Is Your WordPress Installation at Risk? 3 Ways to Tell

It is common that you would sit back and breathe a sigh of relief when you finally launch or upgrade your WordPress website. However, unless you have taken care of providing your site with the best possible WordPress security, that sigh will often turn into one of dismay.

The Price of Popularity

As the world’s most popular website builder and platform, WordPress has millions of followers and fans. Precisely because it is so popular, WordPress is also a favorite target of hackers. These individuals and groups spend their time looking for known vulnerabilities in WordPress websites and this should make WordPress security a top priority for all website owners.

Fortunately, there are a number of practical steps you can take to ensure provide proper WordPress security for the most common problems. To properly address your site’s security issues, there are three areas where you can take proactive steps that will minimize your risks. Failing to do so means you are increasing your probability of being hacked by robot spiders. These three areas include:

  1. Not replacing standard defaults and parameters. As a free program, and with the availability of free themes and plugins, there are a number of standard defaults that are favorite and frequent targets of hackers. These include the log in page, the admin user setup and passwords, and URL parameters. If you have not reset these defaults with custom code, it is important to do so immediately. These are relatively simple fixes that add an important first line of defense against active hacking.
  2. Ignoring available updates. In the ongoing battle against hackers and malware, WordPress security is frequently updated to address security holes and problems. The world of hackers quickly communicates any newly discovered weaknesses, and it is vital to eliminate them with the updates WordPress and others will provide. This includes taking action with basic WordPress updates as well as for plugins, widgets and themes.
  3. Relying on a free theme and plugins. If your site is an important part of your business, it is generally a good idea to upgrade to a paid theme from a reputable vendor to provide a higher level of security. Likewise, any plugins you use should come from the WordPress Plugin directory and be current. Many free themes and plugins are actually used to place malware on your site and to provide easily exploitable security leaks. Plugins that are no longer actively developed are likely compromised from a security perspective. Take the time to select your theme and plugin vendors carefully and ensure your theme is properly installed. Once you have installed them, you should regularly check for updates for both the theme and all plugins and download them.

You shouldn’t be intimidated by the issue of security, nor should you allow yourself to be complacent about it. You can find reliable WordPress security firms to help with your security issues if you don’t have your own webmaster or IT resources. Of course, vet anyone you use carefully, as some hackers pose online as security experts just to get access to your site. You can often get solid referrals from your business contacts or your trusted online communities.

One important step for your WordPress security is to engage such a third-party resource to evaluate your site from a risk perspective. A qualified individual will look at all the items discussed above and a number of other areas. They know the common weaknesses and will quickly find any you might have. You can then implement any recommended changes and modifications.  If you want to TEST the level of security on your current WordPress website, visit for a free “Quick Scan”.

Dean Wolf