Security Audits for Your Website: Know Your Plugins and Keep Them Updated

For years now, people have praised the ease of using WordPress to create new websites, especially amateur web designers. What makes WordPress so easy to use is the abundance of plugins available; if you can imagine your website doing something, then chances are there is a plugin that can make it happen.

But how do you know that these plugins are safe and secure to use? One recent survey of sites shows that over half of them are vulnerable to hacks because of plugins.

One of the first ways to determine if your WordPress plugin is safe is to check for it on the WPScan Vulnerability Database. This website keeps an up-to-date list of plugin vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered. If your plugin is on the list, then visit the plugin’s website and see if there is an update that patches that vulnerability. If it has not, then turn the plugin off and delete it as soon as possible to prevent a hacker from using this flaw to take advantage of your website.

Another thing to do is to always use a trustworthy website to download your plugins. If the site offers a “free” version of a premium plugin, chances are it is adding a virus or something similar to your site. If you aren’t sure if the plugin is reputable, check out its reviews. You should also note the number of installations the plugin has had.

Check to see if the company that created the plugin offers support – a disreputable company will not offer support.

The key to keeping your website safe is to run regular updates. You can actually do this by choosing automatic updates from the WordPress dashboard. As it stands, you will usually receive a notification when you log in if there is an update available. By entering some simple code (add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_true' ), you can ensure that these updates are done without having to manually approve them.

It is imperative to keep your website and its plugins updated regularly. If you fail to do so, you leave yourself open to hackers who can hijack your site or even steal your site's data. Either one of these can be catastrophic for your business but is easily avoidable if you take precautions..

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