May 272012

This guest post is by Karol K of ThemeFuse.

Right now WordPress powers 48 of the top 100 blogs online. More than that, WordPress actually powers 19% of the web as a whole.

Essentially, this is great. Such a strong community of users and developers means that the platform is sure to evolve even further and provide us with lots of cool features that are yet to be developed.

Unfortunately, this creates some dangers as well… Whenever there’s a big number of people trying to make something happen, there’s another group of people trying to take it all down.

The cases where a blog owner loses complete access to their site are not uncommon. Actually, sometimes even whole domains get hijacked, and I honestly have no idea on how that’s done.

But we don’t have to know how hijacking a domain or stealing a blog works to be able to implement some basic security precautions. And that is exactly what this post is about—making your blog secure without playing with source code, understanding things, and stuff.

Typical WordPress security problems

WordPress as a whole (a website management platform) is very well designed. It doesn’t have any preposterous security issues that beginning programmers could exploit. The problems, however, arise when you try to tweak your installation of WordPress by adding new plugins or themes, implementing hacks, or doing anything else that interferes with WordPress.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should settle for the default installation, not use any plugins, and only blog using the default theme. What it means is that you simply need to be careful when installing new stuff on your blog, as well as when setting up your blog for the first time.

Let’s start by discussing some of the common security problems you’ll need to handle.

The basics

Excuse me for being obvious, but you really need to start with proper usernames and passwords for your user accounts. Everyone realizes the importance of this, but not as many people implement the best practices.

You must use complex passwords—letters, numbers, special characters, spaces—and usernames that are not obvious. A password of “admin,” for example, is extra-obvious.

For more information on account security, see my recent guest post here on ProBlogger, which explained user accounts and roles, and how to set them up properly.

The name of the next problem in line: shady, untested plugins. WordPress plugins have a fair amount of power over how your WordPress installation works.

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