WordPress is a great thing. You can sometimes create a blog without any programming knowledge. And that in just a few minutes. A large number of startups are now relying on the content management system.
In addition, WordPress websites are extremely flexible and adaptable. Just find a theme and also download and activate some plugins. The perfect website is ready.
But many website operators forget about security. This has become enormously important in this day and age. More and more attack attempts and sneaky methods to get the access data for the admin login.
Those who do not protect themselves adequately have a problem at some point. There is never 100 percent security. However, you can make it as difficult as possible for the attackers. In this guest article I want to show you why you should do this.
1. Most popular software for blogs
WordPress is the most popular software for websites worldwide. Not only blogs rely on it. In December 2020 WordPress had a market share of 63.9 percent among the content management systems. In addition, there were 1.22 million blogger-based websites on the Internet as of December.
However, this awareness is also a disadvantage in terms of security. Because well-known software repeatedly provokes attempts that are aimed at compromising. After all, there are many potential victims on the internet.
2. Open source software
The WordPress source code is regularly published on the Internet so that developers can participate in the project. After all, the project is voluntary and therefore relies on the help of other people.
Conversely, the source code is just as accessible to hackers. They can pick out the weak points in peace.
It is all the easier for the attacker to exploit vulnerabilities – especially with older software. That is why it is often advised to have the current version of WordPress in use.
If you don’t keep your system up-to-date, you expose yourself to increased security risks. This is not only advisable for WordPress, but also for all other IT systems.
3. You process data from third parties
The data of your visitors and customers should be sacred to you. After all, they put their trust in you. A successful attack means the loss of this data. The hacker can fall back on it and launch further attacks.
For you, it’s not just lost trust. You may have to take further measures to protect your visitors’ data.
In any case, I would inform the data subjects so that they can change their passwords and take countermeasures.
According to the General Data Protection Regulation, you are even obliged to report the incident to the authorities. However, that depends somewhat on the type of data that has fallen into the hands of third parties. The more sensitive the data, the greater the consequences can be.
4. Liability for the content
As a website operator, you not only publish texts on a medium on the Internet. You can be held liable for what you spread.
So if your website has been hacked, it is possible that you are spreading malicious code on it. This in turn can, under certain circumstances, cause damage to visitors.
You are responsible for everything that is on your website. Therefore, third parties can hold you liable for any damage. For this reason I can only strongly advise you not to take the security of your WordPress website lightly!
5. Losing content means losing rankings
If you do not secure your blog sufficiently, it can happen that all content is changed or even deleted. Depending on what the attackers are pursuing.
In the worst case, all of your data is gone. Many websites make a living from the published content. Especially since more and more entrepreneurs are keeping up with digitization and offering their services on the Internet.
If your content disappears, you have another big problem. Deleting or changing the content could result in the loss of search engine rankings. Anyone who receives a large number of visitors via Google search could then be faced with a challenge.
Not only because the texts have to be rewritten. In the same way, the search engine rankings have to be adjusted again. Bringing a post to the top in Google Search takes time and sometimes costs a lot of money. Money that is invested in link building or various measures.
A total loss would therefore be fatal. But no fear! There are enough techniques to prevent such an incident from occurring. Then, just in case, you have not lost all your work and are back at the beginning.
EXTRA: 11 important WordPress plugins for your blog
What can you do for more security?
When it comes to safety, the main thing is to be clear about what can happen in the worst case.
The most important measures that website operators can take, even without much knowledge, are:
- Use strong and long passwords
- Always update software
- Make regular backups of the website
- Establishment of a 2-factor authentication
- Never send the access data in plain text or make them available to third parties
- Change all access data in the event of a security incident
- Use secure connections (including SSL certificate)
- Use the secure SSH connection when uploading using an FTP program
If you are the majority of WordPress users, plugins are not always the right solution. A 2-factor authentication can, for example, also be carried out using htaccess protection.
You don’t need a plugin for this, because these are also a security risk. At least the risk increases the more you install and thus increase the size of the code.
No question about it, WordPress gives you many options to set up a website. It doesn’t matter whether you have knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP or not. Basically, that doesn’t matter because WordPress can also be used intuitively by laypeople.
Nevertheless, security plays an immensely important role. Because even a small WordPress database can store some personal data, albeit mostly in anonymous form.
If your data falls into the wrong hands, attackers can also view your visitors / customers as a target. And the more sensitive the stored data, the greater the potential damage can be.
For this reason, you should definitely start to secure your WordPress website so that it is not made easy for attackers. You cannot secure a technical system 100 percent. That is not feasible. But with a few basic measures, a hacker will have a very difficult time with you and may move on to an easier target.