Blog Menu
I write and curate content for Bluehost. I hope this blog post is helpful.
Are you looking at creating a blog, website or an online store? Bluehost has something for everyone. Get started today.

If you run a website, it’s essential that it’s secure. Not only to uphold your reputation, but also to protect your customers’ data. You shouldn’t take this matter lightly! Because in recent years, over a million WordPress sites worldwide have been hit by the infamous malware Spectre. And it might even be making a comeback

Now, you might be wondering: Is WordPress a safe platform to host my business and personal websites then? But keep in mind that WordPress itself is only one element in a larger ecosystem that affects the safety and security of WordPress-powered sites. So the key question may not be whether WordPress is secure, but rather how you can take the lead in securing your WordPress sites against hacking and other kinds of cyber attacks.

WordPress security has multiple layers

Let’s dive a little deeper into that last part. When users ask whether WordPress is secure, they’re most likely referring to the WordPress Core itself—the free, open source software package that can be downloaded and installed in any hosting environment. But the WordPress core code doesn’t exist in isolation. Numerous other entities interact with WordPress, and each of these can have an impact on the security of a WordPress site. WordPress stands at the center of a dynamic ecosystem that also includes:

– Web hosting providers

– Third-party plugin and theme developers

– WordPress site owners and administrators

Why is it so important to know this? Because security threats to a WordPress website can come through any of these. Sometimes even a combination of them!

Securing the WordPress Core

The core WordPress code is an open source software with a general use license. This means that, in theory, any user can modify the code, and use it or share it in any way they choose. Now, you might be thinking: That doesn’t sound safe! 

Luckily, WordPress is aware of how dangerous this could be. That’s why the WordPress core developers are ultimately responsible for keeping the core code stable and secure. This includes vetting any proposed changes, and constantly working to fix any vulnerabilities with patches and interim updates.

So what if there is a security issue? The development team will step in to repair it, and notify all WordPress users that an updated version is available. Although there’s no guarantee that WordPress itself is completely secure, any security problems that do appear are generally resolved by downloading the latest version of the software.

Web hosting and WordPress Security

What about self-hosted WordPress sites? Most importantly, they need a reliable WordPress hosting provider. This is because a provider plays a role in keeping users’ sites secure, whether they’re powered by WordPress or some other content management system.

Hosting providers are responsible for maintaining the security of the company’s servers against cyber attacks. In addition, they should provide hosting packages with a variety of security options to meet the varying needs of users, such as Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting can help to prevent “infections” from one site on a shared server to others. Some hosting providers also offer secure WordPress hosting packages dedicated specifically to WordPress sites with an eye to addressing the security concerns that are most likely to affect the system.

Security with themes and plugins

Let’s move onto another key part of a WordPress website: themes and plugins. Themes define the appearance of a WordPress site, and hundreds of them are available from the WordPress theme directory that comes with every WordPress install. 

Like themes, plugins expand on the functionality of the WordPress core code. These small pieces of code can be added to just about any WordPress site to extend its functionality in ways that go far beyond its original intended use of blogging. You can even download WordPress security plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Both themes and plugins can pose security risks, though. Plugins and themes that are added to a WordPress site can carry corrupted code or malware, which could affect an entire site and potentially other sites it links to. Although WordPress developers scrutinize all the plugins and themes submitted for inclusion to be sure that the code is clean and secure, the same can’t always be said for plugins and themes from third-party developers. 

Of course, developers and designers are responsible for making sure that their products can be safely integrated into any compatible WordPress site. However, this may not be true for plugins or themes from unfamiliar sources, especially those that are free or haven’t been updated or maintained in a while.

Users can keep sites secure

And lastly, back to you! Both WordPress experts and cybersecurity specialists have pointed out that users have the most power—and responsibility—for protecting their WordPress websites. By being proactive and prudent to keep your site secure, site owners and administrators can dramatically reduce the risk of cyber attacks and security issues of all kinds. That’s why you should always follow the recommended best practices for maintaining site security, such as:

– Promptly installing recommended updates for WordPress, plugins, and themes.

– Choosing strong passwords and usernames to deter login attempts—especially for your site’s Admin login.

– Buying and installing supported, regularly maintained plugins and themes.

– Managing administrator access to the site and limiting access to a few users.

– Deleting unused or outdated plugins, themes, and files.

– Backing up the site regularly.

– Installing an SSL certificate to add a layer of encryption to all transactions.

– Installing WordPress security plugins on the site.

To summarize

The security of a WordPress site can be compromised from multiple directions. Some aspects of your site’s security may rest in the hands of the WordPress core team, your hosting provider, and the creators of the themes and plugins you install on your site. However, site owners and administrators are the ultimate guardians of their WordPress sites. So while you’re managing your website, make wise choices. And keep the best practices in mind.

Tiffani is the Content and Social Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. She has a passion for creating engaging content, SEO and social media!

Write A Comment