Installing plugins to increase the features and functionality of a WordPress website is a frequent activity.
Some plugins offer improved security and let you keep an eye on the efficiency of your website. Installing plugins will help you manage backups, run forums or chat services, increase SEO, reduce spam, and complete a vast array of other site management duties.
However, you are likely aware of the effort required to keep the site safe from hackers who are always trying to access different websites through brute force attacks, phishing, malware, and other methods.
One way to do so is by exploiting vulnerabilities on your website. Hackers like to use backdoors like plugins or software to insert malicious codes into a webpage.
Concerns with Plugins
A plugin is a small piece of software that enhances or expands the functionality of a website. To mention a few, some plugins show social network widgets, collect statistics, and produce polls and other kinds of content.
When a plugin is connected to the website’s engine, it runs seamlessly. It only causes you trouble if something goes wrong with it, or if someone else sees the problem. The danger of such modules lies in the fact that you might not notice anything if the developer sells or abandons their plugin.
Common plugin Vulnerabilities
Certain Free Plugins Include Malicious Coding
To lower the cost of maintaining their websites, the majority of WordPress website owners frequently employ free WordPress plugins. In fact, several free plugins are helpful. They enable website proprietors to carry out several tasks fast and without making any dumb mistakes. But be cautious.
Free WordPress plugins are made by individuals to promote their skills to a big audience and then persuade them to purchase the premium product to take advantage of additional features and capabilities.
If they are unsuccessful in their goal, they stop updating free plugins for security flaws. Because of this, if you use such plugins, your website becomes vulnerable to hackers who can easily damage your online resources.
Numerous WordPress Plugins Fail to Recognize New Updates
Many WordPress plugins fail to acknowledge the most recent security upgrades. They act erratically and refuse to adapt to new developments. Such plugins don’t adversely affect your website’s performance over time.
The Use of Too Many Plugins May Cause Website Slowdown
Many website owners rely too heavily on WordPress Plugins to carry out their everyday company operations. To improve the performance of their websites, they install an excessive number of WordPress plugins. But in practice, the exact reverse occurs. Having too many plugins causes your website to load slowly and puts additional strain on the server. Always keep in mind that because customers dislike browsing slow websites, slow websites frequently rank lower in the SERPs of various search engines.
Many Security Flaws
Many plugins have insufficient defences against the Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability. Some of the most common issues experienced by WordPress Plugin users are XSS in the WP Photo Album Plus plug-in, BeEF Hook, and Administrative Access to WordPress.
How to Fix Website Plugin Vulnerabilities
The following are some of the best and most proactive steps you can take to safeguard your website from plugin issues.
Limit Plugins Installed
The “attack surface” of your website grows with each plugin you add. Your chances of having a security vulnerability exploited increase as a result of running more code. Every plugin you add to your website represents a different developer whose security you are depending on. That entails creating secure code, acting swiftly after vulnerability reports, and looking out for your interests. Utilize as few plugins as you can
Select Reliable Plugins
WordPress provides a beautiful overview that provides you with practically all the information you require, which makes it quite simple to evaluate plugins.
Here are things you need to consider when choosing a plugin for your site.
- The better the last update, the more recent it was.
- Verify the plugin’s active install count. Even though some dependable and helpful plugins have a small installed base, you should still carefully investigate a plugin. If it has a small install base that’s below 1,000 active installs, it might not be kept up.
- It should work with the most recent version of WordPress. However, keep in mind that many respected plugins will display a “Test up to:” value that is behind as soon as writers complete testing their plugin with the most recent WordPress version.
- The average plugin rating ought to be sufficient to inspire trust. Naturally, the higher rating is better.
Update Your Plugins Frequently
WordPress plugins are continually being found to have security flaws. The information required to exploit the security weakness will frequently be made public, which means that everyone around the globe will have access to it.
In actuality, the vast majority of assaults on WordPress websites are attempting to take advantage of well-known security flaws, some of which date back years. Attackers hunt for site owners who don’t keep things up to date rather than new vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately, they keep on succeeding. By just keeping things current, you may remain ahead of the curve.
Get a WordPress Firewall Installed
Now and again, a hacker may start attacking websites after finding a zero-day vulnerability in a plugin. If you are unfortunate enough to be using the vulnerable plugin in these circumstances, having the most recent version installed won’t assist to secure your website.
A web application firewall, or WAF, can help in this situation. Web application firewalls inspect the traffic to your website and weed out errant requests.
No Access to the Directory of Plugins
By blocking access to the plugin directory, you may secure your plugin code in one of the best ways possible. If you have more users, bear in mind that you shouldn’t share this section with anyone.
It would be simpler for hackers to access your plugins if you have left the plugin directory exposed. So, to accomplish that and take these actions:
Make a new index.html file> Put the file in the directory for plugins > Root folder > Launch the.htaccess file > Options – Indexes at the beginning
By using this technique, you can be confident that no one else is looking through the data you have on your website.
Stop Reporting PHP Errors
The PHP error is the next item you need to disable on your website to protect the code of your plugins. This function might be a wonderful entry point for hackers because it alerts you anytime there is a problem with your platform.
The server path information is included with these PHP reporting problems. Therefore, if troublemakers see an error notice, you will no longer control your website. Furthermore, it’s not difficult to disable PHP errors. To do this, adhere to the following steps:
Go to wp-config.php file > To the file, copy this:
Skip the Abandoned Plugins
This is consistent with regularly updating your plugins. When a plugin is updated, it signifies that its creator has checked it for vulnerabilities and fixed any problems.
Consider adopting an alternative if you see that a plugin you wish to utilize on your website hasn’t received any updates in the last six months. Plugins that have been abandoned are not regularly checked for security flaws, which leaves your website vulnerable to attack.
Perform a Website Security Audit with the Assistance of Experts
An essential step in securing both your website and any installed plugins is doing a website security audit. Certain technical problems and security flaws are complicated and necessitate skill to resolve.
Therefore, periodically conduct a website security audit and examine all security features of the site thoroughly with the assistance of a professional or a freelance WordPress developer. This will enable you to quickly identify and resolve several security-related problems brought on by plugins.
Regularly Check the Plugin Performance Manually
When operating a website with business goals in mind, you must give the highest emphasis to all parts of your website. Check each of the site’s installed plugins’ performance manually. This will assist you in tracking questionable plugin activity or website hacker activity and resolving the issue quickly.
Eliminate Old and Inactive Plugins from Your Websites
It frequently occurs that there are too many plugins on a website and then don’t utilize them for a while. Such plugins not only use up resources but also slow down the site, which harms how well it performs.
Therefore, don’t be lazy and remove all unnecessary and out-of-date plugins from your website right away. Your website will become considerably faster and safer as a result.
By following these steps, you can make sure that hackers will not seize the opportunity to exploit any weaknesses in your system. By being proactive or regularly managing your website, you can protect your business’s reputation and your consumers.
For more cybersecurity tips, visit the Softvire NZ blog. You can learn more about how you can protect your business or website, how to market your brand, and so on.