This is a question that comes up a fair bit. Are all WordPress plugins safe? The short answer is absolutely not. The longer answer is that most WordPress plugins are safe but you will still need to know how to find out if a particular plugin is safe or not. Read on to learn how to do that!
How do I know if a WordPress Plugin is Safe?
Are you concerned about how safe your website is after installing a WordPress plugin? A survey found that 61 per cent of WordPress websites are compromised by plugin vulnerabilities.
While the core of WordPress might be secure, plugins add a wildcard that can’t always be accounted for by the WordPress core. The freedom it gives users to add any number of functions with the aid of plugins is one of the reasons WordPress is so popular. In the WordPress plugin repository, users can select from close to 40,000 plugins available for download. And that’s not even counting the many free and premium plugins from third-parties.
But too much variety leads to possible problems often. Rogue plugins, out-of-date plugins… can all provide hackers with a vector for gaining access to your web. You might be wondering now “how do I know if a WordPress Plugin is safe”? Here are some tips to check these vulnerabilities and keep your site secure by removing WordPress plugin bugs.
How to Scan For WordPress Plugin Vulnerabilities?
WordPress Vulnerability Databases
A good place to check whether any plugin is a security threat is the WordPress Vulnerability Database. Plugins and their known vulnerabilities are identified by the service. You may look up a plugin by name or alphabetically filter all plugin vulnerabilities. If you catch a given plugin in the list, the first search for an update on the plugin listing page. If there is no update to fix the vulnerability, you can, if possible, uninstall the plugin for the time being.
The subscription to paid services such as Plugin Vulnerabilities is another way to capture these threats in time. As these services constantly track security threats and hacking attempts, you can gain access to always-up-to-date data. And you’ll get an email warning about it if you’re using a plugin that is at danger. When you get this service’s warning, you are much more likely to be able to respond quickly. By running a search on your website from time to time, you can also identify these threats. Not only can a plugin like Plugin Vulnerabilities search all of your installed plugins, but it will also alert you of the more popular security problems.
As for the threats that eventually arise, you may choose to obtain warnings. As hackers try to target WordPress websites, new threats appear almost daily. It’s critical that you search for vulnerabilities frequently for that purpose.
Plugins That Check Your Plugins
This might sound a little odd – installing a plugin to check on your plugins, but there are a number of WordPress plugins that can help improve your security and the two that we’re going to look at here will do the scanning of the WordPress vulnerabilities databases for you and alert you if you have any dodgy plugins installed.
It’s worth pointing out that both these security solutions are more than just plugin checkers, they’re all round security systems for WordPress.
Sucuri Security Plugin
Sucuri Inc is a renowned company that provides websites with security tools and services. In order to secure your WordPress website from malware and hacks, Sucuri provides a powerful WordPress. To secure your WordPress website from security threats, it creates many layers of protection. Sucuri has a cloud proxy firewall which it uses to bypass all your website traffic before sending it to the hosting server. It blocks any malicious attack or attempt by a hacker to put your WordPress website at risk and you can only receive real visitors. It also enhances the performance of your website by increasing its speed. Sucuri is a perfect complement to your must-have list of WordPress plugins.
The Sucuri WordPress security plugin protects your website from being hacked. It tracks and checks the site on an ongoing basis and plugs any security leaks and loopholes. Some of its features include:
- Security Activity Auditing: Records all security-related activity, including logins, failed login attempts, etc., on your web.
- Monitoring File Integrity: Detects any modifications to your files automatically.
- Remote Malware Scanning: To search your site for malware, it uses Sucuri’s Site Check scanner for optimal results.
- Blacklist Monitoring: Checks with blacklist engines to ensure that security problems do not obstruct your website.
- Efficient Security Hardening: Security hardening prevents vulnerabilities such as eliminating the view of your WordPress version and securing your directory for uploads.
- Post-Hack Security Measures: In case your site is hacked, it provides you with a checklist of actions you can take.
- Security Notifications: You can configure how you are informed of all of the above events and how often you should be notified.
