A good security strategy to your WordPress site is to include the best practices to strengthen the WordPress login. WordPress, by default, doesn’t restrict access to any user/visitor, which include unlimited login attempts. This, in general, is considered as flexible approach. However, like any other open-source content management system, it becomes so predictable that anyone who knows WordPress would easily make out how to access your login module and can determine your site login page i.e., wp-login.php etc. This definitely is not a good security practice and ultimately makes your website vulnerable.
WordPress login URL is the same for every WordPress site by default, and it doesn’t require any special permissions to access. This is one of the reasons why WordPress login page is most attacked and need extra layer of security.
Unfortunately, even a beginner-level hacker can create a bot to brute force attack in order to spam your website because you default WordPress login has no barrier entry other than just a password. That is why securing your login module is crucial for running a WordPress site.
There are several common WordPress security best practices that should be adopted to avoid being vulnerable:
There is a lot of uncertainty about password security best practices. Let us try to break down the basics of how using a strong password improves your WordPress security.
Whenever creating a password, the first item that you will want to consider is the length of the password. The list below shows the estimated time it takes to crack a password using a four-core i5 processor.
- 7 characters will take .29 milliseconds to crack.
- 8 characters will take 5 hours to crack.
- 9 characters will take 5 days to crack.
- 10 characters will take 4 months to crack
- 11 characters will take 1 decade to crack
- 12 characters will take 2 centuries to crack.
So, you can easily understand that adding a single character to your password can significantly increase the security of your login.
A twelve characters long random password which includes a large pool of characters like “ISt8XXa!28X3” will make it very difficult to crack.
Also, to strengthen your logins, make sure of your password randomness. The more random your password is, the more difficult the password will be to crack. For example, based on just the length requirement, a password like “abcdefghijkl” can be strong as it is 12 characters but since the password uses sequential strings of letters, it makes the password much more predictable compared with a password like “rfybolaawtpm” which has randomized characters. Random characters reduce the predictability and increases the strength of the password. It is also vital to include alphanumeric, upper-case letters, and common ASCII characters to increase the pool of characters needed to crack the password even more.
- You can use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password to create and store passwords safely and easily.
- You can use a password policy on your website, which includes setting up password expiry and enforcing strong passwords. This will help to increase the WordPress login security.
Use a Unique Password for Every Account
Another essential security practice is, using unique passwords for every account. This is actually very important because it can make your other accounts vulnerable as well.
Why does reusing passwords matter so much?
If you use the same password for every site, and imagine, one of those sites is compromised, you are now using a compromised password for every account, on every site. Hackers can use data dumps of compromised passwords matching with your email address or username to gain access to your accounts. The more accounts you are reusing passwords, the weaker your WordPress login security will be.
In a list compiled by Cybernews, the most common password in 2022 was 123456. The WordPress login security of your site is only as strong as the weakest link, so you should be more diligent and proactive with your password policies and practices.
- You can use plugins like iThemes Security Pro, Defender or Wordfence to protect WordPress from compromised passwords
- There are features in these security plugins that allow you to force all of your users to change their password the next time they log in.
- Using a password manager, like LastPass, can help you keep track of your logins and unique passwords. With the help of such password manager, you don’t have to remember your passwords.
Limit Login Attempts
WordPress, by default, doesn’t stop you for making login attempts. This is how WordPress is built and does not have the necessary framework to stop the number of failed logins attempts, so an attacker can keep trying an endless number of password combinations until they get in.
It is highly recommended to use a security plugin to limit the number of failed login attempts. There are many plugins like Wordfence, iThemes Security which comes with a Brute Force Protection feature that gives you the options to configure the number of allowed failed login attempts before a username or IP is locked out. A lockout will temporarily disable the attacker’s ability to make login attempts. You can configure in such a way that if the attackers reach to multiple lockouts, they can be banned from even viewing the site.
- When deciding how strict you want your rules for failed login attempts to be, keep the actual users of your site in mind. If you make the lockout rules too unforgiving, you run the risk of inadvertently locking out real users.
- You can use plugins like iThemes Security Pro, Defender or Wordfence to protect your site from brute force attacks.
Limit Outside Authentication Attempts Per Request
There are website admins who may not necessarily be aware that there are other ways to log into WordPress besides using a login form. One of the most common other methods of connecting with your website is using XML-RPC, which largely you allow to integrate third party APIs, social media platforms or other services. XML-RPC file however can open a gate for hackers to make hundreds of usernames and password attempts in a single HTTP request.
The brute force amplification method allows attackers to make thousands of username and password attempts using XML-RPC in just a few HTTP requests. So, it makes more sense to equip your website login with more advanced security configurations which includes limiting the access to your XML-RPC file as well. You should block multiple authentication attempts per XML-RPC request. Limiting the number of username and password attempts to one or minimum for every request is most recommended.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Finally, one of the most effective ways to increase WordPress login security is to two-factor authenticate your login. Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires an extra code along with your WordPress username and password to log in to your WordPress website. You can get these one-time codes on your email id or you can also use an authentication application like Google Authenticator or Authy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology no longer recommends using SMS to send and receive authentication codes. Read here
WordPress two-factor authentication (or WordPress 2-step verification) adds an important extra layer of protection to your WordPress site’s login and admin area.
As they say, if your house main gate is secure, your house a secure. Same way, a website’s main gate is its login. A proper WordPress login security should be a top priority on every site. With the best practices explained above, you can increase the login security on your site and embrace effective heck prevention strategy.
You can contact WordPromise to know more about your website login security.