Security is a top concern when you are setting up a WooCommerce store. When you’re selling online, you deal with a lot of sensitive information: personal details, credit card numbers, addresses, customer lists, and more. An active shop keeps collecting information, so you have a growing responsibility for keeping the dataset safe from hackers and malicious attacks.
Most businesses are too engrossed in inventory, marketing, and order fulfillment to be constantly monitoring for hacks. 30,000 to 50,000 websites get hacked every day, and the owners might not even be aware that their store’s security has been compromised!
New store owners may be overwhelmed with the task of securely managing and maintaining their WooCommerce stores. Fortunately, there are several tips to help keep your online store data safe from hackers, malware, and other malicious threats.
Implementing the top WordPress security features should be a priority for any new store owner. And here are the 10 effective strategies to keep your WooCommerce store secure. Remember, these strategies should be implemented at any cost.
1. Choose a secure hosting provider
You have hosting platforms available by the thousands. But don’t go by mere costs. An inexpensive hosting platform may offer you non-secure hosting services, putting your site and customer data at risk. Trust is crucial if you want customers to buy from your store. Other than the rate, check out the speed, security, support, and scalability features of the hosting service provider. WordPress recommends using its managed hosting services for an efficient online store. Of course, managed WordPress hosting has a lot of benefits.
Support from WordPress experts.
Best security practices.
Faster loading times and better performance.
One-click staging sites, local environments, and team collaboration before making it live.
Easy to add SSL certificates.
Easy site management.
Quick access to development tools.
No need to install third-party backup, caching, security, or performance plugins.
There are many benefits to this. But shared hosting is recommended for your first website. Unmanaged hosting works well if you know the technicalities of setup and optimization. It is finally up to you to decide based on your security requirements.
2. Use optimized plugins
When you build your WooCommerce store on WordPress, you’ll need extra features to make your store advanced. This is possible through plugins. It is an add-on to the web browser. But too many plugins will increase the HTTP requests and make your WooCommerce security vulnerable. That doesn’t mean you don’t install the plugins. There are solutions.
Use plugins from authorized sources.
Use optimized plugins.
Download plugins from the official WordPress plugin store.
Plugins such as the no-code app builder Swipecart are available for download on the WordPress plugin store. It gets activated only for HTTPS websites. This way, it ensures that your store’s security is not compromised. Similarly, there are other plugins that are trustworthy and reliable for use.
3. Use strong passwords
You’ll be surprised to know that 24% of Americans still use common passwords like 123456, 111111, Password, or admin to secure their site. 80% of hacking breaches are possible because someone has used or reused a weak password that can be easily guessed. In fact, there is an attack every 39 seconds on average because of non-secure usernames and passwords.
It’s easy to generate strong passwords and doesn’t take more than a minute. Use strong passwords for all store login credentials, including the admin password and database passwords. Create a complex username that is difficult to guess and use different passwords for each site.
Install a web application firewall to protect your online stores from malicious traffic and malware attacks. Keep WordPress, MySQL, plugins, themes, and extensions up-to-date with the latest security updates. Back up your e-commerce store regularly to create an additional layer of security in case of any unexpected events.
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4. Get a valid SSL certificate
Consider getting an SSL certificate for your site and changing passwords regularly for the best possible security. An SSL certificate is a must-have for any e-commerce site because it encrypts all personal data, including payment information and identity data. This ensures that shoppers’ data is kept safe and secure when they are using your store.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates also protect customers’ personal information by creating an encrypted connection between their web browser and the server. This helps prevent anyone from stealing the private information of customers who visit your store.
Other than data encryption, SSL has other benefits, like:
It boosts your rank on the search engine. Yes, the Google search algorithm gives importance to websites that are secure and have SSL encryption in place.
SSL certification satisfies PCI-DSS requirements.
It improves website visitors’ trust.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to browse a site that is not secure. The lock symbol before your site's URL indicates SSL certification.
5. Perform data backups regularly
Ensure you have the best security precautions in place to keep your site secure. Always keep WordPress core and all other core software up-to-date with the latest security updates. Prepare multiple backups on multiple servers. There are plugins available on WordPress for backup services. But you can use standalone services to ensure the double safety of your data.
6. Turn on automatic updates
It is important to ensure that your WooCommerce site is secure with the latest security updates. Around 92% of the websites have the highest risk of cross-site scripting attacks as they use outdated software. Update your core WordPress files, WordPress plugins, active themes, and other website-related information.
By regularly updating the information, you fix website security issues and get additional benefits like:
Fixing the bugs in your software.
Adding new features.
Increasing your site’s performance.
Fixing loading speed issues.
We recommend automating the update process by enabling the auto-update feature for the theme and plugins.
7. Access permissions
If you are running a WooCommerce website, make sure your developers have set up the right permissions so that only those who need access can get access to your store. WooCommerce offers different user roles so that you can decide which role is best suited to give access to others.
Do not give an extra or unnecessary user role to any individual. There are chances that it hampers your site’s protection and makes customer information vulnerable.
8. Two-factor authentication
Utilizing two-factor authentication is essential to keeping customers' information secure. It is an additional security layer to keep your site secure.
Generally, it involves a two-step process in which you need a password and another method to log in. The second method is usually an OTP sent through email, SMS, or phone call. Use a time-based, one-time password to make the authentication more effective.
9. Limiting login attempts
You might have seen this technique in many financial applications or websites. You are allowed a limited number of login attempts. If you fail to do so, you have to either wait for a period before you can reattempt or an activation link is sent to your registered email id to reset the password. You can employ a similar process for your customers logging in to the WooCommerce site. There are many plugins available for this, and the admin will be notified after a set number of failed login attempts.
10. Setting up a firewall
Finally, setting up a firewall for your online store is one of the most effective ways to prevent malicious attacks on your site. It monitors and filters traffic. A web application firewall prevents hackers and cybercriminals from accessing your store. It checks all incoming and outgoing traffic according to a set of predefined rules. It keeps out all the unauthorized traffic to prevent any exploitation and lets only safe communication inside, keeping your website safe and secure.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your site is secured and that your customers’ data remains safe while they shop in peace on your WooCommerce store.
Security for WooCommerce is not a full-time job; instead, it is a smart job. WooCommerce is secure by itself. But adding advanced security strategies ensures your website is safe in every aspect. Any security issues like data theft and hacks will severely hamper your business and reputation. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. There’s no way you can gain back the trust of customers once your website’s security has been compromised. Follow the above 10 effective strategies to keep your WooCommerce store secure. These proactive and preventive measures will ensure that your WooCommerce security is well taken care of.