SSL Certificates, WordPress Backup Plugin, Two-Factor Authentication — if these terms aren’t part of your WordPress vocabulary, then you need to take a step back and consider a few things. What are you going to do when you are hacked? Notice we said “when,” because the reality is that at some point almost every website will be the victim of some kind of attack.
What are you going to do if the unthinkable happens and your website completely crashes, taking with it years of hard work and customer data? If you don’t have a plan in place, your business could be completely offline while you try to pull things back together. That’s why you need to look at these tips to make sure that you are ready for anything.
If you are dealing with sensitive customer data including personal information like credit card numbers, then you absolutely must have an SSL certificate. This type of protocol gives you an encrypted link between you and your WordPress server. Essentially, as data is being transferred from your network to the server (and vice versa), a hacker could intercept and steal this information.
The SSL doesn’t make this impossible, but it makes it much harder–so much so that a standard hacker will probably just move on to an easier target rather than pick on your site.
It also gives your customers the added comfort that their data is with a trusted company. And it is one of the things that Google looks for when it ranks search results. In fact, many internet browsers now actually display a warning before a user enters a website that doesn’t have an SSL, so it can really hurt your new user acquisition.
WordPress Backup Plugin
If you have not already installed a WordPress backup plugin, then you should immediately do so. This allows you to schedule automatic backups of your website at scheduled intervals. Not only will it help you in the event of an attack on your website, but it can also restore your site if a mistake is made and a crash occurs.
Most of these plugins are so easy to use that if a crash or hack occurs, you simply click a few keys and restore your entire website from the most recent backup. In this day and age when anything can happen, this plugin is another must-have.
Another tool you need for your WordPress website and any computers you are using to work on this site are automatic updates. Many attacks occur because hackers discover a hole or flaw in a piece of software and they work quickly to take advantage of this. If you keep updates on automatically, then once such a flaw is discovered, you will receive security patches and updates to close these openings down. If you are manually doing updates, you may not know that a patch has been issued and you could be a victim by the time you get around to installing it.
Two-Factor Authentication & Password Strength
Finally, you always need to make sure that you are using only the most secure passwords to log into your computers and website. Although many people require a minimum of eight characters for a password, the longer and more complex it is, the harder it is to crack.
Twelve or even sixteen character passwords are not unheard of and they should include numbers and special characters, as well as upper and lower case letters.
Two-factor authentication also helps greatly. In a nutshell, when you log in, you enter your password as the first step in authentication. Then, the website will send your smartphone a code in a text which you have to enter to complete the login. This means that a hacker would have to crack your password AND have access to your text messages to get in.
By securing your website, strengthening your defenses, and preparing with automatic updates and a WordPress Backup plugin, your website should be ready for almost anything. Just like in real life, there is no way to guarantee total safety and security. But with these tips, you can help ensure that you are ready if something happens.