Guide to running a Wordpress security scan
Millions attacks on WordPress websites every hour, so Akismet says. Hence, your site is likely being attacked. Running a Wordpress security scan for vulnerabilities helps keeping hackers outside. Scanning your site will show you how your website is vulnerable to attack so you can then take certain actions to patch any holes in your security.
So how exactly do you run a security scan? Fortunately, there are some tools and plugins available, which we’ll discuss in this article.
Is Your Site Actually Vulnerable to Attack?
It’s all too easy to think it won’t happen to you, that your site is safe from hackers. After all, who would really care about your little corner of the web, especially when your site doesn’t have any identifiable or personal information?
The truth is, all WordPress sites could be vulnerable and you can’t assume you’re completely safe. If your site has personal information on it, a hacker could use it for identity theft and could hack into any other account you have on the internet, especially if you use the same passwords for everything. I’m talking social media accounts, bank accounts, you name it – your whole life could be compromised because of a single vulnerability in your site.
While WordPress itself is secure, it’s only secure if you have the latest version installed since it’s the only version that’s up-to-date with the most recent security fixes.
Beyond the WordPress core and keeping your site up-to-date, there are tons of ways your site could be left open to hackers:
- Weak passwords
- Using “admin” or “administrator” as your username
- Vulnerable plugins or themes
- Using defaults for naming your database prefixes
- Improper file permissions
- Enabled plugin and theme editor
- Insecure server or computer
- Important files are without password protection
When 73% of the most popular WordPress sites are vulnerable, there’s a good chance your site is as well. While these are great places to start to search for security holes, they’re just that – a start. So how can you be sure your site really isn’t vulnerable?
The only way you can truly know is to scan your site and check.
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Scanning Your Site and Server
There are many great tools out there that are not only free, but can scan your site online. With the sites listed below, all you need to do is enter your site’s URL and click a button to start scanning your site for vulnerabilities:
- WordPress Security Scan – Checks for basic vulnerabilities in your WordPress site. Advanced scans are available with a premium upgrade.
- Sucuri SiteCheck – Your WordPress site can be checked for known malware, blacklisting status, errors and if your site is out-of-date.
- Acunetix – Scans for network vulnerabilities, isn’t WordPress specific and requires a free registration for a 14-day trial.
- Scan My Server – You can get a detailed report of your site’s vulnerabilities once you sign up and provide a backlink on your site to verify ownership and that you’re not a hacker.
- WPScan – A self-hosted vulnerability scanner that is free for personal use. You can also get a paid licence for commercial use.
- Unmask Parasites – You can check to see if your site has already been hacked and injected with malware or spam.
- Norton Safe Web – Similar to the scanner above, you can check if your site has already been compromized.
With these sites, you can see exactly where your site could use some amping up in security.
These free scanners usually offer a fairly basic overview with the exception of a couple of them, but you would need to sign up for a premium account to really get a good look at where you need to make significant improvements.
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