7 Tips For Building Secure WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins can enhance a website’s functionality. They can provide a variety of functions, including security, search engine optimization, and performance optimization.
Security plugins can help keep websites safe from cyberattacks. However, they must be properly installed and configured.
Hackers often exploit outdated plugins to gain access to sites. This can lead to security breaches and denial-of-service attacks.
1. Secure Your Code
Regardless of how many plugins your site has, insecure code can still present a major threat. It can take the form of cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injections, or remote file uploads. Hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to your website’s database and steal sensitive information.
To avoid them, it’s important to keep up with WordPress updates and only use reputable plugins from developers you trust. You should also have a policy for safe plugins that your team can follow to ensure the ones they install are secure. This includes using a list of themes and plugins with known security issues, as well as limiting the number of plugins on your website to reduce the surface area for attacks.
Another top tip for keeping your website secure is to use strong passwords. This is especially important for users with high-level roles like admins and editors. The No Weak Passwords plugin can help you enforce strong passwords by requiring visitors to select one that contains upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and is at least 12 characters long. It can also prevent them from selecting a password that is common on other sites or that they’ve used before.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Using strong passwords is one of the most important things you can do to secure your WordPress website. But, even with security best practices and a robust password manager in place, there’s still a risk that some weak passwords could be cracked by brute force attacks or distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS).
Thankfully, there are many WordPress plugins that help protect against both brute force attacks and DDoS attacks. Several of these password protection tools offer a variety of features, such as reCAPTCHA support, two-factor authentication integration, and more.
Another good option is Limit Login Attempts, which helps prevent brute force attacks by limiting the number of login attempts for each user. The plugin also offers a number of other security features, such as logging and email notifications if a user is blocked due to too many failed login attempts.
A few other helpful security tools include a firewall and a malware scanner. These can scan for malicious code that has been added to your site, or identify files that have been modified by bad actors. They’ll then help you remove those files from your site, helping to keep your site safe and running smoothly.
3. Install a Security Plugin
A security plugin is a quick and easy way to improve your website’s defenses. Typically, they scan your site for malware and can help repair hacks after they’ve caused damage to your files.
They also run a variety of other security features that you might find useful, such as login protection, anti-spam tools, and two-factor authentication.
There are a number of free and paid security plugins to choose from. Some, such as All In One Security and WP Cerber Security, bundle multiple features into a single package. They offer options for Google reCAPTCHA, bad user tracking, brute force attack blocking, registration honeypots, and cookie-based login protection. Others, such as WP Hide & Security Enhancer, offer more specific functions like anti-spam protection, inactive user logout, and hiding your site’s folders from intruders.
A premium option like Sucuri Security offers automated malware scanning, real-time threats monitoring, cloud protection, and a unified dashboard for all of your security tools.
It can also patch wp-login issues and scan your site’s core files for signs of backdoor scripts. It also comes with a white label option for agencies that wants to use the plugin to secure client websites. Its logging feature monitors changes to WordPress core files, the multisite network, widgets, forms, and the database.
4. Encrypt Your Data
You’ve spent a lot to create your website, and you don’t want hackers to destroy your reputation. It’s important to protect your site with security plugins that will keep it safe and functioning for visitors and customers. One of the most effective methods for minimizing WordPress hacks is to encrypt your data with a strong password. This will make it more difficult for hackers to access your data by guessing your
login URL or brute forcing usernames and passwords.
Another method is to use a plugin that monitors your website for vulnerabilities and malware, such as the free WP MU DEV Security & Scan plugin. This plugin offers a variety of tools, including a custom malware scanner, a cloud firewall, and a log of attacks to help you take action quickly.
It also enables you to block IP addresses that have been used for spam or brute force attacks. A more complete solution is the premium Security Ninja Pro, which includes a wide variety of features like malware scanning and a web application firewall starting at $29 per year. However, it’s best to choose a single comprehensive plugin rather than mixing and matching several different security tools.
5. Change Your Table
Prefix Changing the default table prefix is an excellent way to help secure your WordPress database against novice hackers. The tables in a WordPress website are created with the same prefix when it is first installed, so by simply changing this value it can make it more difficult for hackers to get into your database and find out what your site’s database information is.
The process to change this value is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll want to create a backup of your database so that you can restore it in case anything goes wrong with the changes.
You can use a tool like phpmyadmin or the FTP client for your web hosting provider to access and edit the MySQL files that contain the table configuration settings.
Once the database dump is ready, you can open it in your favorite text editor and begin the process of renaming your table prefix.
To do this, you will need to find all of the tables in your database that start with wp_ and replace them with a random string. This will include the wp_options, wp_usermeta and wp_content tables as well as any other tables that may have been created by plugins.
6. Use SSH2 (SFTP)
Connections There are times when WordPress website owners or developers need to directly edit the underlying files that make up a WordPress website. While this can be done in a limited way via the WordPress Admin, it is far more secure to use a tool like FileZilla or WinSCP (also known as SFTP clients) to manage these files.
Using a SFTP connection is also a great way to ensure that your server has the latest patches installed. This is especially important as hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated plugins and themes to gain access to your site and steal information or run a denial of service attack against it.
You should also be sure to keep your SFTP connections as secure as possible by ensuring that the server is configured to use SSL. This will help to prevent hackers from sniffing your passwords and login information as it is transmitted to the server. It is also a good idea to use a tool like ssh2key to generate an RSA key pair that can be used for SFTP authentication.
This will prevent any imposters from connecting to your server and will add a layer of security that can be used alongside a strong password for the highest level of security.
7. Activate Two-Factor
Authentication Whether your website is a single-user site or multi-user, two-factor authentication is essential forprotecting your users and preventing hackers from breaking into your WordPress website. This feature safeguards your website against phishing, password theft, and brute force attacks.
With 2FA activated, any attempt to login to your website will trigger a notification on the user’s phone or email. This notification will ask the user to verify their identity with a link or QR code generated on the website. This makes it extremely difficult for a hacker to access your website, even if they do have the username and password.
Although WordPress does not come with 2FA activated by default, there are several plugins available that do. One of the most popular is Rublon, which allows users to log in with a mobile app or by scanning a QR code on the website. The plugin also allows you to choose a backup method, such as sending verification codes to an email or printing recovery codes for the case of losing a smartphone.
To set up Rublon, you will need to create a free account on the plugin’s website and then connect your service with your website using an integration key, secret key, and API hostname. Once this is done, the plugin will be ready to use and will help prevent hackers from gaining access to your website.