WordPress is a great platform to blog on, but out of the box, it doesn’t offer any protection against bots, hackers, slow speeds, or server overloads. Protecting your WordPress site is absolutely essential, and the first step is to always make sure that your version of WordPress and all of the plugins you use are up to date.
WordPress is a major target for a lot of hackers. In fact, website security company, Securi stated in their Website Hacked Report that in the first 3 months of 2016, 78% of hacked websites were WordPress sites. Plugins have been proven to be the top risk for vulnerabilities.
Aside from hacking attempts and compromised websites, it’s important that your site also be able to block out unwanted traffic to help free up your resource usage, and run efficiently. This is super important if you’re using a shared hosting server, as any excessive resource usage can impact other sites on the server and cause your host to suspend your site.
Luckily, there are some great plugins that exist to help you out which do not require any programming knowledge at all.
WordPress Plugins for Security and Performance
Wordfence – This plugin does the job of a handful of plugins, all at once. It blocks brute force attacks (when unknown users try to guess your login credentials), identifies malicious traffic and blocks them from entering your site, blocks visitors from stealing your content, allows you to throttle or block excessive pageview activity from visitors, allows you to block fake search engine bots disguising themselves as Google, and so much more.
Heartbeat Control – If you leave your WordPress admin active for long periods of time (while writing or editing a post) repeated POST requests can cause high resource usage. To avoid this, the WordPress “heartbeat” can be modified or even disabled to lower your server resource usage.
W3 Total Cache – Caching is a great way to limit your resource usage and pretty much every web host will recommend you install a caching plugin if you’re running a WordPress site. This plugin can greatly improve your website performance and speed up load times, which is something that Google looks for when crawling sites!
Loginizer – If you’re not going to use something like Wordfence, you’ll need a security plugin for your login form. Loginizer allows you to set rules for your login page and blocks any malicious login attempts according to the rules you set. You can blacklist or whitelist IP addresses, add ReCAPTCHA and more to improve security.
Blackhole For Bad Bots – If you’ve been having issues with high resource usage and server overloads, bad bots may be to blame. These bots act as search engine bots to scrape your content, and can cause spikes in your usage that can halt your site. This plugin requires editing of your robots.txt file, so some knowledge is needed in that area.
Cloudflare – While not a plugin, Cloudflare is a service that can greatly improve security and performance of your site. With your site on their network, you can control caching and other options through your admin panel. They are able to block malicious attacks as they happen and even load cached files of your blog should your site happen to go down. It’s free for the basic features, which are more than enough for the average user.
When installing any of these plugins, be sure to read the installation instructions and Read Me files that may come with them to ensure proper setup. There are options that will need to be considered by you to get the most reliable performance for your blog.
A safe and efficient blog is a happy blog!!
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