How To Protect Your WordPress Site From Hackers
BY: Chris Makara
Dec 18, 2013
Home > Blog > How To Protect Your WordPress Site From Hackers

WordPress is the most popular content management systems (CMS) for websites. In fact I use it not only for this site, but for the majority of client sites as well. It is extremely flexible and can be customized for just about any business need. Previously, I have discussed the importance of focusing on your own website over social media, and whether you need a simple business website or a full blown e-commerce shopping cart, WordPress can meet almost any business need.

Unfortunately with most CMS platforms there will be those who look to expose loopholes within those systems, which means that WordPress is not exempt from these hackers. In fact, WordPress is frequently updated not only to add new features, but to close known loopholes.

However, you should not rely solely on the most recent update to for WordPress protection. I will give you my list of plugins that can help strengthen your site and how to protect your WordPress site from hackers. While nothing will protect you 100% from attacks, using these plugins will definitely decrease the chances of it happening through better WordPress security measures.

Take a Stand Against WordPress Hackers

Most hackers will look for anyway into your WordPress site they can find. Most commonly through attempting to login to your site through /wp-admin/. Luckily for us, there are some good plugins to help combat these attempts.

Bulletproof Security

One of the more popular methods for protecting a WordPress site against XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection attacks is through the use of this plugin.

While it might be overwhelming at first glance after installing it, this plugin does quite a bit with minimal effort on your part. Simply follow the steps and messages displayed and you will easily get your website protected against common attacks found on WordPress sites.

Protect WordPress against hacking attempts

Login Security Solution

This simply plugin will block brute force attacks and track login IP addresses, usernames, and passwords. It takes just mere seconds to install and configure. A feature that I like is the option to setup email notifications of breach attempts so you can be immediately notified of any suspicious activity on your site.

Get the WordPress Login Security Solution

Protect Your WordPress Files

Being proactive in monitoring and protecting your WordPress files provides your site better chances of preventing malicious injections that will ultimately compromise your website.

WordPress Antivirus

This plugin is as simple as it can get. Once installed, just provide an email address for notifications. This plugin will automatically scan your files daily and send you an email notification should something need your attention.

Install WordPress Antivirus

WordPress File Monitor Plus

Knowing when a file has been added, changed, or deleted automatically will help you combat potential hackers. Installing this plugin is a breeze and straightforward.

Among the options you have are email notifications, admin alerts, and include/exclude the monitoring of specific file extensions.

Monitor WordPress file changes 

WordPress Update Notifications

If you are like me, you are often guilty of “ignoring” the update available notification you get when you are logged into your WordPress admin panel. Additionally, if you have many WordPress sites, it can be tough to stay on top of which installations or plugins need to be updated. By not updating your plugins and files, you are opening the door to having your site compromised.

This simple plugin will email you whenever an update is needed. Now there is no more excuses for not updating your installation and plugins.

Get notified of updates for WordPress plugins and core files

Backing Up Your WordPress Site

If you do not have a current backup of your WordPress site, you are severely risking all of the hard work you have put in to building your site. Would your site get hacked, it can be very costly to fix, or even worse you could actually lose all your files. There are many plugins available (as you will see below) which can automate this process for you. I recommend using a combination of plugins to ensure you have multiple instances of backups should one become corrupt or unable to be opened/re-installed.

Having a clean backup will allow you to easily fix your hacked WordPress site in most cases by re-uploading a previous instance of your website.

Online backup for WordPress

This simple plugin will allow you to easily backup your WordPress site. Like many WordPress backup plugins, this one is simple to install. This plugin encrypts your data while it is downloaded, emailed, and stored.

One potential disadvantage is that the service used to store your backup will only store up to 100MB for free. If your backup is larger, you may have to pay for more storage.

Backup WordPress online

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

To me, this plugin is a no brainer. Dropbox is excellent for many reasons (to get an account click here). Your basic Dropbox account should have more than enough storage space for your WordPress backup unless you have thousands of posts, images, etc. on your site. Even then, simply upgrade your Dropbox account and you should have enough storage space.

What is great about this plugin is that it is truly a set it and forget it WordPress backup plugin. Simply install it and connect it to your Dropbox account, configure a few settings and you are good to go. Be sure to select your database to be backed up as well.

Backup WordPress to Dropbox

Google Drive for WordPress

As an avid user of Google Drive, backing up my WordPress site to this service makes perfect sense. This plugin is simple to setup and before you know it, your Google Drive account will be connected to your WordPress site.

When setting this up, be sure to click “yes” to backup your database as well. If you do not select this, then you are only backing up your files.

Backup WordPress with Google Drive

How are You Protecting Your WordPress Site?

