WordPress is one of the most popular page building platforms on the internet. (Credit: StickerGiant)
WordPress is one of the most popular page building platforms in the world, mainly because it’s free, open source for website building, and intuitive for non-technical bloggers. In non-geek parlance, WordPress is the easiest and most powerful blog and website builder to date.
On a more mechanical level, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) written in the PHP coding language that uses deep database algorithms in its design. It offers hundreds of ready-to-use designs ranging from blogs to e-commerce to corporate and portfolio websites, whether for large or small websites.
WP allows admins to add multiple authors and other user roles, which can be a security concern. See ithemes.com for a detailed description of the platform’s many features.
USERS — An administrator is the primary manager role in WordPress. When a user installs WordPress, they create a new user with the username and password set during installation. Any first user is assigned the role of administrator to perform all actions on a WordPress website and have all the features. You can add 35 users to your private blog and later purchase the unlimited private users upgrade if you want to add more. If you refer to a public blog, there is no limit to the number of official users you can add.
Web content expert Andrew Mathew asks: My WordPress website has never been hacked. Do I still need security? Yes.
TIPS — Statistics reveal that 50,000 websites are hacked every day due to WordPress plugin vulnerabilities. Plugins are software that you can upload to your website to add more functionality. Attackers use automated tools to try hundreds of username-password combinations. Then they keep trying until they get the correct credentials. If successful, they can access all password-protected information.
Although no website platform is 100% secure, WordPress continues to improve with a team of developers and core users pushing out security patches. Research suggests that WordPress plugins cause 90% of vulnerabilities; 4% belong to core WordPress files and the remaining 6% to WordPress themes. WordPress security issues are usually due to user error, rather than the software itself. Many website administrators do not realize that their portals have already been hacked, a situation that can lead to irreparable loss, damage to your reputation and decrease your income. Then Google marks your website as unsafe. That’s when WPScan and other security platforms come in to help.
SCANNERS — One of the main types of attacks is denial of service (DoS). Hackers overload the server with traffic demands by constantly asking for resources which results in server crash. When this happens, even authorized users cannot access the website. The WPScan CLI tool is a free, non-commercial use WordPress security scanner designed for security professionals and bloggers to test the security of a website.
You can use it to scan your WordPress website for known vulnerabilities in WordPress core and popular WordPress plugins and themes. Since it is a WordPress black box scanner, it mimics a real attacker. Other security plugins for WordPress are Sucuri, Jetpack Security, Wordfence, BulletProof Security, All In One WP Security & Firewall, and Google Authenticator. This site explains it in more detail.
Mathews recommends WP users focus on two basic scenarios to stay above any vulnerabilities.
GUARANTEES — One hosts. Where a user places their website is crucial for security. Good web hosting should take some basic steps to keep your website secure, including firewalls to block any malicious traffic.
They will also keep an eye on the entire network as a well-organized system instantly detects any suspicious activity and takes appropriate action to prevent further attacks. Another guarantee is updating. The user must ensure that everything is up to date. This includes server software, PHP versions, hardware, disaster recovery and crash plans. Otherwise, hackers can easily exploit old security vulnerabilities.
Fortunately, WordPress providers maintain and update the platform regularly. The system automatically performs minor updates after each major release. But the WordPress webmaster should also update to the latest versions of plugins and themes as they are required to deal with vulnerabilities. The update contains the cures for new viruses and malware. Carefully, a good administrator also changes the default username frequently.