If you use WordPress to run your blog, you’ve got a ton of company. It’s the most popular resource for bloggers, used by thousands and thousands of people. It’s fairly simple, with an intuitive interface and an almost unlimited amount of possible customization. With all of the customer support available and the massive amount of blogs they service, you probably haven’t once worried about the security of WordPress. But believe it or not, intruders break into WordPress blogs far more often than you’d expect. It’s not entirely their fault, but if you take a look at databases that track website vulnerabilities, you’ll find WordPress has dozens and dozens of access points for the savvy hacker. No software or web platform is perfect, but the fact that WordPress is an open source system may have a great deal to do with it. So if you’d like to insure that your blog stays safe from online intruders, follow these top five ways to improve WordPress blog security.
Probably the most important step you can take is securing all of your WordPress databases. Any time you interact with your readership, databases are created. WordPress can use a database regardless of if it is dedicated solely to your blog or utilized by additional online applications. Just to be safe, use your databases exclusively for WordPress. That will limit your exposure. To further protect your system, make sure the user access to the database is extremely limited. Basically, you only want them to be able to add and edit a comment, and that’s about it. And make sure your database is secured by a strong password you regularly change.
The next fix is simple, and that’s changing the default administrator username. Any manual installations you do with WordPress will modify your database. As part of the process, you should change the admin username. It’s generally set as ‘admin’. Jump into the MySQL and change it to something else, and you’ll lower the risk of someone hacking in and making changes without your knowledge.
You should also make sure that you keep up with the latest upgrades from WordPress. They often release updated software versions, and the vast majority of the time the upgrade is designed to fix a security problem. Even if there are no other features involved that impact you, take the time to upload this new version. Just as you would quickly take care of these updates on your operating system, the sooner you are safe from those blog security concerns, the better.
Next, take a look at how the general public can interact with the directories on your blog. Most website hosting services allow the index of directories to show up in all web browsers. Although there is a purpose to this, it also means that anyone with a bit of programming knowledge can look over the content of any directory. You’ll need to use Apache to adjust this, but then random hackers won’t be able to check out the inner workings of your site.
Finally, protect all of your administration files. All WordPress web hosting services lay the administration files in your admin directory. That allows you to modify elements of your site, but also gives access to others. Make sure you configure it to allow users from only one or two IP addresses to gain access. You’ll have to always work on your blog from the same inetwork, at least as far as administrative changes are concerned. But you’ll vastly reduce the potential harm to your site.