It’s hard to know whether your website is under attack without some sort of measuring tool in place. There are many WordPress security plugins available that can send out email alerts when there are hackers knocking on your website’s door, trying to log in.

WordPress is great software, but with so many installations (WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015) it is also a huge magnet for hackers. So it is important to harden the security of your website, and make it more difficult for hackers to get in.

Outdated software is the number one reason why hackers are successful at bypassing the security that is, hopefully, in place. Software bots are continually scanning the Internet for websites with outdated software with known vulnerabilities – and then they’ll use these vulnerabilities to try and break into these websites. Or these bots are attempting to log in by relentlessly trying to guess your user name password; I have seen thousands and thousands of “failed login attempts” – just within a 24 hour timeframe!

These login attempts may slow down your site dramatically, it may cause bandwidth overruns with your hosting, or even worse: getting hacked. Adding an additional firewall will help alleviate a lot of these hacking attempts. Blocking IP addresses after X failed login attempts within Y minutes can also help a little, and you need to stay away from “easy” user names and passwords. So no user names like “admin” or “root”, and no passwords like “123456” or “password”. And yes – these are still some of the most commonly used ones.

Be vigilant and pay attention to your website’s security. That doesn’t just apply to WordPress sites either, by the way. And a final tip: make backups frequently! In case your website does get hacked, you will at least have a working site to restore, and hopefully a fairly current one.

[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, April 2016 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

Nardo Kuitert

Nardo Kuitert

Digital Marketing Consultant

As a Digital marketing Consultant Nardo is helping businesses making more of their online presence by optimizing their trust factors for better conversions.

He wrote the On The Web column on behalf of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce from 2006-2016.

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