There are thousands of plugins that can enhance your WordPress installation with new features. Unfortunately, they can also expose your website to hackers. In fact, almost all WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plugins.
Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between building your website without the help of WordPress’ more than 50,000 plugins or keeping it safe. By taking some simple precautions, you can reap the benefits of these tools while preventing cyberattacks.
In this article, we’ll cover seven ways that you can use WordPress plugins safely. Let’s get started!
An introduction to WordPress plugin security
There’s a WordPress plugin to help you accomplish just about any task and solve any problem related to your website. They can help you add Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to your login page, build an e-commerce store, attract customer reviews, and so much more.
There are WordPress plugins to suit every need and budget, including:
However, even free plugins come at a cost. Extensions add more code to your website, which means more potential weak points for hackers to exploit. A study even found that 98 percent of WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plugins.
Going without plugins entirely is nearly impossible unless you’re running the simplest of blogs. Instead, the solution to this problem is to follow plugin security best practices to minimize the openings on your site that hackers might take advantage of.
7 ways to protect your website when using WordPress plugins
Thankfully, you don’t need to choose between WordPress’ huge collection of plugins and locking down your website. Here are seven tips that can help keep your content and your visitors safe.
1. Only install plugins from reputable sources
Some plugins may contain malware, viruses, and other digital threats. To help protect your website, you should only install products from reputable sources, such as the official WordPress Plugin Repository or well-known marketplaces such as CodeCanyon.
Whenever possible, we’d recommend using the official WordPress Plugin Repository. The platform has strict security guidelines for all the extensions featured on its website, so you can feel confident any tools available via this source have been thoroughly vetted.
If a security issue is discovered, then WordPress.org will work with the plugin’s developer to try and resolve this issue. If they can’t reach a resolution, the plugin may be removed from the directory, or other members of the community may take steps to patch the vulnerability themselves.
2. Research your plugins’ history and reviews
Even when you’re installing a plugin from a reputable source, you should still do your research. It’s recommended that you check the plugin’s reviews, particularly the most recent ones:
You should also check the date of the plugin’s most recent update. If the developer hasn’t released a new version in the past six months, then
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.