The first place that hackers will go for when they want to hack your website will be your WordPress Admin area. The same area is also vulnerable to hacking no matter the type of platform you’re using.
The WordPress admin area contains an admin user and a secure password meant to block anyone else from accessing your web settings. To access the admin area you have to enter the username and password on the log-in page.
Even though the WordPress admin area is created with safety measures in mind, the page is still vulnerable to hacks requiring added safety measures. By employing various methods to admin area protection, you can greatly minimize chances of a security breach.
Why Is Website Security So Important?
A security attack on your website causes tremendous effects. It’s pretty frustrating to watch all your hard work go down the drain. Your website is the first point of contact with your customers so if it’s attacked then you lose your number one mode of communication. This affects your business relationship with them.
A security breach puts your customer’s personal information such as names, email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers at risk. Hackers may succeed in accessing such details putting your customers at risk of hacking as well.
If your site is not secure enough, hackers may hit your server, delete everything you have and even cause your site to crash. You will lose all your data and how sad if you have no way to recover it.
Some security breaches are so bad that when your website is hit the malware may affect other websites being hosted by the same host as you. So your security extends to other businesses as well. It helps to be your brother’s keeper!
So how do you ensure that your WordPress admin area is secure? let ‘s take a look at the best and most reliable methods.
1. Create Custom Login Links
To access your WordPress admin panel you’re required to type in your site’s with /wp-login.php. If you use one password in more than one location and was compromised, this makes it quite easy for a hacker to access your site. It’s recommended that you use a custom login link unique to your website. This makes it harder to be hacked.
You can easily create custom login links using Stealth Login plugin. The plugin allows you to create custom URLs that you can use to register, login, logout, and administrate your WordPress site.
You can also enable the “Stealth Mode” to prevent any users from accessing your ‘wp-login.php’ directly. Then you can create a more cryptic login URL. Doing this ensures that if someone is able to figure out your password, it won’t be as easy to find your login page. This type of action also prevents any malicious bots from accessing your wp-login.php file and attacking it.
2. Use Strong Passwords
The more popular your website is, the more vulnerable it is to hacking. The easiest way to hack a website is by cracking login passwords. It goes without saying that the weaker your passwords, the easier it is to figure them out. Most website owners don’t put a lot of thought in their passwords and will often go with something that is easy to remember.
More often than not, passwords are the weakest link in this chain. The reason? The way that passwords are usually handled or chosen is too reckless. The good thing is that most websites will now show you how strong or weak your password is. To stay safe, make your WordPress password at least 7 characters long mixing between uppercase, lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols.
3. Limit Login Attempts
One trick that hackers use to crack passwords is to use a script to guess your password. This means that they will keep trying to log in. to prevent them from getting it add a login attempt limit. This will limit the number of times someone tries to log in to your website with an incorrect password. Login attempt limits work by locking the site whenever there are numerous attempts to log in and notifies you of the unauthorized activity.
You can easily limit login attempts using iThemes Security plugin. The plugin detects malware, removes it and keeps your website from future attacks. iThemes Security plugin will keep your website protected against most common security threats by locking down WordPress accounts, enforcing two-factor identification, maintaining strong passwords, hiding your admin and login pages and so on.
iThemes Security plugin is very flexible and is designed in a way that it can be used easily by both beginners and experienced users. The plugin also allows you to customize and set it up according to how you desire it to work.
4. Add 2-Factor Authentication
Improve the security of your WordPress admin area by adding the 2-factor authentication to your login page. The 2-factor authentication will require every user to provide login details for two separate components. You can decide what these two components will be. This can be a password and an answer to a secret question.
You can add 2-factor authentication on your WordPress website using the WP Google Authenticator plugin. It’s easy to use, you’ll have it working in a few clicks.
5. Delete the Admin User Account
When you install WordPress, an admin account will be created automatically. The account comes with an automatically generated user admin as well. The user admin profile has default settings and is not that secure making it an easy target.
It’s advisable to delete the default admin user and create a second one. First, make sure that you log out of the backend and log in as using the new admin details. Then now you can delete the default admin user.
6. Protect Your wp-admin Directory
The wp-admin directory is the driving force behind your WordPress website. An attack on this directory will greatly harm your website. It could actually cause your website to crash. The best way to protect your wp-admin directory is to use a password. This means that you will access your dashboard using two passwords. One at the login page, and another at the WordPress admin area.
Use AskApache Password Protect plugin to password protect your wp-admin directory. The plugin will automatically generate a .htpasswd file, encrypt your chosen password and then configure the correct security-enhanced file permissions.
7. Encrypt Data Using SSL
This is probably the best way to secure your website admin area. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate will make sure that data transferred from user browsers to servers is secure. This makes it very difficult for hackers to breach the connection. An SSL certificate will help your website to rank higher because it’s viewed as safe.
There are many companies that sell SSL certificates but you could also get it from your hosting company as part of the hosting package.For instance, SiteGround offers free Let’s Encrypt when you buy their hosting package.
8. Monitor your Files Often
Key an eye regularly on any changes taking place to your website’s files. Acunetix WP Security is a good plugin that can help you monitor your files. The plugin will routinely monitor your files and offer suggestions on how to secure file permissions and database, WordPress admin protection and so much more.
9. Back Up your Site Regularly
Even after putting in all the above-mentioned measures it’s important to go a step further and backup your files because there’s no 100% guarantee that your website will be fully secure. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Backups are great because, knock on wood, should any breach happen you can easily save your work by restoring your files. BackUp Breeze is a great backup plugin that allows you to take backup of your WordPress site with just one click in a matter of minutes.
10. Use AntiVirus Protection
You can never go wrong with antivirus. AntiVirus for WordPress is effective in protecting your WordPress site against security attacks as well as spam. The plugin has a manual testing feature that gives an immediate result of the infected files. The daily automatic check feature checks your site for malware daily and sends you email notifications.
The antivirus is easy to use. Configure the AntiVirus to automatically scan your files and database daily. The daily notifications are great because they will keep you aware of any security problems and address them immediately.
11. Keep your Software Up to Date
WordPress developers are always updating the platform to fight vulnerabilities in WordPress. It’s, therefore, important to you always keep your installations and security plugins up to date. Set your WordPress site and plugins to update automatically whenever new versions are released. This way, you can be sure not to forget.
Again, as mentioned, there’s no full guarantee to keeping your website secure from vulnerabilities. It’s however, best to be careful about the safety measures and try as best as you can to enforce them. With the above-mentioned tips, you can improve your WordPress admin area security and keep hackers at bay. At first, this may seem as overwhelming but the best part is that most of the plugins need to be installed once and will do the rest without much input from you.