It is easy to see why WooCommerce is such a popular eCommerce platform. It is easy to use and has a wide range of features, allowing users to create and manage their own online stores. However, like everything else that operates online, your WooCommerce store needs to be kept safe. Here we will outline how to implement the best security practices for WooCommerce.
Why WooCommerce stores require greater security
WooCommerce is a great tool to start your webshop in WordPress and sell products online, but it comes with security concerns. One of the most significant security risks for your WooCommerce store is that it is open to attacks from hackers. This is mainly because WooCommerce stores use third-party plugins and scripts, potentially leaving you open to attack.
To combat these security concerns, online stores must take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Keep reading for our checklist on how to secure your eCommerce store.
WooCommerce Security: Checklist to secure your store
1. Secure and reputable hosting provider?
The first step to protecting your WooCommerce store is always using a reputable hosting provider with the security and infrastructure you need. Don’t choose the cheapest providers. Instead, consider your store processes carefully, how many GB of data, and how many visitors you have.
Read our comprehensive blog for more information on the 5 best hosting providers in 2023.
Once you have found a reputable hosting provider, you should contact them to discuss your store security needs. Ask them to provide you with a tailored security plan to protect your WooCommerce store.
2. Install SSL certificate
SSL certificates are a security measure that protects your WooCommerce store from unauthorized access. By installing a SSL certificate, you ensure that all traffic between your WooCommerce store and the internet is encrypted, which makes it more difficult for hackers to steal your data or attack your site. Installing your SSL is pretty straightforward:
- log into your store
- go to the settings
- click on the SLL certificate button
- click on the add certificate
- select the certificate you want to install
- click on the install
- click on the close
- click on the save changes
3. Use secure, safe versions of themes and plugins for better WooCommerce security
You should use a secure or safe version of a theme or plugin. Of course, if you use a theme or plugin that is known to be insecure, your site could be vulnerable to attack.
This is extra important in processes where you take your customers’ personal data: you want to keep personal data and payment information safe and secure at all times. Updating a theme or plugin as soon as a new update is available can fix security issues and make it more safe.
For the safest and most solid payment plugin, check out our Adyen WooCommerce plugin.
4. Update your WordPress site
One of the most common attacks against WordPress sites is using malware to steal user data or inject malicious code.
To improve your WordPress site’s security, you should update your software to the latest version. WordPress updates are free of charge and are usually released every month. You will also get security updates and new features when you update your WordPress site.
5. Use the latest version of PHP
The latest version of PHP will be more secure, faster, support more features, be reliable, etc. One way is to use the latest version of the WooCommerce plugin. This plugin is available from WordPress and will automatically update when the newest version of PHP is released.
6. Review your user permissions
When reviewing your WooCommerce store user permissions for security, it is important to consider the following:
- Who has access to your store?
- What are the user permissions?
- What are the user permissions for the checkout process?
- Who can edit and update products?
To view and update the user permission of your online store:
- log into your WooCommerce store, go to settings
- under “users & permissions,” click “manage users.”
- go to “permissions”
- click on the “add new” button
- enter the user’s name and email address
- click on the “save”
7. Use a secure username and password
A username and password are the most fundamental security measures you can take for better WooCommerce security. To protect your store, use a strong username and password. Ensure your username and password are unique, difficult to guess, and complex.
You can use two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your store further, and you can use a security plugin for your online store. These plugins encrypt your store data and help protect it from attack.
8. Change Your WordPress Login URL
Do you want to use a different domain name or host for your WordPress site, or do you want to use a different login system altogether?
First, you’ll need to check your current login URL. This information is in your WordPress admin area under the “Settings” menu. Under “Site Settings,” click on “General,” and then under “Login URL,” you’ll see the current login URL; next, enter the new login URL.
9. Enable two-factor authentication for administrators
Two-factor authentication is a security component that requires users to provide two pieces of information to access an account. Usually, this can be a code sent to their phone or a one-time password generated by the store.
To enable two-factor authentication for administrators in your WooCommerce store, update this information in the setting tab under security and privacy by adding factor authentication for administrators.
