The top priority of any e-commerce business is security when building trust with its customers. The high customization options in WooCommerce are what makes it popular. WooCommerce gives users a flexible environment and features among thousands of new online retailers. If you are looking for an e-commerce platform with vital features like inventory, tax management, shipping integration, and other dynamic options, then WooCommerce is the right choice.
Is WooCommerce Secure?
For any eCommerce store, investing in the security of data and website is a must. All the essential customer information and data require extra safety measures. The primary purpose of WooCommerce is to build a convenient and secure platform for potential and existing e-commerce websites. Therefore, WooCommerce is secure but does not guarantee safety against external threats like hacks. You can make your WooCommerce site secure by taking a few additional measures. For WooCommerce security, you must take a few steps to make sites foolproof.
Common WooCommerce Security Issues
According to a report, over 5 million websites have WooCommerce installed. Being one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, WooCommerce saw increased threats during the pandemic. During the lockdowns, online shopping became a convenient way to get what you wanted at your doorstep.
Some common security issues that WooCommerce store owners face are
- Brute Force Attacks
- DDoS Attacks
- Spam Comments and Orders
- Compromised plugins
Basic WooCommerce Security Tips.
1. Keep Everything Updated.
You must monitor regular fixes to secure your WordPress and WooCommerce site. WordPress gets a new version release after every four months. Updating WP Core to the latest version is mandatory; this is like the base of everything; if there is a security bug in the core, everything else is vulnerable. For every minor release, at least 3 security patches are released., but if the version has a recent security change, you must install the newest version to fight significant security patches. By default, minor patches and security updates are applied automatically. For new version releases, however, you should do it manually.
On the other hand, you must also keep your themes and plugins updated to fight any vulnerabilities. Apart from your website, you should also check in with your web hosting provider and ask them if all the software they are using is up to date.
2. Don’t Use Nulled Plugins and Themes.
Getting a good offer on premium themes and plugins from third-party vendors may be tempting. And some sites even list the paid themes and plugins for free that you can download and use.
On the surface, these themes and plugins may look the same as their original counterparts, but they are most likely injected with malicious code that gives backdoors to hackers and gets into your store.
3. Limit Login Attempts and Block IP Addresses
Multiple login attempts give hackers a chance to access your online store easily. Many security plugins include the feature of limiting login attempts. Restricting the number of login attempts to your admin panel will protect your site and block outside threats.
Restricting login attempts act as the first line of defense against any possible Brute Force Attacks. You can also add a limit on particular IP addresses for added security.
4. Use SSL Certificates
While choosing a reputable host, ensure it has features like SSL certificates. It is pivotal for protecting customer data such as names, addresses, and phone numbers. When customers submit information on your site, the SSL certificate encrypts the information to keep it safe from hackers. Any violation of such information can put your business’s reputation at risk. Another advantage of using a WooCommerce SSL certificate is that it supports your search engine rankings, as Google only ranks websites with valid SSL certificates. For WooCommerce encryption, SSL certificates play a major role.
5. Install a Security plugin
A security plugin is crucial for your WooCommerce store as it alerts you instantly in case of any security issue. Many security plugins are compatible with the WooCommerce store; they clean your store within a few minutes to proactively meet security threats.
Top 3 WordPress Security Plugins
Many WordPress security plugins can help you improve your website’s security and make the best security for woocommerce.
If you want a complete security plugin for your WooCommerce site, then Wordfence is the right pick. It thoroughly analyzes websites and removes malware. This plugin also notifies the user immediately in case of any hack or malware threat. It has a built-in firewall and lives traffic monitoring which also analyses your core files and themes. Wordfence is one of the best woocommerce security plugins with a free version.
Sucuri is a cloud-based security solution for WooCommerce Security that ensures the security of your WordPress site. It provides users with a Web Application Firewall to protect their site from all hacking and DDoS attacks. It also allows you to block and remove certain malware from your website with the benefit of modifying and adding files. You can use the free version to monitor the blocklist, remote malware scan, and security notifications. It also removes hidden backdoors and has post-hack security actions.
This plugin protects your site against automated attacks and monitors all suspicious activities. iThemes secures the login information and database on your sites; this plugin is designed to detect malicious activity and gives you time to take action. It has several layers of user security improvements; strong passwords and two-factor authentication are used to strengthen user credentials. The regular scans also look for vulnerable plugins and automatically apply for updates.
6. Enable Two -Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a great way to safeguard your online accounts and sites against hackers. It gives you a second layer to validate your login, typically by using your phone number or email address. As a WooCommerce user, you can enable the 2FA for your site. Anyone with access to your email account can log in to your store, but when you use your phone number as a 2FA, it becomes difficult for hackers to validate the logins.
7. Use a Complex Username and Password to Login
Using a secure and complex username and password is the easiest way to keep your eCommerce store and other online sites safe. Using a brute force attack, hackers use bots to generate thousands of different username and password combinations. An easy password combination and username can give any hacker easy access to your store. Using a complex username and password also ensures that bots won’t easily crack the login credentials to your woocommerce store.
8. Require Strong Passwords for Customer Accounts
The login section of customer accounts makes it necessary to set a minimum length password. Include multiple character types and number options in it to strengthen the password. Disallow password reuse to make your site and account secure. Another way to secure customer accounts is to apply an expiration policy on passwords.
9. Use an Uptime Monitor
A secure and running site gives the owner ultimate peace of mind. Monitoring the uptime gives a user an instant alert when the site goes down. There is no need to check the site manually if you are using an uptime monitor. You can integrate uptime monitors with Slack and email accounts; whenever the site goes down, all the concerned people in the team will be alerted, and fixes can be applied.
