You may think that just because you have not been targeted by hackers in the past or because your website doesn’t get much traffic that the coast is clear. However, let me be the first to say that intruders can hack into your WordPress site at any time – without warning.

Logging onto your WordPress site only to see a blank screen, or even worse malicious code or spammy marketing messages that you didn’t create is no fun. Yet, every day this happens to countless WordPress site owners who experience the misfortune of being hacked. Here’s what you can do to protect your WP site from hackers.

Always Backup and Update Your WordPress Website

There are several reasons that you should back up your website. First, if your site goes down or a hacker breaches your admin panel, backups can help to restore your website and all of the files within it to its original state. Furthermore, there may be times when something as innocuous as a theme or plugin update breaks your site. While this is not a frequent occurrence, if it does happen you’ll be glad that you had a backup in place.

So do yourself a favor by regularly backing up your WP site or at the very least doing it before making changes to your site; this includes template and plugin updates, as well as edits to PHP files or CSS stylesheets.

Also, in case you’re wondering, there is an easy way to perform backups on your WordPress website. Namely, a slew of backup plugins. Two of my favorites are a) BackupBuddy, which is paid but definitely worth it and b) a free plugin called Backup. Both are great, but if you don’t mind spending a few bucks, I’d definitely consider BackupBuddy. Otherwise, Backup should suffice.

In addition to keeping your site backed up you also want to be sure to keep your plugins and template up to date. Otherwise, your unused or expired plugins and themes could act as a ‘back door’ that gives hackers an easy entry point into your WordPress site. An added benefit of removing unused plugins is that doing so can speed up your page load times considerably.

Take Advantage of WordPress Security Plugins

wordpress-pluginsWordPress security plugins are another tool that you should consider adding to your security arsenal. You can look at them as virtual guards that prevent intruders from gaining entry into your website, in that they alert you of suspicious files or activity operating within your site, and more importantly they keep hackers out.

The security plugins I’m most familiar with are Sucuri and Wordfence. They protect your site by regularly scanning it for unwanted activities. The two plugins also have the ability to block access to the WordPress dashboard after a certain number of failed login attempts. Although both plugins are free, they also offer premium options that give you additional functionality.

Choose Strong Usernames and Passwords

Hackers know that unless you change it, ‘admin’ is the default username for WordPress installations; this is why it’s best that you replace the default login with one of your choosing. Preferably it should be one that it isn’t easy for hackers to figure out.

Likewise, it is just as critical that you choose a strong password. Most security experts agree that the strongest passwords consist of a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numerals, and symbols. Doing so, in conjunction with a security plugin should prevent hackers from breaking into your site.

Follow these tips, and you shouldn’t have a problem preventing hackers from accessing your WordPress dashboard. But should you run into problems, WPsitehelpers is here to help.