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Why and How to Perform a WordPress Security Audit?

Why and How to Perform a WordPress Security Audit?

A Website is the virtual representation of a brick and mortar store. It is a platform which upholds everything that a company provides. Gradually more and more companies are switching their business from offline to online to cope with the ongoing competition in the market.

Among the various CMS platforms that are available in the market WordPress is one such platform that is quite popular not only among the developers but also among the entrepreneurs for its user-friendliness.

According to a latest survey, there are over 832 million WordPress users, which states that nearly 43% of the websites are built on WordPress.

However, among the various WordPress websites that are available many are inactive due to a lack of maintenance. Even the active website owners sometimes face severe issues handling their websites with frequent cyber attacks and malicious activity.

If you already have a WordPress website, you may resolve most of your problems. But you need to ensure that you follow all the security regulations while operating your website, including auditing its security regularly.

For regular maintenance, you can hire WordPress development services from a WordPress development agency like Esolz Technologies or learn some steps to do that by yourself.

Keep reading this blog to learn about WordPress security audits.

WordPress Security Audit

A WordPress security audit is a routine method that inspects your website for security flaws, such as weak admin passwords and obsolete plugins. This audit also includes recommendations for mitigating these potential hazards.

Some website owners understand how to execute a WordPress security audit but view it as a one-time event. A common mistake may pose a security threat to your site. To avoid hacker assaults and keep your website safe, it is highly advised that you run a security audit on your WordPress site regularly.

Reasons of WordPress Security Audit

If you own a website and don’t care about its security, it’s no surprise that it’s insecure and can be hacked. Security audit is always necessary to detect security breaches and vulnerabilities in your site before they become problematic. Without this procedure, hackers may discover these weaknesses before you. Some of the consequences of irregular Security audits are written below.

New Vulnerabilities Are Constantly Discovered

It’s easy to forget that the internet is almost incomprehensibly complex, with frameworks built on top of frameworks. Different systems and code bases interact and conflict with each other in surprising and unpredictable ways. This means that even the most secure systems can be turned vulnerable in some way — and given WordPress’s popularity and open nature, the motive to hack it is always there.

Restricting The Right Visitor

Almost every website security faces this complication of segregating between the denial-of-service attack and users who want to use the website for general reasons. Many websites use security plugins to restrict attackers; however, these plugins sometimes aggressively restrict visitors. This happens for various reasons; for instance, many people use VPN to access websites for professional or personal reasons. Also, many people access websites with proxy servers. These visitors often get blocked by the security plugins. If your security plugin is over enthusiast in blocking suspicious visitors then it might result in losing traffic and leads.

All Plugins Can’t Be Updated Automatically

Most plugins may be set to update automatically, which is a useful feature of WordPress. When new versions are released, they will automatically install without your intervention. However, it’s only true for some plugins. Due to paywalls and other factors, many plugins lack automatic update features. So you need to install them or update them manually.

A Breach Can Have Serious Repercussions

Finally, routine WordPress security audits are critical. A breach can be terrible for your site and your business in general. According to Business Wire, even a tiny data breach can demonstrate to everyone that your firm cannot be trusted, and once you’ve lost the trust of your audience, it can be challenging to regain it.

A Step By Step Guide to Perform WordPress Security Audit

Your website becomes significantly more vulnerable to hacker attacks if regular security audits are not done. A WordPress security audit must be performed at least every two to three months. This helps you to stay secure and close the security gap before any attack. You can use WordPress plugins to evaluate and detect security flaws automatically.

Nonetheless, most security audits are completed manually in a few phases. There are only a few steps to learning how to do a WordPress security audit and fully safeguard your website from assaults.

Let’s dive deep to learn how to do a WordPress security Audit.

Regular Update

WordPress updates are critical for your website’s security and stability. They fix security flaws, provide new features, and boost performance. Check if your WordPress plugins, and themes are all up to date. You can easily do so by going to the Dashboard, where you’ll get notification if any update is required. WordPress will check for available updates and display them for installation.

