In recent years, the waves of technical innovations have been enabled by rapid developments across industries, leading to a digitized era.
These developments have profound implications on business operations, thereby witnessing a shift of businesses to the online platform for reaching a more comprehensive section of the society. Such approaches have created the necessity of websites and applications for businesses.
Finding a simple way to maintain a website with a lack of technical experience is no easy task. While professionals can complete website development, maintaining the website and its security is a constant challenge.
The number of security hacks on multiple websites have been continuously increasing. Therefore the need for a content management service is of utmost importance.
Given the relative importance of such a service, WordPress has evolved to address several challenges with the website development and its management efficiently.
Today, every service provider has a website, and gaining a competitive advantage with analytical and optimization capabilities is a must. WordPress is the solution for several of these requirements.
According to the official WordPress reports, as of May 2019, more than 30 percent of the top 10 million websites are powered by WordPress. There is an estimated 60 percent market share of the built websites using a content management system.
Therefore, those looking to gain insight into WordPress to tackle the website development and management at ease must opt for a suitable course to build upon these skills. The Complete WordPress Security Course: Go from Zero to Hero on Udemy is worth mentioning as the course covers some of the core concepts of WordPress security to deal with your web management requirements like a professional.
What to Expect from the Course?
The course is a beginner-oriented course that covers the key components of WordPress security. The course’s takeaways will provide an in-depth understanding of secure admin, configuration, database security, network security, control, and filter WordPress comments and user role management.
The course offers a wide variety of WordPress security topics and has a practical approach for covering all the concepts in the course. The following sections will highlight the course curriculum.
About the Instructor
The course is designed by Astra security. Astra’s vision is to make cybersecurity easy to tackle and understand for businesses. The company has achieved good recognition in cyber security, and with a large student following for the course, it is ensured that they are providing a quality curriculum.
Section 1: End to End Website Security
The first section of the course is the introductory section. The tutor explains the key components that will be covered in the course, followed by a quick introduction to the topics that will be covered. The concepts include.
- Roles and users’ proper usage
- Modify wp-config file
- Restrict access to your WordPress
- Setting up the correct file permissions
- Control and filter spam comments
- Change DB prefix
- Setup secret keys
- Disable directory browsing and listing
- Secure your WordPress login and your WordPress
- How and why to use a web application firewall and understand its advanced features.
- Finally, there are bonus features that are offered to the learners on sign up.
Set Correct Roles to Users in WordPress
The module focuses upon the WordPress users and assigns proper roles to them in the segregation of duties. The roles are listed below.
- Super admins have access to the website network administration features and additional features in the entire site.
- The administrators have access to all the administration related features within the site. At the same time, editors can have access to publish and manage posts inclusive of other users’ posts on the site.
- Authors have access to publish and manage their posts.
- Contributors have the permission to write and manage their posts but can’t publish them.
- Subscribers can only manage their profiles.
- It is essential to understand that only administrators are allowed to assign roles to other users. This is possible by selecting roles from the user section. The instructor clarifies that if there is a need to assign a custom role, it is possible by using a plugin. The concepts are practically demonstrated with the options to assign roles and custom roles. Furthermore, the plugin selection is also covered in the section.
Securing WP-Config File from Hackers
This section is entirely focused on the practical implementation and examples of securing the wp-config file. The instructor begins with the wp-config file’s modification process and demonstrates how to move the contents of the wp-config file to a new file.
It is placed outside the public HDMI directory such that it is inaccessible to the internet, thereby making the wp-config file configurations and sensitive information present in the file to be completely secured.
The instructor explains with the practical example of how to copy the contents with few lines of code. The path is mentioned as well. Once it is completed, the tutor explains how the new file is created in the directory.
The website is refreshed to incorporate the changes. Furthermore, a different approach is demonstrated with the use of an absolute path. The process of adding all the changes and saving the file is explained in-depth.
Restrict Access to your WordPress Admin
In this section of the course, the instructors introduce the concepts of restricting access to WordPress admin and how to disable user registration. The tutor explains the need for restricting access to eliminate the possibilities of hacking.
With growing hacks across the world, the instructor recommends having a specific IP address accessible only by the WordPress admin.
