The popularity of WordPress is not a secret.
It is the most famous Content Management System that empowers more than 30% of the websites present on the internet.
The most essential building blocks of any WordPress website are plugins and themes.
However, these building blocks are also responsible for the occurrence of hacking attacks over the websites if not used cautiously.
Hence, as the number of hacking attacks is encountering a tremendous hike with each passing day, it becomes the primary duty of any WordPress developer to select the right theme for its websites.
Note: By the term ‘right theme’, I am not referring to a beautiful theme. My main intent is to put more focus on a secured theme instead.
This blog aims at introducing you to the most important points you should consider while choosing a WordPress theme. Before this, let us understand the importance of selecting a secure theme.
Importance of Selecting a Secure Theme
WordPress themes are nothing but the ready-made pieces of code you utilize to give a beautiful and appealing look to your websites.
Different themes are designed differently in terms of performance, layouts, SEO support, etc. and many of them are available on the internet for free.
This gives a chance to the hackers to review a theme’s code and find loopholes in it.
If they succeed in doing so, they can create tremendous harm to your website with the help of these themes. This may include stealing confidential data, modify or delete your website, and so on.
And by the time you will find the issues, your site will be lost and all your money and hard work will turn into a waste.
Hence, no matter which kind of theme you choose, checking the security aspect should be your ultimate priority.
Building Blocks of a Secure WordPress Theme
- The theme should comply with the latest coding standards.
- The theme should be updated regularly.
- The theme should be compatible with the WordPress version and the plugins you are using.
Key Tips to Consider While Selecting a Theme for Your WordPress Website
- Choose a Reliable Resource to Install the Theme
Installing the theme from a reputed resource is mandatory to stay away from security issues.
The official WordPress theme directory is a reliable theme repository where a bulk of free and engaging themes are available.
If you are seeking out a premium option, CodeCanyon, TemplateMonster, Elegant Themes, etc. are the most recommended options to go with.
- Have a Glance at Theme’s History and Customer Reviews
Checking the customer reviews of your selected theme is a good practice before going for implementation.
If the theme possesses a bunch of positive reviews, the possibilities of the theme not giving you security hassles are higher.
Also, as the themes are likely to encounter code changes with time and the issues may arise as a result, checking the most recent reviews is extremely crucial.
You can use any of the sources including Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite search engines the come across the reviews regarding the theme.
- Always Use Maintained and Up-To-Date Themes
One of the major issues that can lead to massive security issues is the employment of outdated and unmanaged themes.
The websites made up of outdated coding standards are the primary targets of the attackers.
Hence, the installation of the recent theme version with the incorporation of proper maintenance is a necessity.
- Ensure to Uninstall Unwanted Themes
The installation of WordPress themes is a common practice, however, people usually forget to uninstall them when they are no more required.
This allows hackers to exploit your site.
Hence, develop a practice of uninstalling the themes when their job is done.
The task can be easily accomplished with the help of the ManageWP dashboard.
- Disable the Theme Editor
Your WordPress dashboard contains a theme editor option by default. This option gives you the chance to easily modify your theme using the built-in code editor of WordPress.
Undoubtedly, it offers an excellent way to customize your website without trouble, however, it also opens the door for intruders to enter your site.
Hence, disabling the theme editor is highly recommended to protect the site from hacking attacks.
You can easily accomplish the task by navigating your wp-config.php file. Simply find out the root folder of your WordPress installation and incorporate the given lines into it.
// Disallow file edit
define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
- Deactivate PHP Error Reporting
The next important thing you are required to do to ensure better security of your WordPress theme is securing the PHP error.
The feature is responsible to convey the notifications as and when the problem arises with the platform.
If the feature is active, it provides an opportunity for hackers to know about the problems very easily and misuse them.
Hence, disabling the feature is a recommended thing to secure your WordPress theme.
The task can be accomplished very easily. Simply open the wp-config.php file and paste the following code into it.
- Use Tools to Verify Your Themes
Even if you have downloaded the theme from a reputed source and followed the reviews, it does not necessarily mean that the theme is a secure one.
So what you can do in the scenario?
You can utilize the tools like Theme Check, Exploit Scanner, etc. to better ensure the security of your selected themes.
Below is given a list of few important tools you can use to check the security of your WordPress themes
Important Tools to Check the Security of Your WordPress Themes
Geekflare is a powerful WordPress Security Scanner trusted by many WordPress developers throughout the world.
The tool enables you to perform many security checks easily and effectively including performing a check on
- WordPress core security
- WordPress theme security
- WordPress plugin security
- Theme Check
The theme check is a WordPress plugin that provides an easy way to test your WordPress theme.
The plugin executes all the tests using a simple admin menu and shows all the results at once.
The plugin has 50,000+ active installations so far and is compatible with WordPress version 3.7 and higher.
The plugin is available on WordPress.org for easy installation and download.
- Theme Authenticity Checker
The Theme Authenticity Checker is a WordPress plugin that performs a check on the source files pertaining to all the themes implemented on your WordPress website.
The plugin finds the malware (if any) and shows the line number as well as the section of corrupted code for better understanding and solutions.
The plugin has 40,000+ active installations and is compatible with WordPress version 3.0 or higher.
- WP Hacked Help
WP hacked help is a scanner tool used to find malware in your WordPress websites.
The tool provides many prominent services including WordPress malware removal, prevent future attacks, hacked WordPress cleanup, and so on to prevent your WordPress websites from getting lost in the hands of hackers.
The tool provides many different pricing plans from which you can choose as per your budget and convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress’ Security
- Does the presence of an SSL certificate is essential even if the site is not an eCommerce site?
Yes. having an SSL certificate is always a good security practice no matter your website is eCommerce or not.
In addition to ensuring a well-secured website, an SSL certificate is also a crucial factor comprising Google’s ranking signals. Hence, missing out to incorporate SSL certificates into your WordPress websites is a NO thing for all kinds of websites.
- Why the updations of WordPress’ themes and plugins are important?
The updations of WordPress themes and plugins are extremely important from a website’s security perspective.
In fact, a not updated theme or plugin is one of the primary causes behind all the hacking attacks occurring on WordPress websites.
- Is following all the security guidelines is mandatory for small businesses as well?
Yes of course. Hackers have nothing to do with the size of their business. They only want opportunities to fulfill their bad deeds including running phishing scams, malicious redirects, etc. no matter a business is a small or bigger one.
The availability of numerous themes is a big part contributing to the overall popularity and success of WordPress.
However, out of this bulky number of themes, not all themes are good and deserve to be a part of your intrinsic sites.
Rather than doing any good to your sites, they can cause more harm to it and destroy your site.
So, guys, beware of the bad themes and be smart while making selections. Don’t miss to follow the guidelines mentioned above for your website well-being.
Vaibhav Pandya is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Senior Contributing Editor at IndyLogix - Digital Marketing Agency, where he has spent 9+ years growing the organization and establishing it as a credible market leader. An operational executive by day and an avid writer by night, he loves to read, write, and speak about Digital Marketing, SEO, NFT, Blockchain, AI, Web 3.0, and more. Catch up with him at @pandyavaibh
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