Securing your WordPress site, Part 1

Blogs have been an increasingly popular way of distributing information since their inception in the 90’s. They provide many benefits for promoting information, updates, and multimedia sources. Naturally if you are looking to begin promoting your business, services, or your thoughts via a blog, you are going to want a secure, trusted method.

WordPress has been growing rampantly over the last couple years as a blogging platform. According to Google Trends, interest in WordPress from 2011 to present has been consistently twice that of other blogging sites. Its layout is understandable and has many options for customizing and personalizing. Clearly it is a trusted and effective platform to blog from.

While WordPress comes with security methods, there are steps you can take to improve the security of your blog and protect it from attacks. Most hackers are not willing to spend much time or effort in breaking into your site. They are looking to compromise your server and use it to email spam. An attack is most effectively deterred by making your site more than averagely inconvenient to the hacker.

wordpress-logo-simplified-rgbFor starters, avoid using “admin” as a username or part of your username. Most attacks target the username admin with a combination of passwords. Eliminate the first part and you will be protected from the majority of attacks. If you already have that username in use, changing this is fast and easy. Simply create a new user and give it administrator rights. Then delete the old “admin” user and assign past content to this new user so that nothing will be lost in the transition.

You have probably heard this hundreds of times, but it is worth hearing again: use a complex password. Consider this: the three most common passwords of 2015 are “123456,” “password,” and “12345.” Be ahead of the curve and pick a password that is not on SplashData’s annual list of stolen passwords!

Change the table prefix from wp_ to something obscure like nho509b_ to make it less accessible to hackers and harder to guess. This might sound complicated to the less tech-savvy, but it can be as easy as a five minute fix. If you are just now setting up your blog, the customization option will be available during the set-up for database details. Simply change the default setting.

Keep up with updates. WordPress is constantly striving to provide a better blogging platform for your needs. Each new version has updated security methods to address holes found in previous editions. Updated versions are released biannually, with more minor updates released following the two major versions.

These steps are a good place to begin, but for the best security, you will want a quality hosting company. Nearly half of hacking attempts are due to faulty hosting platforms. If you are using a shared hosting platform, make sure it offers account isolation. This extra layer of protection prevents one account from overloading the server and affecting your website.

We will soon be posting a more advanced article outlining addition steps you can take to secure your WordPress site, so stay tuned!


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From website hosting, email hosting, virtual server services, and much more, ASPnix is the premier provider of all things information technology. We offer a wide variety of services, and nothing is too small or too large for us to handle. We are sure you will be able to find what you need, even if it is just information from one of our community forums. The customer is our top priority here at ASPnix and we want to say thanks for visiting our website and welcome to the family!

Ever since we started, we have been dedicated to the customer. That means we lead the way in introducing new and innovative technologies, we have the largest product offering on the market, we stay affordable by providing top-tier service for a reasonable price, we have one of the highest uptime percentages in the industry, we are here for you with 24/7 support, we are reliable and certified by more than 10 accrediting bodies, and we are rated #1 by our customers in terms of the speed and quality of our network.

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ASPnix Monthly Newsletter — November 2009

This is the season to upgrade! Here at ASPnix we will be doing many upgrades to our systems; including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft WIndows Server 2003, and PHP.

Many of these upgrades will make our services perform better, standout and also comply with today’s newest programming standards!

PHP *Upgrade*

We will be removing PHP v4 from our lineup of available PHP parser versions. While still in use today by many scripts, and developers PHP 4 is no longer actively supported or developed on by the PHP Group and was deprecated in August of 2008. PHP 5 has been around for over 5 years and is a tried and true industry standard and scripts should be written to take advantage of its on going support, new technologies and features.

While this upgrade will not come over night as we understand that some clients and web sites are not able to comply with this upgrade immediately we are giving 60 days from today November 10th 2009 for all clients to prepare for this upgrade. On January 10th 2010 we will begin phasing out and removing PHP 4 from our servers and moving all PHP 4 enabled domains to PHP 5.

If you are using a script that requires PHP 4, we recommend contacting the developers of your web application and seeing if there is an upgrade to comply with PHP 5.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Upgrade

We are in the process of upgrading all Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (IIS6) web sites to the new and improved Microsoft WIndows Server 2008 operating system. This will not stop IIS6 support as we will run IIS7 in comparability mode which will still allow your IIS6 based sites to operate normally.

This upgrade is for many reasons, including

  • Speed. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is a very efficient and fast operating system.
  • Lifecycle. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is nearing 7 years old and is nearing its retired date / end of support cycle.
  • Security. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is a more secure operating system all around.
  • IIS7. Though running in comparability mode, IIS7 is a more robust and secure web server than IIS6.

MySQL Server Upgrades

Upgrades will begin the last 2 weekends of November on migrating both MySQL 4.1 and 5.0 to the latest version of MySQL v5.1. MySQL v4.1 is reaching its end of support from the manufacturer and is no longer being actively developed or supported, this includes upgrades and security fixes. MySQL v5.0 is still supported by the manufacturer, but we felt it would be best to go to current GA release of MySQL v5.1

We will alert clients of this migration by posting in our support system / announcement area of our community forums a week before we begin this upgrade to give everyone time to test and obtain current backups of their databases.

Part of this upgrade comes from the above PHP *upgrade* as the native database for PHP 4 was MySQL 4 and below, and since PHP 4 is no longer supported it only makes sense for us to move ahead with MySQL as well. This also brings new features to the table along with performance boosts as well with the new MySQL.

Microsoft SQL Server Upgrades

Upgrades will begin in the last 2 weekends of November on migration of all SQL Server 2005 services to the latest Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is backwards compatible with SQL 2005 databases and there should be no upgrade issues. If you questions please contact our support department.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 just like any other upgrade brings new features, faster performance and more!

Microsoft .NET Framework Proposed Upgrades

While this is not an iron clad upgrade yet, we are evaluating the possibility of migrating all Microsoft .NET v1.1 web sites to the 2.0 framework. We are looking into because v1.1 of the .NET framework is very out-dated, not widely supported, and since we are performing the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 to Microsoft Windows Server 2008 migration it only makes sense to move away from the Microsoft Windows Server Server 2003 base technologies and move forward with the new standards.

With Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET v4.0 framework not far away we are seeing less and less demand for the out-dated 1.1 framework. Also with upgrades to Microsoft SQL server, it just tacks on another reason to move away from the old technologies.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to contact our support department.