WordPress Keeps Getting Hacked – How to Prevent it?
If your WordPress website is hacked once, it will keep getting hacked. This is because of the vulnerabilities on your website. There can be many reasons why your WordPress keeps getting hacked. We will be seeing some of the common reasons why WordPress keeps getting hacked and we will also see the ways to prevent it. So, if you think your website is insecure, you can follow the guide and take the necessary actions to keep your website secure. We will see everything you need to know about securing your WordPress website and we will also see how you can fix your currently vulnerable website.
Reasons why WordPress keeps getting hacked?
There could be many reasons why your website is hacked. If your website is hacked once, it will keep getting hacked again and again. This is because when the attackers hack your website, they install a backdoor on your website. A backdoor is a small tool using which the attacker can get back to your website whenever they want. This could be very useful for attackers. If you don’t fix the backdoor, you will never get back the WordPress website. Therefore, you will need to take the necessary actions to secure your website.
Here are some of the common reasons why your WordPress website got hacked in the first place.
- You are not updating your WordPress version
- You haven’t enabled the updates for themes or plugins. The themes and plugins need regular updates. So, make sure you update it
- The next reason might be because you are using nulled or pirated plugins or themes. Also, make sure you are using themes and plugins from a trusted and reliable source. If you haven’t downloaded the theme or plugin from the reliable source, the tool might have some issues.
- You are not using HTTPS as a protocol.
- The WordPress hosting you are using is not secure enough.
- You use weak passwords. This includes the password in your WordPress panel, email address, FTP accounts, or any other place which is related to your WordPress website. So, if you are using weak passwords, you will need to change it.
- You don’t monitor your website every time. If you don’t monitor your website, you will not come to know about the latest vulnerabilities on your website. Therefore, you will need to monitor your website.
If your website is hacked once and you haven’t cleaned your website, your website will keep getting hacked.
SSL, CDN, and hosting
We will start with the SSL certificate and the hosting panel. You will need to use a secure hosting panel. If you are not using a reliable one, you will have to shift your current hosting to a secure hosting provider. They have various security measures to keep their customer’s accounts secure. Therefore, make sure you are using a secure WordPress hosting and not just any hosting.
The next thing you need to do is use an SSL for your website. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It will add HTTPS to your website. The HTTPS is not only necessary for your website security but also it has become a must-have a thing to rank in Google. Google is now prioritizing websites with HTTPS instead of HTTP. In this way, your website will be secure and will also rank on Google.
The next thing you can do is get a CDN. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It will not only increase the performance of your website but it will also help you in achieving better security for your website. Therefore, make sure you are using good CDN for your website.
Overall, the three things needed here to secure your websites are SSL certificate, secure web hosting, and the last one is CDN. If you have to go all three things, you are all set to move on to the next thing.
Using strong Password
You will have to make sure that you are using strong passwords everywhere. Most people only use strong passwords only on the WordPress panel. However, there are any other places where you will have to use secure passwords.
So, make sure your passwords are strong in the following places
- WordPress admin panel
- FTP passwords
- Email password or webmail passwords
- Hosting account passwords
- cPanel password
- If using a single dashboard for multi-sites, make sure that the password is strong.
- com password.
Change your passwords regularly.
The next thing you need to do is to use a security plugin for your WordPress website. There are many security plugins that you can use. Here are some of the top plugins
- iTheme Security
You can use any of the plugins. It will include a firewall and a malware scanner. So, your website won’t get hacked anytime. Also, it will help you in securing the website from all the vulnerabilities.
The scanning option gives on the website will scan the entire website for the vulnerabilities. You can then fix the files that are infected. In this way, your website will be cleaned from all the viruses.
Please note that you don’t want to use all the plugins at once. You should only activate one plugin at a time. If you install more than one security plugin, it might conflict. The security scanner won’t work or will give you some of the unusual results. You surely don’t want anything similar. Therefore, you need to make sure that you only use one plugin at a time. If you want to test out the plugins, you can also check the plugins one by one. In this way, you can check all the websites and see which one works the best for you. All of them are good in their way. You can select the plugin that works the best for you. Also, all the plugins have a premium version that you can use to find out the vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is up to you which plugin you want to use.