10. Block brute force attacks
You can use a password manager or a security plugin to protect your WooCommerce store from brute-force attacks. Brute force attacks are attacks where a hacker tries to guess your password repeatedly in an attempt to gain access to your WooCommerce store. A security plugin will help you monitor and protect your WooCommerce store from brute force attacks.
11. Scan your site for malware
The easiest way to scan for malware is to use a web security tool to search for any vulnerabilities on your site. A malware scanner checks for any malicious files or scripts on your site. Alternatively, you can use a search engine to look for malicious or suspicious websites linking to your site.
12. Set up a spam filter
Spamming can lead to decreased site performance as spam messages slow down your site. To set up a spam filter for your WooCommerce store, you’ll first need to create a filter rule. Go to the WooCommerce settings page and provide the details for the message you want to filter, for example, “this is a spam email.”
13. Check your site for downtime
It is essential to ensure your WooCommerce site is running smoothly; part of this is checking downtime regularly. By monitoring your site for downtime, you can quickly identify and address any issues causing your site to slow down or stop working, including security breaches. To check your online store for downtime, you must check your Performance, particularly your page status. Under “Response Status,” check the status of a specific byte.
How to identify a hack
Securing your website is critical to safeguard it against potential hacks. Spotting a hack early on is crucial to prevent further damage and ensure your website’s and its visitors’ safety. Here are some practical ways to determine if your WordPress website has been hacked:
Keep an eye out for unusual activity
Check for any suspicious activity on your website, like unauthorised access to user accounts or data, unusual traffic patterns, or changes in website behaviour. If you notice anything unusual, your website will likely be compromised.
Regularly monitor your website
Keep track of your website’s activity and periodically check your server logs to identify any strange requests or unauthorised access attempts. You can also use a security plugin that will alert you of any suspicious activity on your website.
Look for changes in code or content
Keep a watchful eye on your website’s code, content, and files for any changes. Hackers may add malicious code to WordPress core files or plugins, leading to website hacks. If you spot any suspicious changes, take immediate action to remove them.
Be aware of website errors
A hacked website may show errors not previously present, such as 404 errors, redirect errors, or error messages when trying to access your website. These errors may indicate a compromise, and you should investigate them further.
By regularly monitoring your website for any unusual activity or changes, you can detect a hack early and take action to secure your website and its data. It’s crucial to prioritise security and implement measures such as using strong passwords, keeping your WordPress core and plugins updated, and using security plugins to protect your website from potential hacks.
How to recover in a worst‑case scenario
If your online store has been hacked, first, you should inform your hosting provider of the breach. This will help them to investigate and fix the issue. Changing your passwords for all your accounts, especially your online store account, is also essential. Finally, you should make sure that your online store is secure by using a secure server and encrypting your data.
Keep your WooCommerce store secure
One paramount reason to keep your WooCommerce store secure is that if your store is hacked, your customers’ data could be stolen, including credit card information and personal data.
To keep your WooCommerce store secure, you should use a secure server and secure passwords. You should always use the best security practices for WooCommerce for a secure payment and checkout process. Finally, keep your WooCommerce store updated with the latest security methods.
Frequently asked questions
Can a WooCommerce website be hacked?
Yes, a WooCommerce website can be hacked. Hackers can gain access to your website’s files, steal your customers’ information, and even hijack your website’s traffic. If a firewall does not protect your WooCommerce website and you do not have proper security measures, hackers could easily exploit your website and damage your business.
Do you need SSL for a WooCommerce website?
SSL is a security protocol that helps protect your website from unauthorized access. SSL is essential when using a WooCommerce website because it is an eCommerce platform allowing customers to purchase items online. If your webstore is not protected with SSL, your customers could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Which SSL certificate is best for WooCommerce websites?
Which SSL certificate is best depends on various factors, like the size and complexity of the WooCommerce website, the type of traffic it receives, and the security requirements of the individual site.
How to force HTTPS on a WooCommerce website?
There are a few ways to force HTTPS on a WooCommerce website. One way is to use an SSL certificate. WooCommerce supports SSL certificates, so you can install and use an SSL certificate to encrypt all your traffic. You can also use a proxy server to encrypt all your traffic.
Is WooCommerce safer than Shopify?
WooCommerce is often considered safer than Shopify. WooCommerce has a more extensive user base, making it more likely that you will find an existing plugin or extension that works with it.
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