18 Essential WordPress Security Tips to Safeguard Your Site in 2024

WordPress powers over 40% of all websites, making it a prime target for hackers and malicious actors. Fortunately, by implementing the right security measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of your WordPress site falling victim to an attack.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through 18 crucial WordPress security tips for 2024, ranging from fundamental best practices to advanced techniques. Whether you‘re a beginner or a seasoned webmaster, you‘re sure to find valuable insights to help keep your site safe and secure.

Fundamental WordPress Security Best Practices

Let‘s start with some essential security measures that every WordPress site owner should have in place:

1. Choose a Secure WordPress Hosting Provider

Your WordPress host serves as the foundation for your site‘s security. Look for a reputable provider that prioritizes security, offering features like:

  • Automatic backups
  • Server-level firewalls
  • Malware scanning and removal
  • DDoS protection
  • SSL certificates
  • Regular server maintenance and updates

Managed WordPress hosts like WP Engine, Flywheel, and Kinsta are excellent choices, as they handle many security aspects for you. However, you can still achieve a secure setup with other quality hosts by following the rest of the tips in this guide.

2. Keep WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins Updated

One of the most effective ways to protect your WordPress site is to keep everything up-to-date. This includes WordPress core, your theme, and all installed plugins.

Developers regularly release updates that patch known security vulnerabilities, so it‘s crucial to apply these updates promptly. Failing to do so leaves your site exposed to attacks exploiting those vulnerabilities.

To streamline the update process, consider enabling automatic updates for WordPress core. For themes and plugins, you can set up automatic updates directly from the WordPress dashboard or use a plugin like Easy Updates Manager for more granular control.

3. Install a Comprehensive WordPress Security Plugin

Using a dedicated WordPress security plugin is an excellent way to implement multiple security measures in one fell swoop. Some top-rated options include:

  • Wordfence Security
  • Sucuri Security
  • iThemes Security
  • MalCare
  • All In One WP Security & Firewall

These plugins offer features like firewall protection, malware scanning, login security enhancements, and more. They can also help you identify and fix common security vulnerabilities on your site.

4. Create Regular WordPress Backups

Regularly backing up your WordPress site is crucial for quickly recovering from a security incident or other disaster. Aim to create backups at least once a week, storing copies both on-site and off-site.

In addition to any backups provided by your host, consider using a WordPress backup plugin like UpdraftPlus, BackWPup, or WPVivid. These tools allow you to schedule automatic backups and store them in various locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3.

5. Vet Third-Party Plugins and Themes

Before installing a new plugin or theme on your WordPress site, always do your due diligence. Stick with reputable sources like the official WordPress.org directories or well-known premium marketplaces.

When evaluating a plugin or theme, look for:

  • Recent updates (within the last 6 months)
  • Compatibility with the latest WordPress version
  • Positive reviews and high ratings
  • Solid documentation and support

Avoid nulled or pirated plugins and themes, as these often contain malware or backdoors that can compromise your site.

Intermediate WordPress Security Measures

With the fundamentals covered, let‘s explore some more advanced techniques to further fortify your WordPress site:

6. Leverage User Roles and Permissions

WordPress offers various user roles with different levels of access and permissions. As a general rule, only give users the minimum permissions they need to perform their tasks.

For example, if someone only needs to write blog posts, assign them the Author role instead of Editor or Administrator. This helps limit the damage that can be done if an account is compromised.

Regularly audit your user list and remove any inactive or unnecessary accounts. For added security, consider using a plugin like User Role Editor to create custom roles with granular permissions.

7. Harden WordPress Login Security

The WordPress login page is a common target for brute-force attacks and other malicious login attempts. To strengthen your login security:

  • Limit failed login attempts with a plugin like Login Lockdown or Limit Login Attempts Reloaded
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) using a plugin like Google Authenticator or Two Factor Authentication
  • Add CAPTCHA to the login form using a plugin like reCAPTCHA by BestWebSoft

You can also hide the default WordPress login page entirely by changing its URL. Plugins like WPS Hide Login and Perfmatters make this easy to do.

8. Use Strong Usernames and Passwords

Weak or easily guessable usernames and passwords are an open invitation for hackers. Avoid using "admin" or your domain name as the username, and steer clear of common passwords like "123456" or "password."

Instead, use a unique, randomly generated username for each user. For passwords, aim for at least 12 characters, mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password to generate and securely store strong passwords.

9. Implement SSL Encryption

Installing an SSL certificate and enabling HTTPS encryption on your WordPress site is essential for protecting sensitive data like login credentials and customer information. It also provides a modest SEO boost and helps build trust with visitors.

