The online world is forgiving when it comes to security. Any website can get hacked if they don’t take proper precautions. And, even when they take proper precautions and follow guidelines, they still stay at the risk of being hacked or getting infected as in the world of computing there is nothing 100% secure.
In today’s article, we will be going through a guide on how to run a security scan on WordPress for performance improvement. We choose WordPress because it continues to be the dominant force in the market. With a 31% market share, it has also been a prime target for hackers.
Before, we start with the guide, let’s try to answer some of the fundamental questions regarding WordPress and security.
What’s the need for scanning WordPress website?
Even though it is obvious that we should scan our WordPress website, we still need to rationalize the need for it. The first reason is finding out if your site is free from any infection. It can be malware, infected file or a script running on your site. By running your security scanner, you will be sure that your website is clean and is running optimally.
As a webmaster, you should always install security plugins when setting up a blog. Another reason to run a security check is to improve your website’s performance. By removing unwanted files or infection, you will make your site perform better than before. The current generation of security plugins also offers more features than just finding malware or infected files. They also scan your website performance and measure the performance which in turn lets you optimize your website performance. So, which security plugin to use? Use any you want, but make sure you pick the one that the hosting recommends. We recommend reading web hosting reviews for the said hosting to know more about it.
How can you tell your WordPress website is vulnerable in the first place?
Before you start scanning your website, you should know the symptoms of when you need a scan. These symptoms will help you understand if your website requires scanning or not. Let’s list them below.
- Non-updated themes and plugins
- Weak usernames such as administrator or admin.
- Not using a strong password to protect your website.
- Theme and plugin editor is enabled.
- There is no encryption done on important files.
- Your web hosting server recently got attacked by hackers.
- Your website is slowing down considerably without any specific reasons.
- Database or website got corrupted/
How to run Security Scan on WordPress for Improving performance
There are many ways you can run a security scan on your WordPress website. The easiest way is to use the online scanning tools that can be used for free. To make it easy for you, we will list them below.
Free Online Tools To Scan Your Website
1. Sucuri SiteCheck - Sucuri SiteCheck is a decent online scanning tool which scans your website and finds out issues such as blacklisting status, malware, outdated software, website errors, and so on.
2. WordPress Security Scan by Hacker Target - You can also perform a free scan from the tool by Hacker Target. It is a low impact test which means that it offers a non-comprehensive test. It can be used to find vulnerabilities on your website. There are four emulation types that you can choose from.
3. Norton Safe Web: If you suspect that your WordPress website is infected with malware or third party actor, you can check your website here. The tool will instantly give your rating, and you will at least get a starting point for proper website scanning.
4. WPScan: WPScan is a free tool that does black-box vulnerability scanning on your website. However, to use the tool, you need to install it on your machine. There is also a paid version for business-related use.
Full-fledged WordPress Security Scan
Now that you have done the initial scan using free tools, it is now time to use plugins to get a better understanding. The plugins are integrated within the website and hence provide better results when it comes to running a security scan and improving website performance.
1. Wordfence: Wordfence is one of the most popular security plugins on WordPress. It scans your whole WordPress installation including the core, theme files, and the plugin files. It can scan for malware, trojans, phishing URLs and even backdoors. The paid service is optional.
2. Theme Check: We recommend using theme check for checking your theme’s integrity. It simply syncs up with the latest theme review standards and runs an automated test. Once the test is completed, you will get all the results displayed at once.
3. Vulnerability alerts: Vulnerability alerts is another handy plugin that lets you scan your WordPress system for different kinds of vulnerability. The vulnerability list can be found at the WPScan vulnerability database. It scans all the files in your WordPress installation including themes, plugins and the core itself. Lastly, it notifies you if there is a vulnerability of any sort.
4. Sucuri Security: Sucuri also offers their dedicated plugin in addition to their online WordPress vulnerability checker. It is extremely popular with an active installation of 400,000+. With it, you can do a proper security audit, check file integrity and do remote malware scanning. Overall, a great plugin which also offers post-hack security actions. The plugin is free to use, but you can also get a premium version which offers additional features such as website firewall.
Using the online tools and these plugins are just one step towards better WordPress website with improved performance. To get the best result, we recommend following the following checklist.
- Update WordPress core, themes, and plugins regularly.
- Ensure that your website uses an SSL certificate.
- Only use the plugins that you use. Uninstall the ones that are not needed.
- Use a security plugin.
- Change the default username and use a strong password.
- Security keys change.
- Disable file audit.
- Always have a website backup.
By following the above checklist, you will enable your website to perform optimally and perform better in the long run. So, what do you think about the guide? Comment below and let us know. We are listening.