There’s no denying WordPress’ presence on the internet, powering over 1.3 billion websites and accounting for 63% of the CMS market. This is great news for the platform and those who use it – you’ll always be able to find excellent plugins and a professional developer who knows how to use them – but it also comes with one major downside:
The sheer popularity of WordPress makes it a prime target for hackers.
Why is WordPress Security So Important?
In Q2 2020, there were reports of hackers targeting vulnerable WordPress sites and it was found that over a million sites had been left exposed after vulnerabilities were found in certain popular plugins.
This is not good news for anyone. Whether you run a personal blog or an eCommerce store, a compromised website is the last thing you need. Not only can it be complicated and expensive to fix, it can also dramatically decrease revenue and damage your site’s reputation in the long-term.
So, as hackers come up with new ways to wreak havoc, website owners must find new ways to improve their WordPress security.
Important WordPress Security Trends for 2020
If you want to stay one step ahead, here are some security trends to keep an eye on in 2020.
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is something that has been on the horizon for years but is really coming into its own. Now more than ever you will find that security plugins for WordPress use AI to further improve security.
The technology is often used to identify patterns in user behaviour in order to detect potential threats. Artificial Intelligence is transforming other areas of WordPress too, but security is one of the big ones.
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2. Two Factor Authentication
While two factor authentication (2FA) has been around for a while, it shows no sign of going away. Essentially, 2FA adds another layer of protection to your website in the form of additional verification when you attempt to log-in.
With 2FA, not only do you have to enter your username and password as normal, but you will be asked for an additional piece of info – whether that’s a unique code sent to you by call or text, or a predetermined question that only you know the answer to.
Why is 2FA important? Well, attacking passwords is a common hacking method, and no matter how rigorous you are with passwords it’s always best to have additional security.
3. Holistic Security
Industry expert Jason Cohen advocates a more holistic approach to WordPress security, stating that it is ‘not something that can be solved with individual solutions alone’.
He goes on to say that every piece of the security puzzle is integral including 2FA, security plugins, network-level protection, WAFs, DDoS blockers, and hosting platforms and that without all of these things fitted together, there will be critical holes in your website’s protection.
4. Advanced Firewall Protection
A firewall is essential when it comes to keeping your website secure. There are two main types of firewall available – DNS level and application level. However, there has been a swing towards DNS level protection as the alternative can still leave you open to malware.
This kind of advanced firewall protection is becoming more prevalent – and we predict that we’ll see further security improvements in the near future.
Automatically Blocking Suspicious IPs
Overall, a great pre-emptive approach to security.
How to Keep Your Website Safe
If you’re unsure where to start with WordPress security, here are our top tips for making sure everything is secure.
1. Choose Strong Passwords (And Change Them Regularly)
This advice is as old as the internet itself, but it still rings true. At the very base level, you need to make sure you choose strong and unique passwords for everything that requires them.
Make sure to include a mix of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters for maximum security – it’s the very least you can do to protect yourself and others.
2. Use Reputable Plugins
There are thousands of great WordPress plugins available to expand the functionality of your WordPress site.
But before you download, it’s essential to make sure it’s from a reputable vendor and the developers offer updates and support to maintain safety.
Doing basic checks such as number of installs, customer reviews, and whether the vendor is contactable will help you to determine whether a plugin is safe to install.
3. Keep Everything Updated
There are three main components to any WordPress site: the WordPress core, your theme, and any plugins that you use. All three of these need to be kept updated in order to maintain your website’s security.
Themes and plugins can become obsolete, making them vulnerable to hackers, so it’s important that you audit what you use regularly and check for any updates or alternative tools.
The Future of WordPress Security
It’s an unfortunate reality that WordPress is vulnerable to malware and hackers. On the upside, however, those using their skills and knowledge for good ensure that security measures are always evolving.
It’s always interesting to see how trends change and security companies improve their services in the ever-changing landscape of WordPress.
When it comes to maintaining the security of your WordPress website, the tried and true approaches we’ve talked about here, alongside other tools and protections, are vitally important to keep both you and your website users safe.
How do you keep your own WordPress website secure? And what do you think will come next for WordPress security?