Internet security is a serious concern if you have a website or online business. Web hosts like Bluehost take it very seriously and can be one of your best resources for keeping your WordPress site safe. However, no one is more responsible for your site’s security than you. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your website safe, including running security scans.
WordPress security scan plugins give you the chance to find potential weaknesses and openings in your website’s security. That way, you can do something about it before it becomes a problem. Running a security scan is easy, but many people are unsure of how often they need to run the scanner. Below is an explanation of what a WordPress Security Scan is, as well as how often you should run one.
What Is a WordPress Security Scan?
WordPress security scanners are plugins that you can install directly on your website. This type of security plugin scans your core files and all of the pages of your website to see if security holes can be found. Most security holes are difficult to find since you can’t see them. In most cases, website owners are unaware of a security hole until it is exploited by hackers, malware, and other malicious activity, or he or she runs a security scanner.
Why WordPress Security Scans are Important
WordPress security scans are an important part of your website maintenance routine. A combination of website changes like modifying the theme, making specific posts, adjusting admin permissions, and changing core functions can open new security holes that hackers can use to gain access to your website and hosting plan. If this happens, there can be negative consequences.
One of the leading problems you could face when your website is hacked is having your personal information stolen. Hackers can gain enough personal information from your website to impersonate you when they want to. WordPress sites collect personal information like your name and email address. Hosting sites collect even more information, including payment details. Some business websites collect sensitive data from customers, and as a result, they make great targets for hackers. Losing this information could result in your business shutting down if your sales drop because people lose confidence in your store.
Another potential problem is vandalism. Some hackers are out to steal information, but others cause trouble for unwitting site owners. A skilled hacker can gain access to your website without being seen and make changes to the website. For example, they could change your product descriptions, or replace posts with inappropriate content that can drive away customers.
A skilled hacker can also indirectly cost you a lot of money by stealing your bandwidth. Since most hosting accounts charge for extra site traffic and bandwidth, hackers can attempt to use your website as a means of sending hidden data, so that they won’t be charged for it. This can cost you money and lead to your website being suspended. If that happens, you’ll have to jump over numerous hurdles to get it back online. You can avoid all of these problems by using a WordPress security scanner to find and close the holes in your website—before a problem arises.
When to Run a WordPress Security Scan
If you are looking to run a scan with your security plugin, then you should make it a part of your regular site maintenance practices. There are specific times that running a security scan is a good idea. Here is when to run a WordPress security scan.
On a Regular Schedule
WordPress security scans should be run on a regular schedule to check for security threats. If you already have a regular schedule where you do other maintenance procedures, add a scan to the end of your process. This will ensure that it gets done regularly. WordPress websites change often, and these changes can open new holes. So, scanning on a regular basis ensures you don’t open new holes that you aren’t aware of.
Once Per Month at the Least
For a more specific time frame, run a WordPress security scan once per month at a minimum. This will ensure the site is scanned 12 times each year and that the gaps between scans are not too long. WordPress sites receive regular updates, which are designed to close security holes and add new features. However, every update can open new security holes that need to be addressed. A monthly scan can help find changes that you, WordPress, or your host have made that can leave your website vulnerable to security vulnerabilities.
When You Suspect There Is Trouble
If you have a reason to believe that there is trouble with your website, then run a WordPress security scan right away. This could include increases in traffic that are not warranted, changes to your site you didn’t make, or anything else that seems off. It could be evidence that a hacker has taken advantage of your site.
After You Make Website Structure Changes
If you make any changes to the structure of your website, especially in the core files or file structure, then you need to run a scan as soon as you are done. The core of WordPress is designed to keep everything functioning properly, but also to be secure. It is possible to change core files or rearrange parts of your website. However, this could open a security hole or make it harder for security measures to effectively cover every part of your website.
When You Install New Plugins
Installing new plugins can add a lot of functionality to your WordPress website, but can also give hackers direct access to the core of your site, leaving you exposed to vulnerabilities, malware, and threats. You should run a WordPress security scan any time you install a plugin to ensure that the new components are secure. This includes installing a scanner plugin.
WordPress security scanners are easy to use and can have a drastic effect on your website’s safety. A simple scan every now and then can help you keep your site safe and put your mind at ease. Web hosts that provide in-depth hosting assistance, like Bluehost’s WordPress hosting, can help you run scans and put other security measures in place. Contact your web host for more assistance and to learn more about how it keeps your website safe.