how to improve wordpress security

How to Improve WordPress Security: 14 Tips and Best Practices

Is WordPress inherently safe? The answer is while WordPress is a secure platform by design, like any software, it can be vulnerable to various threats. As a result, it is crucial to take extra steps to ensure the security of your website.

This comprehensive, SEO-friendly blog post will delve into the importance of securing your WordPress website, present an extensive security checklist, and offer valuable tips to help you safeguard your site from potential risks.

We will also explain how to improve WordPress security and provide code snippets when necessary.

Understanding the Importance of WordPress Security

Securing your WordPress website is essential in today’s digital landscape, where cyber threats are ever-present. By strengthening your site’s defenses, you protect your valuable data, preserve your online reputation, and safeguard your users’ information. Moreover, robust security measures help you avoid potential financial losses and legal issues from security breaches.

Comprehensive WordPress Security Checklist and Essential Tips

  1. Keep WordPress, themes, and plugins updated
  2. Use strong, unique passwords
  3. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  4. Use a reputable security plugin
  5. Implement a secure SSL certificate
  6. Regularly back up your site
  7. Limit login attempts
  8. Disable file editing in WordPress
  9. Change the default WordPress table prefix
  10. Hide your WordPress version number
  11. Regularly scan for malware and vulnerabilities
  12. Use secure file permissions
  13. Secure your wp-config.php file
  14. Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

1. Keep WordPress, themes, and plugins updated

Keep WordPress, themes, and plugins updated

Regularly update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to their latest versions to patch vulnerabilities and ensure optimal performance. Cybercriminals often exploit outdated software, so staying up-to-date is a critical security measure. To enable automatic updates for WordPress, add the following code to your wp-config.php file:

define(‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true);

2. Use strong, unique passwords

Use strong, unique passwords

Create complex and unique passwords for your WordPress admin account, FTP, and database to reduce the risk of unauthorized access. 

Combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for increased password strength. 

Consider using a password manager to generate and store secure passwords.

3. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)- How to Improve WordPress Security

Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) in WordPress can significantly enhance the security of your website by adding an extra layer of protection. Here is a user guide to help you set up 2FA for your WordPress site:

Install a 2FA plugin

Since WordPress doesn’t have built-in 2FA functionality, you’ll need to install a plugin to enable it. Some popular 2FA plugins for WordPress include:

Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication (2FA)


Wordfence Login Security

Choose and install a plugin:

a. Go to your WordPress dashboard.

b. Navigate to “Plugins” > “Add New.”

c. Search for the desired plugin using the search bar.

d. Click “Install Now” on the chosen plugin.

e. After installation is complete, click “Activate.”

Configure the plugin settings

Each plugin will have its configuration process, so refer to the plugin’s documentation for specific instructions. Generally, you’ll need to:

a. Go to the plugin settings, usually under “Settings” or as a separate menu item in the WordPress dashboard.

b. Enable 2FA for desired user roles (e.g., administrators, editors, authors).

c. Choose the authentication method(s) to be used, such as time-based one-time passwords (TOTP), email, or SMS.

Set up 2FA for individual users

Users will need to set up 2FA for their accounts. Here’s a general outline of the process:

a. Log in to your WordPress account.

b. Navigate to your profile, usually under “Users” > “Your Profile” or “Profile” in the dashboard.

c. Locate the 2FA settings section.

d. Follow the on-screen instructions to enable 2FA. This may include scanning a QR code with an authenticator app (such as Google Authenticator or Authy) or providing a phone number for SMS or email-based authentication.

e. Save the changes to your profile.

Test 2FA

Log out of your WordPress account and try logging back in. After entering your username and password, you should be prompted for a 2FA code. Use your authenticator app, SMS, or email to obtain the code and enter it to complete the login process.

These steps will enable 2FA for your WordPress site, significantly improving its security. Encourage all users accessing your site to set up and use 2FA.

4. Use a reputable security plugin

Use a reputable security plugin

Install a trusted security plugin to enhance your site’s protection, such as Wordfence, iThemes Security, Eazy Plugin Manager, or Sucuri Security. 

