Plugins make it very easy to work in WordPress. If you don’t have a feature, you’re just searching for a plugin, and you’ll find it most of the time. You have too many plugins slowing down the page and causing safety risks. That’s why security plugins for WordPress are so common. Not everyone is a security expert for WordPress.
Safety, however, is necessary. So creators of the plugin stepped up to fill the gap in knowledge. In this blog, you’ll see why a safety plugin is important and what to prevent when searching for the right one.
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A Web Application Firewall (WAF) = a plugin or cloud service that monitors traffic and defends against the bad or malicious stuff.
In a nutshell: the firewall screens traffic before it gets to the site. The good traffic is let through, and the bad traffic is denied entry. Think of it as the doorman: the firewall decides who gets in and who doesn’t.
Firstly, a firewall will block things like blacklisted IP addresses or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.
A firewall can also block malicious acts like:
- SQL injections that modify your database
- Users accessing directories to look for vulnerabilities
- Injecting WordPress shortcodes to interfere with plugins
Not all firewalls are created equally. In fact, there are two main types of firewall:
- Application-level firewall
- DNS-level firewall
The application-level firewall looks at the traffic when it reaches your servers. At this point, it compares the traffic against a set of criteria (such as blacklisted IP addresses) and decides whether or not to let it through.
DNS-level firewalls allow you to review your traffic before it even reaches your server. This means your own servers don’t have to screen the traffic. Instead, the provider will screen the traffic on their own servers before sending good traffic to your site.
What We Want
A DNS-level firewall.
It reduces the load on our servers by handling the work on the firewall provider’s servers. The provider’s servers also have a larger capacity to deal with DDoS attacks.
2. Database Protection
Database Protection = making sure that it’s as difficult as possible for anyone to make unauthorized changes to the database.
Everything on your site ends up being saved in the WordPress database.
We’re talking pages, posts, comments, images, menus, everything.
So, imagine how much damage someone can do if they can mess with your database. In fact, deleting your database only takes one line of code.
So, we need a plugin that protects us from SQL injections and makes it difficult for any bad actors (hackers looking for vulnerabilities within our site — not, like, Gerard Butler) to gather any information about our database that they can use to easily gain access to it.
What We Want
The ability to stop SQL injection into the database to modify data.
We also want the database to be difficult to access. This means enforcing strong passwords, changing the default username or default table names so they are harder for hackers to guess.
3. Login Protection
Login protection = making it as difficult as possible for hackers to log-in to your site by guessing the admin URL, your username and your password.
The easiest way in the world for a hacker to get into any website is by knowing or guessing the username or password.
Think about it: there is a clear format for most WordPress sites:
Admin URL: domainname.com/wp-admin
If you use a simple username (e.g. Admin), the only thing a hacker needs to figure out is your password. This is why it shouldn’t be something like ‘password’ or ‘123456’.
We need a plugin that can enforce strong passwords for all users, that will limit the number of login attempts, and that will allow additional wordpress security features, such as:
- Security questions (‘What is your Mother’s maiden name?’ or ‘What was the name of your first pet?’).
- Two-factor authentication, which turns logging into a two-step process whereby you enter a code sent to your mobile each time you go to log-in
It must also protect us from brute force attacks where the hackers will try to go through all of the possible passwords until they stumble across the right one.
On top of that, the plugin should be able to change the admin URL from domainname.com/wp-admin (the default login URL) to something else, making it harder to find.
What We Want
- To be able to change the admin URL
- Two-factor authentication or security questions
- To enforce strong passwords
4. Malware And File Changes
Malware = software that is designed to mess things up or gain access to information. For our purposes, let’s use a simple definition of malware: malicious software.
As you can imagine, this is an issue.
For example, if the malware takes the form of spyware, it can record personal information such as your customers’ credit card details. But it can do lots of other harmful stuff, too (and that’s a list that could go on forever).
What We Want
A plugin that regularly scans for malware and keeps a log of site changes so that we can pinpoint the cause of any issues.
5. Common Sense Lockdown
Common sense lockdown = forcing the user to make changes that make it more difficult for hackers to gain easy access to databases, directories or exploit known weaknesses within WordPress.
There are a number of areas on our sites where information is readily available that can aid hackers or that are exposed areas that make things easier for hackers.
For example, leaving your directories open so that people can navigate to them in the address bar.
This lets people view your site structure, allowing them to identify areas of weakness that can be exploited.
Security can be complicated, so we’re looking for a plugin that can take the lead by highlighting the simple steps that you can take to make your site much more secure.
What We Want
A security checklist of known issues and mechanisms that allow us (or our users) to solve them with the plugin.
You can’t put a price on WordPress security.
Just kidding, of course, you can. We’re asking a lot from a security plugin. So, most of the plugins here will be pretty expensive. In general, we usually recommend an all-in-one security plugin.
However, there are also a few free plugins that do a good job with individual functionalities. You can also:
- Limit access to directories yourself by editing the .htaccess file
- Change the Admin usernames and passwords yourself
- Change the prefixes on the database so that they are more secure
We are looking for a plugin that provides value for money. If it does a lot for us we are willing to pay more but if there are two plugins that cannot be separated on functionality it only makes sense to choose the cheaper option.
I am working as a web developer.
I am working with a hosting company. A hosting service is a service
that runs Internet servers, allowing organizations and individuals to serve content to the Internet.
There are various levels of service and various kinds of services offered. A common kind of hosting is web hosting.
Servers can provide various functionalities, often called “services”,
such as sharing data or resources among multiple clients, or performing computation for a client.
… Typical servers are database servers, file servers, mail servers, print servers,
web servers, game servers, and application servers.