Security is the degree of protection to safeguard a nation, union of nations, persons or person against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition.
Fundamentally, security is not about perfectly secure systems. Such a thing might well be impractical, or impossible to find and/or maintain. A secure server protects the privacy, integrity, and availability of the resources under the server administrator's control.
Qualities of a trusted web host might include:
- Readily discusses your security concerns and which security features and processes they offer with their hosting.
- Provides the most recent stable versions of all server software.
- Provides reliable methods for backup and recovery.
Decide which security you need on your server by determining the software and data that needs to be secured.
Keep in mind some general ideas while considering security for each aspect of your system:
- Limiting access - Making smart choices that reduce possible entry points available to a malicious person.
- Containment - Your system should be configured to minimize the amount of damage that can be done in the event that it is compromised.
- Preparation and knowledge - Keeping backups and knowing the state of your WordPress installation at regular intervals. Having a plan to backup and recover your installation in the case of catastrophe can help you get back online faster in the case of a problem.
Vulnerabilities on Your Computer
Make sure the computers you use are free of spyware, malware, and virus infections. No amount of security in WordPress or on your web server will make the slightest difference if there is a keylogger on your computer.
Always keep your operating system and the software on it, especially your web browser, up to date to protect you from security vulnerabilities.
Vulnerabilities in WordPress
Like many modern software packages, WordPress is updated regularly to address new security issues that may arise. Improving software security is always an ongoing concern, and to that end you should always keep up to date with the latest version of WordPress. Older versions of WordPress are not maintained with security updates.
Web Server Vulnerabilities
The web server running WordPress, and the software on it, can have vulnerabilities. Therefore, make sure you are running secure, stable versions of your web server and the software on it, or make sure you are using a trusted host that takes care of these things for you.
If you're on a shared server (one that hosts other websites besides your own) and a website on the same server is compromised, your website can potentially be compromised too even if you follow everything in this guide. Be sure to ask your web host what security precautions they take.
The network on both ends -- the WordPress server side and the client network side -- should be trusted. That means updating firewall rules on your home router and being careful about what networks you work from. An Internet cafe where you are sending passwords over an unencrypted connection, wireless or otherwise, is not a trusted network.
Your web host should be making sure that their network is not compromised by attackers, and you should do the same. Network vulnerabilities can allow passwords and other sensitive information to be intercepted.
Many potential vulnerabilities can be avoided with good security habits. A strong password is an important aspect of this.
The goal with your password is to make it hard for other people to guess and hard for a brute force attack to succeed. Many automatic password generators are available that can be used to create secure passwords.
WordPress also features a password strength meter which is shown when changing your password in WordPress. Use this when changing your password to ensure its strength is adequate.
Things to avoid when choosing a password:
- Any permutation of your own real name, username, company name, or name of your website.
- A word from a dictionary, in any language.
- A short password.
- Any numeric-only or alphabetic-only password (a mixture of both is best).
A strong password is necessary not just to protect your blog content. A hacker who gains access to your administrator account is able to install malicious scripts that can potentially compromise your entire server.
When connecting to your server you should use SFTP encryption if your web host provides it. If you are unsure if your web host provides SFTP or not, just ask them.
Using SFTP is the same as FTP, except your password and other data is encrypted as it transmitted between your computer and your website. This means your password is never sent in the clear and cannot be intercepted by an attacker.
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