These plugins offer a variety of features, including firewall protection, malware scanning, and login security. You can configure the settings directly from your WordPress dashboard.

5. Implement a secure SSL certificate

Acquire an SSL certificate and enforce HTTPS to secure data transmission between your site and visitors. This encryption method protects sensitive information, such as login credentials and payment details, from being intercepted by hackers. 

Most web hosts offer free SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt. Once installed, update your WordPress settings by navigating to Settings > General and replacing “http://” with “https://” in the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields.

6. Regularly back up your site

Website Backup- How to Improve WordPress Security

Schedule automated backups of your WordPress site to protect your data in case of unexpected issues or security breaches. 

Store backups offsite for added safety and ensure you can quickly restore your site if needed. Use plugins like UpdraftPlus or BackWPup to automate the backup process.

7. Limit login attempts

Use a plugin, like Login LockDown or WP Limit Login Attempts, to restrict the number of login attempts from a single IP address. 

This measure helps mitigate the risk of brute force attacks, where hackers attempt to gain access by repeatedly trying different password combinations. Configure the settings in the plugin’s options page within your WordPress dashboard.

8. Disable file editing in WordPress

Add the following code to your wp-config.php file to disable file editing from the WordPress dashboard, preventing unauthorized users from modifying your theme and plugin files:

php define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true);

9. Change the default WordPress table prefix

Modify the default “wp_” table prefix during installation or use a plugin like Change DB Prefix to alter it in an existing site. This step helps prevent SQL injection attacks by making it more difficult for hackers to guess your database table names.

10. Hide your WordPress version number

Add this code to your theme’s functions.php file to remove the WordPress version number from public view, reducing the risk of attackers exploiting known vulnerabilities in specific versions:


Copy code

function remove_wp_version() {

    return '';


add_filter('the_generator', 'remove_wp_version');

11. Regularly scan for malware and vulnerabilities

Types of website vulnerabilities

Use a security plugin or a third-party service, such as Sucuri SiteCheck or Wordfence, to routinely scan your site for malware and other potential risks. Regular scans help you detect and fix issues before they cause significant damage.

Also read: How to Check Plugin Vulnerabilities in WordPress and Ultimate Way to Remain Secure

12. Use secure file permissions

Set your files to 644 and directories to 755 to provide adequate permissions while maintaining security. You can use an FTP client or a plugin like File Manager to update file permissions. Be cautious when changing permissions, as incorrect settings can compromise your site’s security.

13. Secure your wp-config.php file

Move your wp-config.php file one level above your WordPress installation to make it easier for hackers to access. Restrict access further by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:

<files wp-config.php>

    order allow,deny

    deny from all


14. Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Set up a WAF like Sucuri or Cloudflare to protect your site from common threats like SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and brute-force attacks. A WAF filters incoming traffic, blocking malicious requests before they reach your site.


How can I resolve the issue of my WordPress site being labeled as not secure?

  • Obtain an SSL certificate
  • Enforce HTTPS for your site
  • Update internal and external links to use HTTPS

How can I safeguard the content on my WordPress website?

  • Implement content protection plugins
  • Disable right-clicking and text selection
  • Add copyright notices and watermarks

How can I implement HTTPS to secure my WordPress site?

  • Acquire an SSL certificate
  • Install and activate the certificate
  • Update WordPress settings to use HTTPS

What actions can I take to ensure my website's security?

  • Keep software and plugins updated
  • Use strong, unique passwords
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Regularly back up your site

How can I strengthen the security of a vulnerable website?

  • Identify and fix security vulnerabilities
  • Update software and plugins
  • Implement strong authentication measures
  • Add a Web Application Firewall

Final Thoughts 

Following the security checklist and incorporating the above tips will greatly enhance your WordPress website’s security. 

Remember to stay vigilant and keep up with the latest security trends to ensure your site remains well-protected against evolving threats. 

Regularly review and update your security measures, as the online landscape constantly changes, and new vulnerabilities may emerge.

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