Scanning Your WordPress Site for Security Holes
Your WordPress site is a hotbed for sensitive information and digital assets. Improper security is one of the main reason why hackers are targeting you. Thus, scanning it for possible vulnerabilities is now a necessity. By doing so, you will be keeping dangerous hackers at bay.Examining your site for security holes is essential. It tells you how the site gets exposed to hackers for attacks. As a result, you can make your move, and take adequate measures, to patch any possible holes in your site’s security. Also, there is no rocket science behind it. Fortunately, there are many fantastic plugins and tools available nowadays. Furthermore, the plugins and tools make the site scanning process a lot easier.
Hence, in this article, we will be discussing some of these excellent tools to help you keep the attackers at bay. Thus, they ensure the security of your WordPress site is strong at all times.
These plugins/tools are also pretty easy to install. Besides, they automate the entire scanning process. Thus, they make it way simpler to keep your site’s security in check.
Is Your site vulnerable to such attacks?
Many people believe their sites get secured, without taking any adequate measure. They believe that they need no scanning tool to keep them safe from hackers. After all, why would any hacker notice an insignificant part of the worldwide web network, especially when your site does not even contain any personal or identifiable information.
But, to be honest, assuming your WordPress site to be safe, and not being vulnerable is a high-security risk. No site is secure. Or, considered safe without taking proper actions for its safety. Thus, you must use essential tips and must-dos to keep secure WordPress site.
Also, if the site contains personal information hackers may use it for identity theft. Or, they may hack into other accounts that you have, especially if you keep the same passwords for all sites. These accounts include bank accounts, social media accounts, and others. Even so, a single vulnerability in the WordPress site will compromise your whole life.
Worst case scenarios
Your site gets cut off by the hosting company and becomes unavailable. Besides, to recover your site, you will have to go through many red tapes. Furthermore, you must convince the hosting company that you will bring the site back. Nonetheless, this may take up to more than a month in some cases.
Here are some ways your site may still be open to hackers :
- Using ‘administrator’ or ‘admin’ as the username
- Weak passwords
- Vulnerable themes and plugins
- Naming database prefixes using defaults
- Improper file permissions
- Enabled theme editor and plugin
- Insecure computer or server
- Necessary files are left open, without any password protection
To be honest, this only scratches the surface indeed. There are still many ways out there which make your site vulnerable to hackers. Almost 73 percent of WordPress’s most famous sites are vulnerable. So, your site has a pretty good chance as well. Hence, the best option you have is to start looking for security holes. So, how will you ensure that your WordPress site is not vulnerable? The only way to be sure about this is to check and scan your site. Here is a detailed guide on how to secure your WordPress.
Scanning Your Server and WordPress Site
There are free tools out there which are great to scan your WordPress site online. Below are some useful websites which offer these great features. Besides, you only need to enter the URL of your site. Then, click a button to get started with scanning for vulnerabilities:
- Sucuri Site Check: Will check your site for blacklisting status, known malware, errors or if the site is out-of-date.
- WordPress Security Scan: It checks for common vulnerabilities in the site. But with a premium upgrade, you can also get advanced scans.
- Acunetix: Offers free registration to avail trial for 14 days. Scans for network related vulnerabilities and is not specific to WordPress.
- Scan My Server: You need to Sign up and get the detailed report of possible vulnerabilities for your site. It also provides a back link on the site for ownership verification, i.e. you are not an attacker.
- WPScan: Is a self-hosted, and free vulnerability scanner for personal usage. For commercial use, you will need a business license though.
- Unmask Parasites: Helps in providing information if the site is already hacked, or attacked with spam or malware.
- Norton Safe Web: Is similar to the website mentioned above and helps in checking if your site gets already compromised.
The sites will help you see exactly where your site needs improvement. Thus, you will achieve the security protocols with ease.
These scanners are not only free to use but provide a reasonably clear overview, except for a few of them. However, to avail premium services, you would need to sign up for an account. A premium account, offers detailed insight on where significant improvements must get done. Hence, there is no doubt that these scanners are suitable as a starting point. However, you must use other enhanced tools too to get complete insight of vulnerabilities.
Plugins that are Best for Detailed Scans
Do you want to perform a more detailed scan of your website? Well, you must install a plugin that lets you know what vulnerabilities your site gets exposed to. These plugins work fine on single WordPress installs. Also, they get updated frequently, and work well on multi-site networks. However, they must get activated on site-by-site basis. Let’s look at a selected few of these:
Total security checks
Your website and provides detailed reporting on discovered vulnerabilities. It notifies you straight away so you can fix it up and allows you to change your site’s login page URL for added security. In addition, it monitors the WordPress core and your site’s files for any issues. The downside though, is that you aren’t able to apply several important vulnerability fixes. But Total security is still a brilliant scanner with in depth reports.
Vulnerable Plugin checker
It automatically checks installed plugins for vulnerabilities and security concerns. Also, it provides optional email alerts to notify you if issues get detected. However, it does not scan your site’s files or themes. Furthermore, you also cannot be able to fix anything with this plugin. It has automated checking.
Additionally, it’s done performed twice on a daily basis. As a result, it increases the likeliness of catching threats early.The plugin merely scans the plugins you have already installed for vulnerabilities. But these scans get detailed. Besides, they can locate deprecated WordPress functions, known security vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, they can locate some unsafe PHP functions. The functions get used by hackers to compromise your site. The plugin checks the WPScan Vulnerability Database for any issue reported before. In case there turns out to be a match between code used in one of your plugins and the database, you get notified. Thus, you can fix it. However, this plugin too does not resolve issues for you or you can even take help from WP Experts. Even so, using this plugin is a quick way of adding many layers of protection to your WordPress site.
This is yet another plugin that merely scans the plugins you’ve already installed for vulnerabilities. But these scans are detailed and can locate deprecated WordPress functions, known security vulnerabilities and some unsafe PHP functions, which are used by hackers to compromise your site. This plugin works is by checking the WPScan Vulnerability Database for any issue previously reported. In case there turns out to be a match between code used in one of your plugins and the database, you are notified so as to fix it. However, this plugin too doesn’t resolve issues for you.
It is easy to use and offers a variety of interesting features. These includes limited login attempts, strong password enforcement and 404 error detection. Also, it includes special features like the “away” mode. This mode allows you to make your admin inaccessible for when you are not using it.
Additionally, you get notified through email if a user gets locked out. Or, if any of your files gets removed or changed. There is an option for scheduled database backups. Also, you can have your backups emailed to you for you to download and save them as per your own convenience.
Furthermore, there are other notable features. These include a hide login page, hide admin page and a bot blacklist. Like security plugins available it does not work well with some hosting platforms. Among them are a lot of VPS and shared hosting plans. Nonetheless, these plugins are highly useful in detecting. Also, they let you know where security patches get required by your site. As a result, you can fix the issues and maintain the security of your WordPress site at all times.
To Patch-up Security Holes
You can fix security holes once you scan your site with any of the above-listed plugin or tool. Yet, you must know the vulnerability areas for easier fixing. Start with working on the problems which must get treated urgently. You can then proceed working down the list of possible vulnerabilities.
However, the best way to solve this is to get a security plugin which will fix the issues automatically. After that, hire an expert for proper configuration and maintaining security protocols. There are many such plugins available out there. Nonetheless, use the one that best suits your WordPress site’s security needs.