Remove Any Additional WordPress Themes

Themes are also included in a comprehensive WordPress security audit. Generally, all WordPress site owners try out numerous themes before settling on one. Favorite themes are used, but others are frequently used as well. Yet, most users must know that themes, like plugins, may include various risks.

It is advisable to remove all themes except the one you currently use. Additionally, ensure you’re using your active theme’s most recent version.

Uninstall Any Inactive Plugins

Many developers witnessed several WordPress websites being hacked due to plugins. Third-party developers create WordPress plugins, which are then maintained and updated. But, as with any software, flaws emerge over time. Developers provide a solution to quick fix those issues. This solution includes a security patch that will improve the vulnerability on your website. If you neglect the issue your site will remain insecure.

Check the list of plugins you have installed from the very beginning. Many website owners enjoy experimenting with various themes and plugins. Remove any plugins that you aren’t using. This will remove unrequired parts from your site and lower the likelihood of hackers entering it.

Try recognizing the plugins that are already installed. If you or your team do not recognize a plugin, it is recommended to remove it. This is because hackers occasionally install plugins when they breach your site. These plugins contain backdoors that allow them to get unauthorized access to your website.

If you installed any pirated or nulled plugins, remove them immediately. When you install such unauthorized plugins, it frequently contains spyware that attacks your website. Hackers propagate viruses using pirated plugins.
Now that you only have the plugins, you need to keep them up to date when developers release new versions.

Examine User Accounts and Passwords

Now, go to the Users » All Users tab to evaluate WordPress user accounts. Keep an eye out for any strange user accounts that should not be there.

WordPress offers a smart system of user access options that allow people to collaborate and work together. It helps you to do WordPress maintenance and website development more efficiently. Yet not all WordPress users require full access to your website. They do not need access to additional website features, such as managing plugins and changing WordPress themes.

You may have user accounts for your customers to sign in if you run an online store, a membership site, or sell online courses. However, if you operate a blog or a business website, you can see yourself as a user or someone you manually added to the system. But, If you notice any suspicious user accounts, you must delete them.

If your website does not require users to create an account, go to the Settings » General page and uncheck the box next to the ‘Anyone can register’ option. You should update your WordPress admin password as an extra precaution. Using two-factor authentication on your website would improve password security.

Examine Any Users With FTP Access

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) connects your PC to your server-hosted website. You can change all of the website’s directories and files via FTP.

Because FTP has practically complete power over your website, you should be very cautious and limit that access to those users you trust the most and only when they genuinely need it.

To improve the security of your website, it is strongly advised to reset FTP passwords as needed and review the list of FTP users. You can do so by visiting your hosting account’s cPanel FTP accounts. Examine the entire list of users and delete the ones you no longer require.

Scan WordPress Security

You can install any security scanner for your WordPress website. It will scan the entire system and highlight any malfunctions. Several WordPress security scanner plugins are available; however, you must choose the one compatible with your WordPress website.

Examine Your Website’s Analytics

Website analytics allow you to monitor the traffic to your website. They are also a strong measure of the health of your website.

You need to use the WordPress analytics plugin to track your website traffic. It not only displays your total pageviews, but it also allows you to track registered users, WooCommerce customers, form conversions, and more.

Configure and Test WordPress Backups

If you haven’t already, you should immediately install a WordPress backup plugin. This ensures that your website has a backup, if something goes wrong.

After installing a WordPress backup plugin, many beginners forget about it. Backup plugins might occasionally cease working without warning. Double-check that your backup plugin is still active and save backups.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, by now you are aware of the reasons why you need a WordPress security audit and how to do that. However, to do this efficiently, it is always advantageous to hire a WordPress developer. Connect with someone offering WordPress development services like Esolz Technologies to ensure you get a feature-rich, bug-free WordPress website.