Backup your WordPress website
Backups are amazing. Now, before we get into the part where we will clean the malicious code, we will first take a backup of the website. Just in case, something goes wrong, you can quickly restore the website from the backup. Hence, backup is a must.
So, here are some of the ways to create a backup of your website.
- You can use one of the plugins from the WordPress directory to take the backup. There are many plugins available which you can use to create a backup of your WordPress installation. Make sure you create a backup of all the files.
- The next way to take a backup is by using the cPanel or the hosting provider. Your hosting provider might provide you some backup tool to create a backup whenever you want.
- If you installed WordPress using Softaculous, you can also create a backup from there.
- The last way is to create a backup manually. You can download all the files from the file manager. The next thing you want to do is take the backup of the database. Go to PhpMyAdmin in your hosting panel. Head over to your WordPress database and then click on the “Export” button on the top of it. It will ask you to save it in an extension. You can either select SQL or zip.
It is recommended to take regular backups of your WordPress website. So, you can use a plugin or cPanel to do so.
Cleaning the hacked website
If your website was hacked once and is hacked, again and again, it might be due to the backdoor on your website. A backdoor is a code using which the attacker will reenter your website and hack it again. It could also just be the infected code that is causing the problems. Therefore, the end goal here should be to clean your website and be secure. Here is how you can clean your website in some easy steps.
- Scan the website with the plugins.
- Scan the website again with the online scanners.
- The next thing you want to do is scan the website with the cPanel virus scanner.
- Now, your goal is to fix all the files.
- Most probably, it will be fixed by one of the scanners or you will get a complete guide on how to fix that particular infected file. You can use that method to fix the file. However, if you didn’t get any such file, here is a method on how you can fix it.
- You can simply replace the file with the original one. If it is a theme or plugin file, you can just download the theme or plugin from the source and replace the file.
- Also, check the integrity of the core files and fix those files if necessary. You can go to WordPress > Updates and click on reinstall WordPress button. You will be all clear.
- If you can’t replace the files for some reason, you can open the file and remove the encrypted code from it.
Advanced WordPress security
We will now see some of the advanced WordPress security that you can use to secure your website even more.
Well, as you might be knowing by now that anyone can detect whether you are using WordPress or not. So, if you want to secure your website, you can hide the fact that you are using WordPress. There are plugins like HideMyWp available that will hide the fact that you are using WordPress.
The next thing you can do is to change the WordPress login URL. The default “wp-admin” is easier to notice. Anyone who has a bit of knowledge about WordPress can open your admin login page. They can then try some of the passwords and usernames. So, you can change the URL.
If you want to keep better security, you can use plugins like Limit Login attempts or Loginizer, these plugins will limit the number of wrong attempts in the WordPress panel. For example, if someone types the wrong password for 3 or 5 times, you can block them for X hours. It is up to you n how many hours you want to block them.
All of these things can be done by various plugins. You will find a plugin to do all the things. There are some of the premium plugins that you can also use. So, you can also go with the premium plugins. The premium plugins can be very helpful. So, if your website deals with sensitive information, you should get the premium version of the plugins. However, if you are a blogger, you won’t need a paid plugin.
Security and maintenance service
If you are running a business on your WordPress website and you are facing a lot of loss due to the security vulnerabilities, you can go with the maintenance and the security service. These are the best services for businesses. You can’t completely rely on a plugin or an automated tool. You will need a person or a team who will keep an eye on your WordPress website. Therefore, you can get a maintenance service that will help you out with your security.
In the same way, you can also go with Managed WordPress hosting instead of the shared one. The managed WordPress hosting is a lot more expensive than the normal one. So, if you want better security, as well as you, want better performance, the managed WordPress hosting would be the perfect choice for you. However, if your website is not generating enough revenue, you should not go with the managed one.
To conclude, this is how you can keep your website secure. Make sure you are following all the tips given here. If you follow all the things, your website won’t be hacked again. Don’t forget to clean your existing website. In this way, you will also remove the backdoor from your website. Further, make sure you take regular backups. This will help you in restoring the WordPress website.