How to conduct Security Audit on WordPress Website

WordPress website security Audit

Regular maintenance is very important for anything which you use in your life. If you want to take best results from any product or service, it is very important to do regular maintenance. For example: If you having a Car, you will need timely service for this to run it in a smooth way and for a long time period as well.

In a similar way, most of the internet users do use Antivirus program on their laptop or desktop for regular scanning for virus and any other malware code. So that they can keep their laptop/desktop safe from unauthorized users access.

The same strategy used on WordPress websites as well.  If you are having a WordPress blog or any other type of WordPress website, it is very important to keep your website up to date and perform time security audit as well. It will help you to keep your website safe and secure and also help popular search engines to keep your website in good ranking.

Once your use your WordPress website for a long time, it could be possible that your website may need some security audit. Most common reasons for security audit are:

  • An attacker might be targeting your website.
  • To look for some malware code or virus program code on your website.
  • Unauthorized user access for your website.
  • Any plugin or theme could open security breach.
  • Any malware code injection on website by any hacker using any contact form, image, plugin files, theme files, server security issue or any other issue.
  • Any user may have shared website login information with other user and their laptop/desktop may be hacked.
  • Misuse of logins by any other users etc.

It doesn’t matter what could happen but it is possible that by the time goes, our website may have some security breach. So, it is important that we should check our website for security related issues time to time to ensure that everything is fine on our website.

In this article, we will understand about Security audits, when to perform it and how we can perform that on our website.

What is Security Audit on WP website?

As the name implies WordPress Security Audit is a process of checking your website for security related issues.

In simple words, WordPress security audit is process to check your website code, functionality for any security related leak, or to look for any malware code injection etc.

WordPress security normally contains:

  • Checking WordPress coer files for any virus or malware code.
  • Checking theme files for any unwanted or malware code.
  • Checking plugins files for any malware or unwanted code.
  • Keep your WP files upto date to latest version.
  • Update theme and plugins files to latest version.
  • Look for pages/posts content for any unwanted or unauthorized content or code.
  • Checking for any unauthorized users access.
  • Saving website from any unauthorized access attack.
  • Applying 2- step security.
  • Changing passwords regularly.
  • Find and remove any virus code, malware code or any unwanted code from website.
  • Keep regular website backup so that you can use that on emergency situations.
  • Website speed, performance check and improve it.
  • Block spam comments, uploads etc.

When to Perform Security Audit on WP website?

We are working on WordPress websites from a very long time and from our experience we can say that most of the WordPress websites to get hacked or get malware of virus code on them due to Out dated WP software, Outdated plugin files, Out dated theme files etc.

So, I suggest that check your WordPress website 1-2 times atleast in a month and check if is there any new update available for your WordPress version, theme files or plugin files.

Near about 65% websites get hacked or get virus injection if we don’t keep our website upto date with latest version of WordPress software or latest version of theme or plugin files.

Apart from this if you see any strange behaviour of your website which can include:

  • Suddenly your website slow downs
  • Unexpected links or content on your website
  • Unexpected page redirects
  • Unwanted pop ups
  • You witness sudden traffic drop on your website
  • If see any suspicious user accounts on your website, or you see logins from unexpected country or IP address.
  • And many more…

On such cases, please don’t wait for 1-2 week. Start performing Security Audit on your WordPress website immediately.

How to do Security Audit on my WordPress Website?

Conducting security audit on your WP website could be a time consuming process as it will involve looking for every aspect of your website but in this article, I will try to make it very simple and clear for you. In this way, you will be able to do everything yourself by every simple steps.

Check for Latest Updates

As I already explained that most of the WordPress websites get security related issues due to old software, theme or plugin files. That is why it is very important to keep your website up to date to the latest version. It will include:

  • Check for your WordPress version update time to time and keep it updated.
  • Use the latest version of PHP software on your server.
  • Update your theme to the latest version so that you can use all latest features and get security related as well from the theme Development Company or developer.
  • Check and update your plugin files to the latest version.

Manage your website Backup

It is very important that you create regular backup of your WP website. In this way, you will always have latest and working copy of your website in your safe locker. You can download these backups on your local computer or, you can keep them safe on server.

These backup will always give you confidence about dealing with emergency situations like:

  • Some hacker has hacked your whole website and injected virus code everywhere
  • Your server got hacked and now you want to move website to different server
  • You are not a programmer but your website got hacked and now you want to restore your website.
  • If any case you want to run you old version of website.
  • You don’t want to remove any virus or malware code one by one checking all files and you want to safe time. In such situations you can use your website backup to restore your website.

In WordPress there are many Backup and Restore plugins available. You can use them to create your website backup automatically and in very simple way.

Check for Unauthorized Users

It is very important that your website admin panel should be accessed by verified users only.
Specially, if you are running a blog where you allow users to register on your website to post their articles or if you have any membership website.
It is very important that you check your website users and check for any unwanted or unauthorized users. If you found any such users delete them from your admin panel.

Another very important part if use a secure and safe password for your username and keep changing password time to time. This will reduce the changes to misuse your username/password.

You can access your website active users from Users > all users

Now, you can delete any user or change password for any user as well.

Remove unused themes and plugin files

Check your website for any unused plugin or theme. If you are not using them anymore or you don’t have any plan to use them on near future. You can delete them from your website admin panel.

It will keep your website clean with only used coding files. Sometimes these old plugin files or theme files open up security vulnerabilities on your website and hackers can use these to put malware code on your website.

So, just make it simple, use only those themes and plugin which you need on your website and remove the unused things.

Prevent your website from Brute force attack methods

Brute Force Attack is the simplest method to gain access to your WP website or your server. It tries various combinations of usernames and passwords again and again until it gets in.

Normally, your website login page is the first part where attackers start using brute force attack, it is important for you to make this page safe and secure. There are few important ways which you can use on this.

  • Change your website default login page URL to something else.
  • You can whitelisting IP which you want to give access to your website admin panel.
  • Block IP where you see frequently login attempt on your website.
  • Limited number of login attempt- In this method, you can restrict users’ login attempt for wrong username/password. After these numbers of attempts, these users will get blocked automatically.
  • Implementing two factor authentication

There are many WordPress security plugin available and you can use them for security audit.

Run Security Scans on your website

Perform security scan on your WP website using any WordPress Security plugin like:
WordFence or Security & malware Scan   or any other plugin which you like.

These plugins will scan your website and will let you know the recommended actions needed to perform on your website to make it clean and safe.

Find and eliminate vulnerabilities

Your final task will be to find and remove the vulnerabilities or any unwanted/malware code from your website. Once you perform a security scan on your website you will get a list of required actions. It will let you know which file on your website has malware or virus code.

You will need to locate those files and either remove that malware code Or, replace that file with new file.

Final Words

WordPress websites are very easy to manage and work with but it is very important for every user to keep updated to the latest version possible.

On every update for WordPress version, you get security patch which increase security levels on your website and in the similar way, regular update to theme files and plugin files increase the changes to keep your website safe and secure.

If unfortunately, some hacker hacks your website or you get virus on your you have two options:

  1. Use your backup files to restore your website
  2. Use scan and clean your website

I hope this article will help you to perform and good security audit on your website and make your website more safe and secure.

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