While there are no doubt many available plugins for protecting your WordPress site, which ones do you use on your websites? Have you found them to help minimize successful hacking attempts on your website? Or, maybe you have put off being proactive and ended up with a monster headache trying to get your site back online?

Sound off with your experiences, both good and bad in the comments below.

Or if you know a business owner who has had issues protecting their site, be sure to send them a link to this post on how to secure WordPress.

Chris Makara

Chris Makara

I have over 12 years of experience in Interactive Marketing & Digital Strategy, with a focus on SEO, Social Media & Demand Generation. I am an avid Football Fan, Golf Enthusiast & Ambidextrous Bowler. I can also be found on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Chris Makara
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49 Comments on "How To Protect Your WordPress Site From Hackers"

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Elmarie Porthouse
Guest
Elmarie Porthouse
2 years 7 months ago

Thanks for these, Chris. There are some I haven’t installed but really need.

Michael Musto
Guest
Michael Musto
2 years 3 months ago

Great advice! I use most of these already Chris, but one I hadn’t used, helped out a ton just today. The Login Security Solution plugin has stopped the flow of spam account registrations. I was getting up to 30 per day, but I haven’t had any since yesterday after I installed it.

Alex Cooper
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

I’m a big fan of the Google Authentication plugin. It offers two factor authentication for your WordPress sure alongside your other authentication apps.

Dale Morris
Guest
Dale Morris
2 years 1 month ago

Hey Chris,
I’m personally liking Securi, Backup Buddy and a couple of other simpler backup apps. I completely agree with you as to having a backup system to your backup system.
Another nice article.
Thanks,
Dale

Jan Koch
Guest
1 year 9 months ago

Very interesting post, a friend shared it with me on Twitter.
I protect my site as follows:
I use the WordPress firewall WordFence that monitors file changes, login attacks, blocks IP ranges that are known to be malicious, etc.
My site is backed up weekly to my Dropbox account. I have hardened the file permissions and removed the wp-index.php from my WP root folder. My database user has the minimal rights necessary. My .htaccess contains some neat stuff to prevent attacks. I’m currently outlining a plan to move to SSL. And some more things :-)

Cheers,
Jan

Steven
Guest
Steven
1 year 9 months ago

Awesome tips, Chris ☺ I use the following (using them alongside each other makes it a nightmare to hackers):

1. WP Content Copy Protection (a ton of content protection features and a personal favorite simply because it works, and its the best in content protection) : http://yooplugins.com/downloads/wp-content-copy-protection-pro/ (free version available here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-content-copy-protection/)

2. CodeCipher : obfuscate your HTML and encrypt your JS source code output (keep source away from hackers) : http://yooplugins.com/downloads/wp-codecipher/

3. WP Image Copyright notice (adds elegant image copyright notice to image context and can be used to extend WPCCP) : http://yooplugins.com/downloads/wp-image-copyright-notice/

4. Printoflauge : can be used to extend WPCCP – replaces users printing clipboard with warning message : http://yooplugins.com/downloads/wp-printoflauge/

5. Pic-Decoy – The BEST image protection plugin for WordPress (in the world) : replaces all your images with invisible blank images and when a user attempts to copy your images (in any way possible), then blank images are served instead of the real ones : http://yooplugins.com/downloads/wp-pic-decoy/

Fatima Hussain
Guest
Fatima Hussain
1 year 3 months ago

Great stuff! I get lost and emotional if I get minor issues with my Blog! I can’t imagine what I’d do if something major happened! This information is very useful, Hosting company has suspended my account due to some infected files uploaded by hacker 0r i don’t know my site name is brightverge.com please share some tips to make strong my site security. I thank you for you time & effort, it’s clearly not one of these 5 minutes posts! Quality! Love it, regards

John Crooks
Guest
4 months 15 days ago

Thanks for the list, your blog posts are consistently worth reading.
I’m curious about your Popup (that encourages newsletter signups)? Is it a plugin or have you custom-coded it? Nice new effect on it, too!
For plugins, I found P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) which shows how much lag time each plugin is using on your site — helps decide whether a plugin is worth using or not.
Thanks!

Mohd Arif
Guest
4 months 3 days ago

I really love the security plugin called Wordfence. It allow me to auto block any IP trying to hack my site, it notifies me of out-of-date plugins, and if you do get hacked it will show you which files have been changed, then show you a comparison of before and after, and easily allow you to go back to the previous version of any file. The basic model is also free with the option of a more advanced paid model. Very slick and super easy to set up and use.

Mohd Arif
Guest
2 months 7 days ago

thank you for sharing this informative piece of work. I have been using yoast plugin since last few years. The plugin is simple, yet covers all the essential features required to optimize the blog for search results.

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I’m Chris Makara and I share my 13+ years of
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without the theories or concepts.