Some people think that their WordPress-powered websites aren’t targeted by hackers because their sites don’t contain sensitive information. However, some hackers may have a different purpose in trying to outsmart website owners who haven’t thought about implementing WordPress site security measures.
Want to strengthen your website’s security? In this article, we will discuss strategies on how to secure the extremely critical and highly vulnerable WordPress core file wp-config.php.
Importance of WordPress Site Security
More often than not, hackers tap into the web host server to send out spam or malware. This would, in turn, cause such a huge toll on the website owner, leading to higher maintenance costs, lost opportunity to engage potential customers, and an utter waste of time.
With the rise in the number of hacking cases, the need to thicken WordPress site security can never be underscored. Website owners should make sure that no one can tamper with the site, so that the user experience remains pleasant and engaging.
What is wp-config.php?
wp-config.php is a WordPress core file that contains information such as name, host, username and password. The information that this file contains allows WordPress to communicate with the database for storage and retrieval of data. In short, it is the blueprint of how your website is structured and how it functions.
Wp-config.ph Tweaks to Improve WordPress Site Security
If this is your first time to dabble on WordPress core files editing, you should first understand the importance of a WordPress constant. This is defined as an identifier that represents a value which can be configured. This remains as is, until there is a need to change how the website should look or if there are other information that needs to be added.
Constants usually make use of capitalized letters and underscores, and are defined by the () function that describes a simple defined argument. This is how a standard WordPress constant appears on the PHP code:
If you want to improve your WordPress site security level to prevent from hackers going into your website, here are some ways to tweak your wp-config.php file:
1. Provide a different location for your WordPress wp-content directory.
The subfolder of your server’s root web directory should be the best location to install your WordPress. In the web root, you should be able to add a new wp-content folder that contains directories for plugins, themes and uploads.
Here’s a fair warning, though: moving or renaming the wp-content folder may cause errors in themes or plugins. However, this should not stop you from pursuing the folder relocation.
2. Must-use plugin directory should be moved to a different location.
Must use plugins run automatically on your website and cannot be disabled. The good thing is that you can change the directory for these required plugins by clearly defining WPMU_PLUGIN_URL. Use the complete URL of the custom must-use plugins folder and with the same method to how WP_PLUGIN_URL was defined.
3. Modify your database prefix.
A prefix is placed before the names of all database tables. When you change your database prefix, it becomes much harder for hackers to get into your files. It will be difficult for them to figure out when you use a dynamic combination of numbers instead of using the default prefix “wp_” – say “g1234_”.
4. Make use of SFTP when editing wp-config.php.
This makes it possible for the connection between you and the user encrypted so that a possible hacker cannot intercept or steal sensitive information.
5. Make use of SSL.
An SSL certificate has the ability to encrypt the connection between your site and the browser used by your visitor. This prevents hackers from intercepting information. It is very ideal to make use of an SSL certificate on all pages of your website.
To use your SSL certificate during logging in and viewing the admin dashboard, this is how it should look:
6. Always enable automatic updates.
It is very important that you keep your website updated with the latest versions of core WordPress, themes and plugins. Updating site files is a very reliable defense against hackers because most of these updates contain security fixes for known vulnerabilities.
Failing to update WordPress-related files puts your site at a higher risk of getting hacked. This may give hackers more freedom to penetrate your website.
7. Customize your login page.
One good tip is to not provide a link to your login page on the main website. In addition, it is ideal to customize your login page URL to increase the WordPress security site level. There are several WordPress site security plugins that can do this specific feature.
8. Add a lockdown feature against multiple login attempts.
You may also want to provide a lockdown feature should there be any attempts to login several times. The lockdown feature will automatically prevent hackers from further attempting to get in.
As a side (but definitely critical) note, make use of unique or dynamic passwords to prevent hackers from getting into your site.
9. Provide a 2-way authentication method.
Some hackers would make use of bots in trying to get into your site. To counter this, implement a 2-way authentication method to prevent bot access. The 2-way authentication method may be a combination of asking for the password and adding a Captcha code.
10. Use email login instead of a username.
Some sites would require logging in by using the username created. However, some hackers can find ways on how they can get through it. Using the email address as login username offers an increased security of information on your website.
11. Change the default “admin” username.
On sites where other people may be able to have direct access to the panel as admin, this is a often disregarded mistake. Create a dynamic name to prevent others from possibly making unnecessary changes on your site.
Website owners should be responsible enough to ensure the security of their site, regardless of the content of the site. Most of the time, hackers want to inflict virtual sabotage on businesses for some malicious reasons, but you don’t have to be one of their victims.
By amping up your WordPress site security, you can prevent hackers from intercepting sensitive information and let your customers and site visitors feel secure when using your website.