The example is demonstrated with an example that is performed with a step-wise approach. Using the site manager is explained well as it is one of the critical components while using WordPress.
The use of FTP client’s credentials and the safety protocols are covered thoroughly. Besides, the WP admin directory is explained along with the creation of a new file.
The instructor also explains the possibility of creating multiple IP addresses and how to upload them to the server. Finally, the use of the WordPress dashboard and changing the IP address using a VPN is explained.
The next part of this section focuses on disabling the user registration. The procedure to disable is shown by disconnecting the VPN, followed by selecting the general tab in the settings and uncheck the option. The section concludes with the demonstration.
Set Correct WP-File Permissions
The instructor explains the concept behind file permissions and their importance. It is common for people to focus on security plugins related to the security of the accounts. However, the file permissions are often overlooked.
File permissions allow a server to have the ability to set up the criteria of who will perform which operation on WordPress files and folders.
The concepts are explained with a practical example. The permissions are also represented in a numeric format. WordPress accounts can be vulnerable if the required file permissions are not set appropriately.
The loopholes can be exploited by hackers easily and completely take over the control of the WordPress site. The read and write operations and execution of sensitive files are at risk of malicious codes are injected into the WordPress site.
The instructor further explains that if the file permissions are not set, there would be errors in accessing files, and the site can break and throw error messages.
The two ways of sending the file permissions are covered as well. It is possible with the use of an FTP client or using a C panel. The instructor offers additional references while emphasizing the need for a firewall for the websites and prevent any attacks in real-time.
How to Control and Filter Spam Comments
The learners get an insight into how to control comments on WordPress to protect it from spammers. Another critical piece of information shared by the tutor is that if a particular site doesn’t require a comment section, there is no need to add it.
The comments option can be disabled from the settings section in your WordPress. There is a possibility of manually approving a comment and check for spam.
Additionally, it can be performed using a plugin. The procedure of installing plugins is demonstrated in a step-wise approach.
The use of API keys and their functionalities are also covered in this section. The required configurations that can enable deleting the worst comment out of the entire comments section are also demonstrated in the example.
Secure WordPress Database from Hackers
In this section, the concepts of database prefix are explored. The instructor explains how a SQL injection takes place and the exploitation of the tables by hackers. Typically, there is a provision for manual methods and plugins for securing the database.
Both the methods are explained with the help of a follow-along demo for easier understanding. The installation of plugins and table prefix are covered in-depth. The tutor also explains the possibility of custom plugins and the procedure for the same.
Set Strong Cipher Suite for your Site
This section of the tutorial is focused on the need for secret keys for a WordPress installation. It is explained that to achieve increased security for the sites. One must always opt for secret keys. The demonstration begins with the installation process.
There is additional information from the tutor that states that when a website is suspicious of a malicious attack, the administrators must change the secret keys. The purpose of changing the secret key is to invalidate all the sessions, thereby needing users to have authentication to access the site.
Finally, the instructor demonstrates the appropriate procedure to change the secret key with a specific link and replacing the previously existing secret key.
Disable Directory Listing Vulnerability on your WordPress Site
The section focuses upon the disabling of a directory listing on a WordPress site. At first, the tutor explains the concept of the directory listing. The source codes and the concepts of the directory and its sub-directories are explored.
The tutor explains that the hackers retrieve information from the website and manipulate it with the source codes. The procedure to disable the listings is demonstrated with an example. The modification, saving, and uploading steps are shown clearly and explained in-depth.
Secure your Login and Admin Area
The final section of the tutorial focuses on protecting the admin. Although restricting the access to a WP admin has been covered, the concept for changing the default login URL varies.
The default settings are changed to avoid any brute force attacks on a WordPress login. It is possible with the help of plugins that the tutor covers in detail. The demo is shown clearly with a follow-along approach. The required settings for plugins are shown as well.
Best Security Tip for your WordPress Site
At the end of the tutorial, the instructors have provided additional security tips for the WordPress sites. The first and foremost topic of discussion is related to the need for a firewall. The tutor explains how HTTPS would not protect the website from database and website based hacks.
HTTPS encrypts the communication between the server and the client. Additionally, the instructor explains how a custom-coded website such as PHP, Python, and several other possibilities defines that the developers do not follow the secured coding guidelines. The use of websites using a content management system opens the possibilities of high impact attacks.
