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WordPress Security 101: Atomic Social’s Guide to Keeping Your Website Safe

At Atomic Social, we understand the power of WordPress as a content management system and its popularity in powering websites around the globe. With great power, however, comes great responsibility—particularly when it comes to security. WordPress sites, if not properly secured, can be vulnerable to a range of security threats. Here’s our comprehensive guide to keeping your WordPress website safe, combining our expertise in digital marketing with best practices in cybersecurity.

Keep Everything Updated

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your WordPress site is to keep all elements of the site updated. This includes the core WordPress software, themes, and plugins. Updates often contain patches for security vulnerabilities, and failing to update is one of the most common ways websites are compromised.

Atomic Social Tip: Set aside time each month to check for updates, or enable auto-updates for WordPress core, themes, and plugins.

Choose Secure Hosting

The foundation of your website’s security starts with your hosting service. Opt for a hosting provider known for taking security seriously. Features to look for include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular backups.

Atomic Social Tip: We recommend using a host that offers managed WordPress hosting, as they provide specific configurations optimized for WordPress security.

Use Strong Passwords and User Permissions

Weak passwords are a common entry point for attackers. Ensure that all accounts, especially those with admin access, use strong, unique passwords. Additionally, limit the number of users who have administrative access to your site.

Atomic Social Tip: Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added layer of security on all user accounts.

Install a Security Plugin

Security plugins can significantly enhance your WordPress site’s security by adding features such as firewalls, security scanning, and the ability to limit login attempts. Some popular options include Wordfence, Sucuri, and iThemes Security.

Atomic Social Tip: Regularly review and configure security plugin settings to ensure they are optimized for your specific site needs.

Regular Backups

Regular backups are your safety net in the event of a security breach. If your site is compromised, having a recent backup means you can restore it to its last safe state without losing significant amounts of data.

Atomic Social Tip: Automate your backups to ensure they’re performed regularly and store them in a secure, off-site location.

Secure Your wp-config.php File

The wp-config.php file contains your WordPress site’s crucial configuration details and is a goldmine for hackers. Protect it by moving it outside the public_html directory and setting proper file permissions.

Atomic Social Tip: Add an extra layer of protection by denying access to the wp-config.php file via the .htaccess file.

Disable File Editing

WordPress allows administrators to edit PHP files of plugins and themes directly from the dashboard. Disabling this feature helps prevent a compromised admin account from being used to edit files maliciously.

Atomic Social Tip: Add the following line of code to your wp-config.php file to disable file editing: define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true);

Implement HTTPS

Using HTTPS is critical for securing the data transferred between your website and your users. It also boosts your SEO rankings.

Atomic Social Tip: Obtain an SSL certificate from your hosting provider, or use a free service like Let’s Encrypt.

Monitor and Audit Activity

Knowing what is happening on your site is crucial for maintaining security. Use auditing and monitoring tools to keep track of changes and user activities on your WordPress site.

Atomic Social Tip: Consider plugins like WP Activity Log to monitor and log user actions, helping you trace any unusual activity back to its source.

Conclusion

At Atomic Social, we believe that securing a WordPress site is not just about installing the right plugins or choosing the best host; it’s about adopting a holistic approach to security. By following these tips and continuously educating yourself on best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of security threats and ensure that your site remains a safe and trusted place for your visitors.

 

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