Many WordPress hosts now offer free SSL certificates through Let‘s Encrypt. If yours doesn‘t, you can purchase one from a reputable SSL provider like Namecheap or SSLs.com. Once installed, use a plugin like Really Simple SSL to easily configure WordPress to use HTTPS.

Advanced WordPress Security Techniques

For those looking to take their WordPress security to the next level, here are some advanced techniques to consider:

10. Disable File Editing

By default, WordPress allows administrators to edit theme and plugin files directly from the dashboard. This feature can be a security risk if an admin account is compromised, as it allows an attacker to easily inject malicious code into your site.

To disable file editing, add the following line to your wp-config.php file:

define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT‘, true );

11. Prevent PHP Execution in Untrusted Folders

WordPress directories like /wp-content/uploads/ should not contain executable PHP files. However, attackers may try to upload malicious PHP scripts to these folders and then execute them.

To prevent this, create an .htaccess file in your uploads directory with the following contents:

<Files *.php>
deny from all

This blocks access to any PHP files placed in the uploads folder.

12. Change the WordPress Database Prefix

By default, WordPress uses wp_ as the prefix for all database tables. This makes it easier for hackers to guess your table names and craft SQL injection attacks.

Changing the database prefix to something unique can help thwart these attacks. Many managed WordPress hosts do this automatically, but you can also do it manually in the wp-config.php file:

$tableprefix = ‘myr4nd0m‘;

Just be sure to also rename your existing database tables to match the new prefix.

13. Secure the wp-config.php File

Your wp-config.php file contains sensitive information like your database credentials. To keep this file out of reach of attackers, move it one level above your WordPress root directory.

WordPress will automatically look for the file in the directory above if it‘s not found in the default location.

14. Rename the Default Login URL

By default, the WordPress login page is located at /wp-login.php or /wp-admin/. This makes it easy for hackers to find and target with brute-force attacks.

Changing the login URL to something unique can help obscure it from attackers. Plugins like WPS Hide Login, Perfmatters, and iThemes Security make this simple to do.

15. Turn Off Directory Browsing

If directory browsing is enabled on your server, visitors can see a list of files in a directory by visiting its URL. This can expose sensitive files and give attackers valuable information about your site‘s structure.

To disable directory browsing, create or edit the .htaccess file in your WordPress root directory and add the following line:

Options -Indexes

16. Automatically Log Out Idle Users

If a user remains logged into your WordPress dashboard but inactive for an extended period, it increases the chance of someone else gaining access to their account.

To mitigate this risk, use a plugin like Inactive Logout or WP User Timeout to automatically log out idle users after a specified period of inactivity.

17. Implement Additional Security Headers

HTTP security headers provide an extra layer of protection by instructing browsers to take certain security precautions. Some valuable headers to add include:

  • X-XSS-Protection: Helps prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks
  • X-Content-Type-Options: Prevents MIME type sniffing
  • X-Frame-Options: Protects against clickjacking attacks
  • Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS): Enforces HTTPS connections

You can set these headers using a plugin like WP Defender or manually in your .htaccess file.

What to Do If Your WordPress Site Gets Hacked

Even with the best security measures in place, there‘s always a chance your WordPress site could get hacked. If you suspect your site has been compromised, take the following steps:

  1. Put your site into maintenance mode to prevent further damage and protect visitors.

  2. Change all WordPress user passwords, especially those with admin privileges.

  3. Update WordPress core, themes, and plugins to ensure you have the latest security patches.

  4. Delete any suspicious user accounts that may have been created by the attacker.

  5. Scan your site for malware using a plugin like MalCare or a service like Sucuri. Remove any malicious code found.

  6. Restore clean copies of WordPress core files, your theme, and plugins from official sources.

  7. If needed, restore your site from a clean, pre-hack backup.

  8. Investigate how the attack happened and take steps to prevent it from occurring again, such as implementing additional security measures or switching to a more secure host.

By taking a proactive approach to WordPress security and having a plan in place for dealing with potential breaches, you can minimize the risk and impact of a hack on your site.


Securing your WordPress site is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and staying up-to-date with the latest best practices. By implementing the tips outlined in this guide and regularly monitoring your site for signs of trouble, you can greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to a costly cyber attack.

Remember, when it comes to WordPress security, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Invest the time and effort now to safeguard your site, and you‘ll be able to rest easier knowing you‘ve done your due diligence to protect your online presence.

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