So you've launched your blog and setup your very own WordPress website - now all you need to do is create lots of engaging content, sit back, and watch your audience grow, right?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
WordPress is often touted as the world's most popular open-source software - in fact, approximately 25 percent of all websites use WordPress, making it equally popular among hackers looking to wreak havoc.
The good news is that securing your WordPress site is relatively simple, quick, and affordable - in most cases, all you need to invest is a little time.
Here's five easy ways to boost the security of your WordPress site:
Use A Strong, Personalized URL
If you're still using the standard free WordPress login page URL, change it right now to a customized login page URL.
By customizing your URL with a plugin like Custom Login URL, you'll close the well-known 'backdoor' that hackers use to bypass passwords on your site.
While you're at it, go into your profile and change the settings that control which name is available to viewers under the "Display name publicly as" option. Be sure that your username and nickname are different - that way, hackers will have a harder time breaking into your site.
Add A Security Plugin
A reliable security plugin is an always-on security system for your WordPress site - think of it like your own personal cyber-guard.
One of the leading security plugins for WordPress websites is Wordfence, and it's available in both a light, free version, and a robust, premium paid version that includes features like country-specific blocking, password audits, and a spam filter for your comment feed.
Backup Your Site
Regularly backing up your WordPress site can save you a world of heartache if your site gets hacked or you accidentally lock yourself out of your own site (it happens more often than you'd think).
Limit Login Attempts
One of the hallmarks of a WordPress site hack is repeated login attempts, and today's hackers use complex automated scripts to crack your password using a technique that's often referred to as 'brute force'.
Unlike with popular social media sites, online banking sites, and even your email account, WordPress allows unlimited login attempts - that's why it's a good idea to us a login blocking plugin like Jetpack.
Use A Good WordPress Hosting Company
The right WordPress hosting company can make a world of difference when it comes to your ability to grow both your WordPress site and your audience. Pricing ranges from under $50 per year to over $60 per month, so be sure to shop around before signing up with a host.
If you're using your WordPress site to sell a product or service, look for a host that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) - it's that little green padlock that appears on your address bar to let you know the site you're on is safe and secure.
Another WordPress plugin that's worth mentioning is Cloudflare - it's a content delivery network (CDN) that acts like a virtual 'bouncer' for your WordPress site. With Cloudfare, visitors to your WordPress site are automatically screened to see if they are legitimate web users or hackers. The hackers are blocked, while visitors are given access to your content through a fast, local data center, resulting in better security and a better user experience.
With a little up-front work, you can help keep the bad guys out of your WordPress site, increase your audience base, and sleep a little better at night.