One of the advantages of WordPress is an extensive catalog of free plugins. Choosing from tens of thousands of options, you can add new features to your site WordPress with minimal development costs and time.
Unfortunately, the add-ons also have an Achilles heel system. Outdated solutions and vulnerabilities are the main way to hack WP sites. The more you install them, the more maintenance is needed, the more risk of problems with plugins incompatibility and web resource errors.
Whether you are a developer or a website owner, there are a few steps to help you avoid dangerous add-ons.
1. Check the new plug-ins before installation
WordPress is an open source platform, so anyone can create a plugin and place it in an offline directory.
This is why there are so many plug-ins in the WP repository, and often there are several options that solve the same problem.
Each developer is responsible for updating and supporting his product. You, as the owner of the site, need to check the page of the plugin on the off. site and evaluate such its parameters:
- how many settings,
- whether there are good reviews,
- when it was last updated,
- whether it is compatible with the latest version of the engine,
- whether there are unanswered support questions.
If the extension has been available for a long time but has few installations, something is wrong with it. We need to look for another option. Similar bad reviews about it. Also, if the support page has many open questions, it is likely that the product has been abandoned. In this case, the developer stops updating, does not respond in support, stops testing with the latest updates of WordPress.
2. Keep the list of prohibited plug-ins close by
There are certain plugins that will never work for your site. Tracking this list will help avoid problems in the future, especially if a new development team or manager takes over the management of your site.
You can also check with your hosting company if they have such a list. It may include extensions that lead to performance/security problems. For example, those that load the database and slow down the site.
Also, look at all the features of your hosting company. For example, your hosting plan may include daily backups or additional server-level security features. For such tasks you do not need to look for solutions.
Remember: the fewer plugins you have, the faster, more stable and safer your website is.
3. Update plug-ins monthly
The site requires constant maintenance. Developers support the code of its plugin, release updates. They often include patches for security vulnerabilities. Therefore you should update them regularly. This applies to free and premium versions.
Also, remove the extension if you do not use it and do not plan to do so.
4. Keep track of WordPress vulnerabilities
Since WP is the most popular CMS, it attracts hackers’ attention the most. Unfortunately, unintentional security problems with plugins are the most vulnerable aspect of WordPress, putting millions of sites at risk.
WPScan vulnerability database is a good resource to check any known security problems. Here you will find the latest problems found in the plugins, themes and engine core itself. In the directory, you can review the vulnerability and check if it is fixed. If you notice a plugin or theme installed on your site from this list, make sure that you have removed or updated it.
5. Update to the latest version of PHP
WordPress runs on PHP. Like plug-ins and themes, the language is also periodically updated. Since PHP runs on the server side, running the site on an outdated version can be dangerous. If a vulnerability is found in an outdated version of PHP, a hacker may use it to target any sites and servers where this code is executed.
An additional advantage of upgrading to the latest version of PHP is that it can help you check and filter plugins. Before upgrading a website to the next version of PHP, the developer will have to run compatibility testing to make sure there are no compatibility issues with the plugins or themes.
If a plugin does not pass the compatibility test, it may mean that the plugin is no longer supported and that an alternative should be sought.
Staying up to date with the latest PHP updates will keep your site safe.
If the above items seem to be laborious to you, think about how much money you will save in the long run. With WordPress, you will be able to scale and change your site as your business grows, easily moving from an information site to an e-commerce site, without having to rebuild your entire web resource structure every time.