HOW TO PROTECT YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE EFFECTIVELY IN THE LONG TERM ?

 

 

A website today seems like the most commonplace. When you create your activity, want visibility on the internet, gain credibility with prospects, have a personalized space to present yourself and your activity, selling your products and services online, it is very tempting to create or make by a professional your very own website.

Initially, the creation of real beautiful professional websites was reserved for a certain elite, who could afford to call the services of professional developers with all the necessary technical skills to create a website from scratch. Since the arrival of CMS (Content Management System, in other words software that allows you to manage the creation of a website) on the market, this time is over :

It is possible to create professional and very personalized websites without having to be an IT expert.

WordPress is the most widely used on the market today: in December 2019 it alone represented 64% of the CMS market, and 39% of the overall website market (source).

Why such a success ? In few words :

  • its power,
  • its ease of installation and use,
  • and its system of plugins and themes, which gives access to very large customization possibilities.
Beyond the savings in time and money that this represents, it has also enabled other professionals such as graphic designers or ergonomists to position themselves in the website creation market (and even someone wanting to learn how to create a website on his own !), without needing to code.
rocket wordpress

The consequence of WP's monopoly on the site market makes it an ideal target for various attacks, and encourages malicious people to look for security holes (like this). There are indeed many ways to harm a website, here are some examples :

hacker
  • DDOS : these attacks aim to send a very large number of simultaneous requests to a site, which will overload the site and make it inaccessible. In the best-case scenario, once the attacks have passed, the site will come back online « on its own », but often intervention by the site administrator will be required.
  • Password or database hacking : by exploiting a security breach, it is possible to recover information stored in a website's database. This can range from usernames and passwords for user accounts, to customer / user information (credit card information, contact details, etc.). This type of attack, beyond the obvious repercussions it can have for users, can also lead to the total and irreversible deletion of the website and its database if they have not been backed up regularly.
  • Make a site compromising, either by directly hacking the content of the site and modifying it (compromising and illegal images and / or texts), or by referring to the site on unsavory sites, which will suddenly drop the referencing of it, because it will therefore be also classified as unsavory.

Of course today these hacking methods are more and more automated (by computer programs that scan all sites) and therefore do not target only the large sites of large companies, but also all the sites on the internet, even if they are little known (because they are often the least protected).


Tux en pirate

To protect. the site from these potential attacks, it is therefore essential to design the site in a secure manner from the start, but above all to maintain and regularly update these configurations.

1. HTTPS protocol

One of the essential things is that your website uses an https protocol (and not http).

The simple way to find out if your website is in https, when you are on your site in your browser, look at the left of the address bar if the padlock is closed (https) or open (http).

The https protocol will indeed make it possible to encrypt the exchange between the visitor and the website host, so that only they understand each other. It is therefore essential to protect your data and that of your customers.

2. WordPress updates

Initially, a WordPress site is not secure enough, because developers had to compromise on ease at the expense of security.

It is therefore necessary to re-secure your website via the administration of the server where your site is hosted.

WordPress is constantly evolving, new security vulnerabilities are regularly detected. It is therefore very important to carry out regular updates of your websites to correct these flaws, called application flaws. The danger comes from the fact that they are often detected when they have already been exploited, which means that there are already been hacks that have occur because of it. It is therefore really important to correctly configure this update automation.

3. Plugin updates

One of the other strengths of WordPress are plugins, which allow you to easily add functionality to your website. The problem from a security standpoint is that they are developed by third parties, which can mean that there are at least as many developers on your site as there are plugins involved. Moreover, just like WordPress, these plugins are exposed to application security vulnerabilities.

We must therefore avoid unnecessarily increasing the number of plugins used on the same website, and above all check regularly for updates.

How ?

  • Pay attention to what the updates contain, which can also add new functionality to the plugin,
  • Read the release notes beforehand to avoid bugs related to the implementation of these new features,
  • Analyze the compatibility of plugins with the most recent WordPress version.

These steps are important to significantly improve the security and quality of your site.

4. Regular backup of the website

Despite all the security in place, there is one thing that cannot be controlled: the passwords of the users of your website. If a hack were to take place through a user account, one way to restore the site would be to have a recent backup.

Performing regular backups of your site will allow you to quickly find an unaltered version.

cadenas

These 4 points are important but not exhaustive steps to considerably increase the security of a WordPress site. However, some of these tasks require time, others require specific knowledge, and it may be preferable to entrust them to a specialist.

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