Securing a WordPress website involves a combination of practices, including using secure hosting configurations, regularly updating WordPress and its plugins/themes, and implementing strong security measures.
While plugins can be useful for enhancing WordPress security, they should not be relied upon as the sole means of protection. Here are some steps you can take to secure WordPress when hosting on Apache or Nginx:
Keep WordPress, plugins, and themes updated: Regularly update your WordPress installation, plugins, and themes to ensure you have the latest security patches and bug fixes. Outdated software can be vulnerable to known exploits.
Use reputable plugins: Choose plugins from trusted sources, preferably those with a strong track record of security updates and active support. Popular security plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, or iThemes Security can provide additional security features.
Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF): A WAF can help filter and block malicious traffic before it reaches your WordPress installation. Plugins like Wordfence and Sucuri provide WAF functionality and can protect against common attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting.
Enable SSL/TLS encryption: Set up a valid SSL/TLS certificate to encrypt data transmitted between your visitors and your website. This can help secure sensitive information, such as login credentials and user data. Let’s Encrypt is a free and popular certificate authority.
Secure file permissions: Ensure that file permissions are set correctly on your WordPress installation. Restrict write permissions to the necessary files and directories while making them readable to the web server. A plugin like iThemes Security can assist with this task.
Harden server configurations: Regardless of the web server (Apache or Nginx), apply best security practices at the server level. This includes disabling directory listing, securing server files, and implementing strong access controls.
Use strong login credentials: Enforce strong passwords for all user accounts, including administrators, editors, and authors. Consider implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security. Plugins like Two-Factor Authentication or Google Authenticator can help.
Limit login attempts: Brute force attacks are common on WordPress sites. Install a plugin like Login Lockdown or Wordfence to limit the number of login attempts from a specific IP address and enforce temporary lockouts.
Disable XML-RPC: XML-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol that can be exploited for malicious purposes. Disable it unless you have a specific reason to use it. Plugins like Disable XML-RPC or iThemes Security can handle this.
Regularly backup your site: Implement a robust backup strategy to ensure that you have a recent copy of your website’s data. In the event of a security incident, you can restore your site to a known good state. Use plugins like UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy to simplify the backup process.
Remember that security is an ongoing process. Stay informed about the latest security practices and be proactive in implementing them. Regularly monitor your website for any suspicious activity or vulnerabilities and address them promptly.