How To Secure Your WordPress Site Without Any Plugin

How To Secure Your WordPress Site Without Any Plugin in 2024

Configuring and installing different security plugins has been commonly used to Secure WordPress websites. Most owners are unaware that plugins have different effects on websites, making them not the best option to consider when choosing which secure methods to use. Using security plugins slows down websites, which affects search engine optimization efforts, and they also have vulnerabilities that could act as a gateway for hackers to access your site. The guide will cover some of the common ways one can use to secure their WordPress site without installing any plugins in 2024.

12 Ways On How To Secure Your WordPress Site Without Any Plugin in 2024

1. Choosing a Reliable Hosting Provider- Secure WordPress websites

Select a reliable hosting provider that will guarantee good performance and better security, supports backups, and has more features you can work with. Having a better hosting provider does not mean paying a lot of fees; rather, you will look at their plans’ features and decide. Read many reviews online about different providers and research before choosing which hosting provider you will work with.

Choosing a bad provider who lacks enough security features under your subscription plans can lead to your website getting hacked and having different downtimes when you have more traffic. A good provider should also have 24/7 support to help you solve any issues you may experience.

Other features to look for include SSL certificate provision, the ability to isolate different sites on shared hosting, malware scanning and other cyber-attack protection, regular monitoring and backups, etc.

2. Restricting Access- Secure WordPress websites

Limit access to some parts of your sites by editing the .htaccess file. Prevent any PHP execution on your site by adding deny from all to the file. It makes it hard for hackers to upload any scripts to your folder and execute them. Add “order deny, allow, deny from all” lines to wp-config.php to prevent hackers from interfering with the site database settings and other security settings that can affect your site.

Limit the number of people who access certain parts of the website using the right roles, i.e., administrator, author, editor, contributor, and subscriber.

3. Changing the default username and passwords- Secure WordPress websites

When installing a  WordPress site for the first time, it comes with default usernames and passwords like admin and 1234, which exposes you to cyber criminals as they will use less time to guess them. Creating new usernames and passwords is recommended whenever you create a new site and delete the old ones. Make them as hard as possible since when one accesses your site as an administrator, there are lower chances of returning your site.

4. Install and Configure an SSL Certificate- Secure WordPress websites

SSL Certificate-Secure WordPress websites
Secure WordPress websites

An SSL certificate installed on your  WordPress site ensures safe communication between the server and the client. Many owners used to believe an SSL certificate was only required for sites that accepted payments, i.e., e-commerce sites, which is not the case. Every site owner must use HTTPS protocol for communication instead of HTTP.

Other benefits come with having an SSL certificate, including improved search engine rankings, trust and confidence amongst your customers, good performance, and protection of sensitive data.

When securing a website, SSL certificates play an important role. While a standard SSL certificate offers encryption for a single domain, conversely, a wildcard SSL certificate offers protection not only for the main domain but all of its subdomains. This helps site owners secure all their web presence with a single certificate. This simplifies the management of their security protocols.

A solution that can meet the needs of both budget constraints and security needs is crucial when selecting SSL options. There are reputable providers of these certificates that offer affordable wildcard certificates; they include GoDaddy and NameCheap, among others. By choosing a cheap wildcard SSL, website owners are assured of having protection for their website and all its subdomains without breaking the bank.

5. Control the Login Behavior- Secure WordPress websites

Website owners and developers can change the normal login procedures in several ways to prevent unauthorized logins. Some of the best practices for securing your logins are as follows:

  • Limit login attempts. You can set a maximum number of certain IP addresses one can attempt to log into your site. After those attempts, they get locked for a certain duration. It prevents cyber-attacks like DDOS attacks, which overload servers, causing downtime.
  • Most website owners know that the default login pages for most WordPress sites are wp-login.php and wp-admin. Customizing them gives hackers a hard time performing cyber-attacks, mainly brute force attacks, which can affect your site’s overall performance.
  • Recommend using a strong password for users, especially something that looks complex.
  • Implement 2 FA on your login page for users to receive a second security method, i.e., OTP, after entering the normal password. It prevents hackers from having unauthorized access since they can’t access the other method.

6. Disable Theme, Plugin and File Modifications

WordPress provides an administrator with the ability to change all the files. If a hacker gets access to that, they can change most of the website components. Disabling file modifications will prevent any file changes in case of an attack.

Add define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT,’ true ); line to wp-config.php to disable it. The same code also removes the ability to edit the themes and plugins by any user.

7. Remove all the PHP Error Reporting- Secure WordPress websites

PHP Error Reporting- Secure WordPress websites
Secure WordPress websites

When there are any errors on the backend, it shows all the paths and folders where the issue surfaces, giving hackers clear ideas on where to target. Turning off the reporting makes it hard for hackers to know if any issues exist and where they come from. You can turn it off using the FTP client to edit the wp_config.php file.

8. Backup Your WordPress Website- Secure WordPress websites

Ensure a reliable backup will help you restore your site to normalcy in case of any issues. Backups keep your information safe; you can’t risk losing important data. Most hosting providers support regular backups, and storing your backup differently from the normal storage is also better. Having real-time backups is recommended as it saves every data in real-time.

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9. Avoid Nulled Themes and Plugins- Secure WordPress websites

Nulled themes and plugins are pirated copies of the original ones, but they will not require you to pay to access the features; instead, they will be free. Most of them have malicious codes that expose your website to vulnerabilities, giving hackers access. Avoid using cracked themes and plugins, and instead, ensure you buy from known marketplaces like ThemeForest, themes and plugins websites, and Codecyanon.

10. Perform Updates- Secure WordPress websites

Update your PHP version, WordPress version, themes, and plugins regularly to fix any security vulnerabilities that may exist in them, causing cybercriminals to find access to your website. WordPress’s content management system provides users with two options: to perform updates manually or automatically. Manual is the best option, as automatic updates affect your site performance.

Before any update, always ensure that your site has a better backup; in case of issues, it’s easier to get your site back. Site owners must monitor future updates to prevent them from running sites on outdated software, which can expose them to hackers.

11. Delete Unused Themes and Plugins- Secure WordPress websites

Removing unused themes and plugins enables owners to eliminate any chances of hackers finding a way to hack your site. When you have unused plugins and themes, most users leave them idle, meaning they remain outdated. It increases the capability of having vulnerabilities when you leave them uninstalled. If there is no option to uninstall them through the admin dashboard, you can use the FTP client to remove them manually.

12. Change the Database Prefix- Secure WordPress websites

Database carries all the data that makes a Secure WordPress website function. Hackers use techniques like SQL injection to find any issues within the database, as most users still have the default prefixes in their database. When installing a WordPress website for the first time, it uses the wp_ prefix for all the tables. Changing the prefix to something else gives hackers a hard time finding any vulnerabilities.

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Conclusion on Secure WordPress Websites

Website security protects sensitive information from cyberattacks, promotes customer trust, and helps you rank higher in search engines. Most WordPress owners only use security plugins to protect their sites

from such attacks. The guide covered several practices they can practice and didn’t require one to install any plugin. We are not against those who use security plugins, but it’s a good measure to use the other methods due to the overall benefits.

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