Advance WooCommerce Security Steps
10. Use a Secure Hosting
Using a secure and reputable host gives you an additional guarantee for safeguarding your data. A hosting provider stores your website files and database, allowing others worldwide to view the information. A secure host will protect those files and databases from hackers and malware. The wrong choice of a host can automatically put you and your valuable customers at risk.
Top 4 Managed WooCommerce Hosts
Users always look to make their WordPress application secure, but they miss protecting their hosting server; we recommend a Managed WordPress hosting provider specializing in WooCommerce.
Kinsta is one of the most reputable Managed WordPress hosting services that offers 34 data centers around the world. The user experience of KInsta is quite impressive if you are looking for user-friendly hosts. It also boots your site’s SEO, as its hosting service ensures optimal speeds. Along with a robust CDN, it offers free SSL and the latest generation of PHP.
WP Engine is the pioneer of Managed WordPress Hosting, and its platform is among the best for managing WooCommerce sites. The websites linked to this host receive automated updates, daily backups, and premium themes. The support team of WP Engine is exceptional, with good response rates and the ability to fix issues as they happen.
The unique feature of Convesio makes your site crash-proof; the docker technology this host uses allows your site to load quickly; even in high-traffic cycles, it keeps your site moving. It automatically updates your plugins and keeps you worry-free. Convesio is best for high-traffic and complex WooCommerce stores that need a distributed load-balanced hosting environment.
Siteground provides exceptional security and support to its users. Their pricing model starts low as they give both shared and dedicated hosting for WordPress websites. This hosting company is famous for providing top-notch customer support to its users. It is reliable and includes automatic upgrades and daily backup services like free SSL. The WooCommerce force SSL setting on this platform is also a plus point.
11. Use Clean Custom Code
While adding more features to your WooCommerce store, you may need to add custom code to your theme or create custom plugins. While doing that, ensure you follow best security practices and don’t leave any open vulnerabilities to make your store accessible to the outside world. Make sure to have your WordPress developers do a security audit covering web files, databases, and the hosting server.
12. Keep Multiple Backups
Your database and web files are the most important thing; it is the asset that you need to keep safe. Keeping multiple backups must be your top priority when it comes to keeping your WooCommerce site secure.
It gives the website owner peace of mind, and you can quickly restore your site or make it bug-free in case of an attack. You can use a backup plugin or a backup policy that your hosting provider has. Some plugins, by default, back up your website’s data, but if it exceeds a specific limit, you have to pay for it. You can keep a daily backup by saving a copy of your site once a day or a real-time backup that holds a copy of your site after you update your page.
It is good to have multiple copies of your backups on the hosting server and third-party storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, pCloud, or Amazon S3. Our friends at Convesio have a good guide on having a multi-tier backup policy for your WordPress and WooCommerce sites.
13. Disable Edit Files in WP Backend
You should also disable the ability to edit files from the WordPress admin area. You don’t want a hacker who gains access to your WordPress admin to be able to change the files from the admin panel freely. Just add the following code in your wp-config.php file to disable this feature.
14. Use Cloudflare to block bots
Cloudflare is a global cloud platform; if you want to secure your WooCommerce site, this service can protect your web properties. It is automated and accelerates your websites instantly by pointing your DNS to Cloudflare.
15. Use Activity Log
Using an activity log for your WooCommerce site lets you track any settings changes with time stamps and which user did it. If you change your WooCommerce site, the activity log can follow updates on all orders, including orders, prices, coupon codes, and store settings. WP Activity Log is a recommended plugin to track activities.
16. Use the Latest Version of PHP
PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that web developers use. Using old, outdated, or unsupported versions of PHP can expose your site to hackers and create security vulnerabilities. It provides better and improved security for your site. The upgraded PHP also has the potential to improve load times through internal code improvements and reduce memory usage. The PHP version also boosts your site’s speed and performance. You can update your version of PHP in your host settings. Your hosting providers can also do it for you. The recommended PHP version is PHP 7.4; however, some hosts provide PHP 8.x.
17. Block Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks risk your customer data and slow your site’s speed. A common and easy way to fight against brute force is to lock out of WordPress account after a limited number of failed authorization attempts. The best security for WooCommerce users’ data is blocking unforeseen brute force attacks. The good thing is that you can also set the lockout time for your WordPress account; it can be an hour, or you can select to manual unlocking option by the administrator.
18. Change URL of Admin Log-in Page
The default WordPress Login page is easy to access with the help of your URL/wp-admin. Changing the URL can add an extra security layer to your site. Changing the URL makes it challenging for attackers to access your site. You can use the change wp-admin login plugin to change the login page URL safely.
19. Use Anti-Spam Plugin
Spam comments and spam pop-ups are annoying for you and your customers. Clicking on these can lead them to malware-filled sites. But it looks physically impossible to sort and block such comments as it is time-consuming at the same time. There are software and plugins that automatically remove spam comments and keep your site secure. Spam comments also add bloat to your database.
20. Scan your website for malware
Malware is one of the worst ways hackers use to make your store malfunction. Once your website malfunctions, it allows them to steal your store’s data. Cleaning up malware is complex; you might need a premium security plugin or an expert.
Final Thoughts On WooCommerce Security
So is WooCommerce safe? WooCommerce is a secure e-commerce platform because it was created for convenience. For e-commerce stores, it is one of the safest and most secure platforms. The dedicated team of WooCommerce and the experts who monitor the platform ensure that the stores are secure. Millions of online stores use the WooCommerce platform, some of which are the largest brands.
We highlighted some tips in this article to help you safeguard your WooCommerce store; it requires time, effort, and budget.