Are you looking for the best practices in managing WordPress site? If the answer is yes, this article lists 22 tips to help you manage your WordPress site like a professional. The best part of the list is that it includes some plugins and tools which are easy to use but can also be really beneficial in helping you increase security or performance on your website while keeping things simple.
Managing WordPress site is more than just security. It is all about maintaining the site to ensure that web crawlers are able to crawl and making your visitors happy at the same time (for faster loading speed).
Back up your MySQL database regularly so that you can restore the site if something bad happens, such as an attack by hackers or some other problem. BackupBuddy is a free plugin to backup and restores databases easily. You should use it for all of your websites.
Installing a WordPress security such as the Wordfence Security plugin will help you manage passwords securely. You should also go into your wp-config.php file and make sure that you have set a strong password there as well so that the database cannot be accessed with an insecure password. If you ever forget your admin username or password, make sure that the database is also protected by a good password, so that your website can't be hacked into.
If you have a WordPress Update notification, you should update it right away. Otherwise, make sure that your host checks for updates once a week and installs them automatically. The more current your version of WordPress is, the more secure it will be.
Make sure you have a good firewall on your hosting account that blocks IP addresses known to make malicious attacks on servers. If your host doesn't have one, ask them for the best possible solution.
Make sure all of your WordPress plugins are updated and secured against vulnerabilities regularly. Some managed WordPress hosting companies such as Kinsta and WP Engine will update their security layers on the server level — making your site is kept updated all the time.
Make sure that your wp-content directory (and the entire /wp-content/plugins and /wp-content/themes directory trees) is set up with permissions of 755 or 750 and owned by www-data. This is critical for security as it blocks any user with FTP access to your website from being able to edit or access these directories and any files in them.
Make sure that all WordPress themes, plugins and other installable items are downloaded directly from the original author. You can check this by doing a right-click on the file and checking the digital signature. The best way to do this is with a plugin called " Download Authenticator ". You should have every WordPress theme, plugin and plugin update that you install digitally signed by the author. This will guarantee the authenticity of all items installed on your WordPress website.
Installing security plugins such as WP Hide, Sucuri and WordFence Security will increase the security performance of your WP site. All in all, making it harder for hackers or any hacking attempt on your site.
You can also use 3rd party tools such as VirusDie which helps you clean up any malware and provide real-time security for your WP site.
Make sure that you have the best version of PHP installed for WordPress, currently 5.6 or higher (see note below), and make sure it is configured properly for WordPress so that it doesn't cause any "Fatal errors" on your site. If your host uses older versions of PHP (such as php5) for all their customers, then you should consider moving to a new hosting provider immediately. This is because it will be more likely that your website will be hacked into using an exploit for older versions of PHP.
The current stable version of PHP is 7.4 and you can even opt for the latest version, PHP 8.0.
Use a caching plugin like WP Rocket to increase performance and security. Some hosts, such as Bluehost, have additional options in cPanel to enable even better cache support under PHP 5.4+ for WordPress websites which is even more secure than the native WordPress caching methods.
It can help decrease the load on your server, and therefore increase performance as well as security by offloading some of the traffic from your webserver to another host closer to your visitors. A very popular CDN service is Cloudflare and you can register for a free account here.
This will greatly increase the security of your website and the privacy of your users' information, especially if they are shopping with a credit card or private information. It also helps to prevent malicious attacks from outside sources from using techniques such as "Clickjacking" which redirects visitors to unwanted or malicious sites.
There are two ways to get an SSL certificate for your WP site. You can either buy an SSL certificate or get one for free using Let's Encrypt. The free version is available on your cPanel dashboard (search for Let's Encrypt) and if you can't, reach out to your web hosting support for assistance.
Install a good backup plugin to make sure your website can be restored in the event of a hack or an accidental deletion. A good choice is WP-DBManager, however, there are many others that you can use.
Our personal favourite is WP Reset. This tool had saved us one too many times, so to speak!
Always keep at least one copy of your entire website offline for safekeeping and restoration in case anything ever happens to your live version of the site.
There are a number of security plugins available that can help make your website more secure such as iThemes Security or Wordfence. You should definitely install one and monitor it regularly to ensure it is doing its job properly. It may be a good idea to monitor the security plugins once in a while in case there are conflicts.
Install and activate Google ReCaptcha on the registration page for your website so that you can help prevent spam registrations on your site.
Install a " 404 Error Page Redirect Plugin" so that visitors don't end up at your standard WordPress page with a blank white screen when they click on a broken link or mistype an old page address. If you are using RankMath or SEOPress, they come included in the plugin.
Try to avoid making unnecessary changes in the plugin or theme editor when you update plugins from your dashboard, as it can cause some problems with certain plugins and themes which require custom editing of the core PHP files. Instead, make any changes that are necessary by adding a new file or editing one manually ONLY after you had performed a backup.
Test your website for any cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities by entering this code into a comment on your site, which should show up in the RSS feed: <!--#echo "test"-->. If you see "test" in the RSS feed, then you have a vulnerability that can be used to hack your site.
Phew! We have covered the 21 best practices for website developers especially for those managing WordPress site. What do you think? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!