Is WordPress a Secure Content Management System?

WordPress has an unfair reputation for having poor security. It has been around for a very long time and is extremely popular, powering almost 30% of the web. As a consequence, a vulnerability or successful attack on a prominent website becomes big news – and WordPress becomes the scapegoat.

There are two key reasons that news of successful attacks are not representative of WordPress as a secure CMS:

  1. WordPress has an open system for plugin and theme development, and the vast majority of vulnerabilities are actually to do with plugins and themes rather than the core system.
  2. A major cause of problems has been when a website has not been updated after a security patch is released. As you know this will be true of any piece of software – if a system isn’t kept up-to-date it will be vulnerable to attack. WordPress introduced auto updates a couple of years ago, so security patches are added to a WordPress installation automatically as soon as they are released.

Fundamentally, any large CMS (or piece of software) is going to occasionally contain bugs that lead to security vulnerabilities. The important thing is that there is an infrastructure for finding and dealing with these vulnerabilities in as short a time as possible. WordPress is actually in a fantastic position in that regard. Since it is so popular and well-used it is highly likely that vulnerabilities will be found by the community before a hacker, and when a vulnerability is found there is a community of hundreds of developers supporting WordPress, so it will be patched quickly via an update of the system.

How we secure our WordPress websites

There are a lot of steps that can be taken to ensure a secure WordPress setup, which can be fine tuned to suit your priorities. As standard we ensure the following:

  1. all user accounts have strong passwords, and only have access to what they need
  2. disable non-required functionality, such as WordPress comments
  3. install security auditing and logging software that tracks usage
  4. install an SSL certificate

It’s our sincere belief that with the right setup in terms of hardening the core system, the right hosting platform and proactive ongoing maintenance, WordPress can be made as secure as any CMS available today.

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