Wordfence Security Plugin
Be aware that you need to keep your site secure if you rely on WordPress for your business! As it is a famous platform, it is also popular for hackers because they will potentially access 1000 more if they can break into one WordPress website. Although there are several security plugins for WordPress, one of the most commonly used is WordFence. In order to secure WordPress websites, Wordfence provides an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that was designed from the ground up. To keep your website secure, Wordfence comes with the newest firewall guidelines and malware signatures. Wordfence is the most robust security option available, rounded out by a suite of extra features.
The Perks of Using Wordfence
The Wordfence security plugin is regularly updated, unlike a lot of the other WordPress plugins around. It guarantees that it protects your websites from the possible attacks. There are more features in the paid version of the plugin than, of course, the free one. The free version, however, still has a ton of amazing features and options. There’s tech support for both versions. Therefore, if you ever have questions or need assistance, just ask them. Wordfence’s free and paid options include a full firewall. This means that it prevents attacks on your WordPress website and any backdoor vulnerability you might face. A feature like this will usually only be open to paying users. But the developers of this plugin make sure everyone, not just those with the paid version, is safe.
Choose the Appropriate Plugin
No plugin is 100% secure. But by learning to evaluate and pick quality plugins before downloading them, you can dramatically reduce WordPress plugin vulnerabilities. Only from reputed markets such as CodeCanyon, the WordPress Plugin repository, or third-party stores that you trust, pick the appropriate plugins. Before being downloadable by the public, the WordPress repository vets each plugin and CodeCanyon also has its own review framework in place.
So, what do you check to find out if it’s good to install a plugin? Get started with:
- Average Scores from Users
- Reviews from Users
- Compatibility and Changes
- Installations Provided
- Supporting and Documenting
Before adding a plugin to your website, you should also keep these variables in mind:
- You can add as many plugins as you want if you have the server resources to support that. What’s significant is that the plugins are well coded. That being said, the website can be brought down by one poorly coded plugin.
- A portion of the active change log shows that the author supports the plugin and is attentive to users’ needs. On the other hand, only a few entries in this section can simply mean that no modifications or improvements are needed for the plugin.
- There are hundreds of outstanding free plugins for WordPress. But note that premium plugins also have more responsive support and are up-to-date with the most recent versions of WordPress.
- Installing plugins on a need-only basis is good to practice.
And ask yourself as a little reminder, “are all WordPress plugins safe” before thinking of installing another plugin. Then remember that the answer is no. Do you need that plugin? Do you need that extra security hole?
Keep Your WordPress Plugins Updated
An out of date WordPress plugin is one of the most common attack vectors for hackers. Three common out-of-date plugins were the source of 18 per cent of the hacked WordPress pages in 2016, a Sucuri study showed. It is important to remember that the creators of the plugin quickly fixed the vulnerabilities… but too many people did not update their plugins that the problem already led to a number of compromised websites.
Even if you choose the appropriate plugins to start with, you’re still at risk if you don’t keep those plugins updated. But how do you ensure you still update your plugins? One way is to search your WordPress dashboard for the update icon. Another way is to have automatic updates available.
Get Rid of Unwanted Plugins
Deleting inactive plugins that you no longer intend to use is another effective way to stay protected. Although inactive plugins do not consume RAM, bandwidth or PHP, server space is taken up by them. And they can slow down your site if they are present in large numbers. But the primary reason why you should not keep inactive plugins around is that they can be used on your website to run malicious code.
For the most part, though, we know that these WordPress plugins that are widely used and referenced are secure. They come with millions of downloads, high reviews, and plugin developers who have worked hard by developing error-free plugins and offering top-notch support to create a good reputation in the community.
Plugins are cool. They help you do awesome stuff with your WordPress. But plugins that are often poorly designed or out-of-date will open up to hackers on your WordPress site. You will go a long way towards reducing the risk of falling prey to WordPress plugin vulnerabilities by selecting your plugins with caution and updating them regularly.