site’s needs.
An added note about brute force attacks: it’s important to keep your user information unique and hard to guess. Your admin username begins as ‘admin’ but should be changed for more protection from attacks. A password with many characters and symbols will make it harder for malicious attacks to pinpoint your login information. Just make sure you are updating your information from time to time for maximum safety.
Step 3: Regular Updates
For things to run smoothly, stay on top of your updates. Every piece of software added to your site will need continual updates to work properly. Updates usually occur where there’s a bug or performance issue or when new features are added. Develop the habit of checking your site’s dashboard for any updates that need to be pushed through.
Step 4: CAPTCHA to Scatter the Bots
CAPTCHA is essential if you want your site free of bots spamming their endless links (some of which can be malicious). If you installed the aforementioned security plug-in, CAPTCHA is included in the software. If that plug-in wasn’t what your site needs, a simple CAPTCHA plug-in would suffice and is sufficient for warding off unwanted spam.
The ‘Advanced noCaptcha & invisible Captcha’ option from searching WordPress plug-ins is a simple and effective solution.
When used on your site, successful CAPTCHA usage looks like this:
Step 5: Hosting Options
The hosting provider you choose will depend on your specific needs and budget. Personally, I use the Namecheap EasyWP WordPress hosting since it’s fast, cheap ($3.88 a month), and my site doesn’t require much bandwidth for its operations.
If your website is medium/large or will be scaling in the future, make sure your site is always loading pages quickly. A reader’s attention can be diverted in a few seconds of loading time for an image or page, which results in fewer sales and conversions.
Other advantages to more pricey hosting options include dedicated customer support, increased security through multiple levels of security by the hosting provider, and higher reliability overall. As long as your site is up and running nearly 100% of the time with great speed and security, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Keys to a Secure WordPress Website