WordPress Security for Beginners

Whether you’re launching a business site, an online store, or a hobby blog, WordPress offers flexibility, ease of use, and advanced functionality that will help make it a smashing success.

But before you’re ready to go live, spend a few minutes thinking about security. Protect your site as much as possible to keep it safe from hackers and accessible to fans and customers at all times.

Why is security important?

Your website is your public face to the world. It tells your visitors who you are, what kind of content and services you offer, and what they can expect from your brand. It’s a place to make a great first impression and build trust and loyalty with your existing fans.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your website is up and running at all times. If it suddenly includes links to malware, starts running very slowly due to injected software, or goes offline altogether, it will impact your reputation.

If your site is hacked, you could also lose money due to decreased views, sales, or ad impressions. There may also be costs involved in restoring it to good working order. So, to save money (and save face!) make sure your website is locked down and secure.

How to keep your WordPress site safe

1. Choose a quality host

Your hosting company is your security partner and it’s important to choose one with a good reputation. You get what you pay for, and many discount hosts don’t implement solid security practices.

Choose a provider with WordPress-specific packages and features like regular backups, live 24/7 access to support, and an SSL certificate (which protects your site visitor’s data). A company with good knowledge and a strong reputation is worth additional costs. Here’s a list of recommended hosts to get you started.

2. Keep software up to date

The number one way to keep your website secure is to regularly update your software: WordPress, themes, and plugins. New releases often patch security vulnerabilities, so the sooner you update, the better.

You can also minimize WordPress security risks by choosing trusted plugins that are stable and meet more than one need at a time. For example, Jetpack Security offers an entire suite of features built into the single Jetpack plugin. So you can also benefit from additional functionality without installing dozens of plugins and increasing the risk of an issue.

3. Create secure usernames and passwords

Keep hackers guessing by choosing a unique username and secure password. Use at least 20 characters, an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and symbol.

If you’re building a site with additional users, make sure you set the correct permissions for each one. You may not want your new intern to have access to core files or other important data, for example. This is a great article about user permissions for WooCommerce, but much of it applies to any kind of site. 

4. Set up off-site backups

Backups are critical for protecting your content, hard work, and customer or visitor data. No matter the issue with your site, having a full backup on hand means that you can quickly get up and running again. 

And if your files are stored off site, then they’re uploaded to the cloud, rather than to your host. So even if you lose access to your site or if your server is compromised, you can still restore a clean version.

illustration showing a backup restored

Real-time backups are the best choice for online stores, membership forums, or websites that are regularly updated. Jetpack saves a copy of your site each time something changes: a sale is made, a page is updated, or a comment is added. This means that you won’t lose a single sale or piece of information, no matter what happens.

Jetpack Backup offers both real-time and daily backups, so there’s a perfect solution for everyone, especially for WooCommerce stores.

5. Add brute force attack protection

Brute force attacks occur when hackers use bots to guess thousands of username/password combinations until they finally gain access to your site.  

Jetpack’s free brute force attack protection feature blocks suspicious IP addresses, ensuring that hackers can’t get in. 

6. Scan for malware

If a hacker does manage to get in, you want to know right away so you can troubleshoot. Jetpack Scan automatically searches your site for malware, alerting you immediately if anything is found. You can even fix the majority of known hacks with just one click, saving you both time and money. You’ll rest easy knowing that someone is monitoring your website 24/7.

Jetpack scan searching a site for malware

7. Implement downtime monitoring

Whether it’s the result of a malicious attack or a simple mistake, if your website goes down, you need to take immediate action. But you don’t have time to reload your site all day long!

Jetpack’s downtime monitoring feature watches over your site 24/7 and notifies you if it stops responding. You can then then use the activity log to determine exactly what went wrong and when, so you can respond appropriately and get back up and running within minutes, not hours or days.

Ready to launch

Putting the work into proper WordPress security from the beginning sets your site up for success and helps it run safely and efficiently for years to come. And with the Jetpack Security package, you can check off the majority of items on this list in just a few minutes — no need for a developer or complicated setup.

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