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Hackernoon logo10 Reasons Wordpress Sites Get Hacked and How to Avoid Them by@zubairkhan

10 Reasons Wordpress Sites Get Hacked and How to Avoid Them

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@zubairkhanZubair Hussain Khan

Zubair is a tech geek who loves technology and writing about it.

WordPress, the most popular CMS platform among business owners, and hackers' most favorite platform to mess up. There have been a lot of data breaches in recent times. Beyond the big names, even small business owners lost their value. Security breaches, unfortunately, are quite real.

You might be wondering now how that is even possible, but sadly it is. And now you must be having second thoughts but don't worry, we’ve got your back! In this article, we have shared the top 10 reasons why your WordPress websites are vulnerable to hacking and how this can be prevented.

If any of these are lacking in your site, make sure to remedy them asap. It's just not worth putting your business at risk.

1. Not Securing WordPress Configuration wp-config.php File

WordPress configuration file (wp-config.php) contains WordPress database login credentials. If compromised, it will disclose crucial information that could give a hacker complete access to your website.

An extra layer of protection can be added by denying access to the wp-config file using .ht access.

Add the following code to the .htaccess file to secure your site.

2. Insecure Web Hosting

The hosting provider has a large impact on the security of your website. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a reputable hosting provider that offers premium security to keep your site safe from getting hacked.

Besides supporting the latest versions of MySQL and PHP, they should regularly perform scans for malware and daily backups.

It's an excellent idea to choose a hosting provider specializing in running websites based on the platform and offers a WordPress-optimized environment.

We also recommend you stay away from pure shared hosting solutions to avoid such a problem.

3. Using Weak Passwords

Besides a poor hosting environment, weak passwords are also responsible for a good number of hacks. This is exclusively true for brute force attacks in which hackers run a script that inputs random usernames and passwords until one fits.

This sounds quite stupid, but unfortunately, it works.

First and for all, adhere to the following best practices for WordPress password:

  • Frequently change your passwords; if you don't, you need to set a reminder on your phone.
  • Create or choose a unique password. Wp password generator can be used to generate a strong one.
  • If it's a multi-user account, instruct others to do the same.
  • And most importantly, store passwords in a secure place.
  • It is recommended to WordPress beginners to check the guide to how to manage WordPress account passwords

4. Not Changing the WordPress Table Prefix

Experts highly recommend changing the default wp table prefix. By default, it is set to wp_, which is commonly known. For that reason, leaving it as it is will make your website more vulnerable.

To increase your site security, it’s a really good idea to change it to something totally random and impossible for the hacker to guess like 5y3456jik90@.

One way to do it is to do it manually; however, this manual procedure is more time-consuming. An alternative and more easy way is to do so using iThemes Security. At the touch of a button, the plugin will carry out all the necessary operations automatically.

5. Unprotected Access to wp-admin

WordPress admin area gives user access to perform different actions on the WordPress site. Since websites made on this platform are most likely to get attacked.

This allows hackers to try different tactics to crack your website.

As a preventive measure, add extra layers of authentication to secure your site and make it difficult for hackers to crack.

Choose a unique password to protect the WordPress admin area. When any hacker tries to access the wp-admin area, they will have to provide an extra password.

Adding two-factor authentications makes it more difficult for hackers to crack your site.

6. Using Admin as WordPress Username:

Using ‘admin’ as a WordPress username is not recommended. If your administrator username is admin, you should immediately change that to a different username to avoid the security breaches.

7. Not Updating WordPress

Generally, WordPress users are afraid of updating it. They fear doing so might break their website.

That is why experts advise to update WordPress. A new version of WordPress fixes security vulnerabilities and bugs.

Not updating WordPress is like leaving the keys outside your house for burglars to break in.

To be on the safer side, we suggest to make a complete backup before running any update. For instance, if something doesn't work after the update, you can easily revert the previous version of WordPress.

8. Not Updating Plugins or Themes:

Through vulnerable WordPress themes and plugins, sites are more likely to get hacked. Even the best, most well-maintained themes and plugins can have a security issue.

To minimize the risk, here are few tips on how to deal with themes and plugins;

  • Get rid of absolutely unnecessary themes or plugins.
  • Update themes and plugins. For instance, if a plugin has not been updated for more than a year, you should better start looking for an alternative.
  • Avoid installing themes and plugins for WordPress sites from untrustworthy resources. Free plugins and themes might seem compelling but can be harmful.
  • We suggest you follow these guidelines to prevent your site from breaking.

9. Nulled Themes and Plugins

Getting a paid plugin or theme for free seems compelling. Many websites on the internet distribute paid WordPress themes and plugins for free.

Downloading WordPress themes or plugins from unreliable sources is very risky. This not only compromises your website security but also can be used to steal confidential information.

Always download WordPress themes and plugins from trustworthy sources such as Official WordPress repositories.

If you cannot pay for or don’t want to buy a premium WordPress theme or plugin or theme, then go for free available alternatives for those products. Even if free plugins may not be good as their paid counterparts, they still get the job done and, most importantly, keep your site safe.

10. Visible WordPress Version Number

Talking about being up to date, by default, WordPress adds a Meta tag to your website’s head section. This exhibits which version of the CMS you are using.

Particularly if your site is not up to the minute, it will help hackers find known vulnerabilities.

Below is a functional piece of code that prevents WordPress from doing so:

remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator');

Once add it to your functions.php file, you are sorted.

We hope the above-mentioned factors will help you in future should you face any of these issues.

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