Such attacks can only be tackled with the help of a firewall. A firewall is not limited to the protection and enhances the website’s speed and performance through an advanced form of caching functionalities.
From blocking unwanted web traffic to scanning malware infections, the firewall performs it at ease on the website and comparatively lower cost. The instructor explains the offerings from their company and a particular example of how the firewall works.
The concluding section includes 15 questions as a quiz for all the concepts covered in the tutorial.
Benefits of this course
Industry professionals and cyber security experts also teach the course. Therefore, the course is well suited for people willing to understand the security risks and the process to tackle such attacks efficiently. The course contents are well-designed for beginners as well as experienced personnel.
The course doesn’t overwhelm the newcomers as specific courses focus on many concepts that confuse them. It follows a straightforward approach. Although the course is short, many important concepts are covered in the course with detailed explanations and practical examples.
There are provisions for additional resources as well. The core concepts are explained well. A significant benefit is that all the concepts are also demonstrated with an example. The learners can practice and improve their overall understanding of the tutorial concepts. There are simplified examples and a follow-along approach.
Another factor that this course could be preferred is the duration of the content. There are no lengthy explanations and complicated examples. All the content is presented in a simplified manner.
The course will provide certification of completion. It is a free tutorial available on Udemy. However, there is access to online content, certification, direct access to the instructor for Q&A, and direct replies from the instructor. It is important to note that access to online content is available for the free version, and the remaining options from the paid version are not being offered.
You will get access to the learning community on Udemy consisting of students and tutors. The benefits of such access to a learning community are the availability of essential resources and tips shared in the forum. You can also post your questions on the forum and get explanations from experienced professionals and tutors who are actively communicating on this platform.
The course provides a hands-on learning experience. This course is designed to provide sufficient exposure to learners to try all the settings and additional codes required for achieving the security features for WordPress. A hands-on approach lets you grasp the concept much faster.
The examples that are being covered are also shown practically, thus enhancing the overall learning process. The course is a perfect balance of theory and practical knowledge and provides crucial information and additional resources.
A Brief Note on WordPress
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) platform. WordPress came into existence in 2003 as a simplistic approach to blogging. Today, WordPress has evolved into a fully-featured content management system that contains a wide variety of plugins, widgets, and themes for easier web development.
It is a powerful and user-friendly tool for creating a website platform that ranges from e-commerce, business, and service to blogging and portfolios.
The benefits of WordPress are that it enables the users to build and manage a full-featured website without needing to learn to code. WordPress also provides search engine optimization and Google Analytic reports to manage the website and its activities better.
Usage of WordPress
WordPress is suitable for various types of websites. With WordPress, the backend associated with the interface that allows users to log in and make changes or add content is possible. On the other hand, the front end responsible for visitors to the website to access can be performed. Some of the examples of WordPress powered sites are.
- E-Commerce Websites
- Business Websites
- Portfolio-Based Websites
- Event Management Website
- E-Learning Websites
- Wedding and Photography Websites
- Discussion Forums
- Membership Websites
- WordPress is among the most widely used content management systems today. Some of the reasons for its popularity are listed below.
- WordPress is simple and easy to use. It is suitable for professionals as well as beginners with no technical background.
- The building and publishing of websites are quicker as both the frontend and backend requirements are incorporated in WordPress sites.
- WordPress is free to download and use. However, there is a fee for web hosting and a domain name.
- With WordPress, there is the flexibility to create multiple types of websites.
- The management of WordPress websites is simplistic, and any person with a knowledge of software like Microsoft Word can use WordPress.
- Therefore, as it is open-source, there are constant updates from a strong community of developers and collaborators for improving the software regularly.
- With no technical background required to build websites using WordPress, several people and businesses prefer it to lower the cost of operation.
- There is an extensive list of plugins in WordPress.org, with each plugin offering different functionality. It is easy to download and implement the plugins as per the required changes.
- A wide variety of themes are offered on WordPress. Therefore the design and layout of the website can be customized and look eye-catching. Additionally, with the use of page builders, the users can gain more control of the layouts.
- WordPress provides excellent security features to keep a website well-secured and protected from hackers.
- Search engine optimization is extremely crucial on the online platform today. WordPress had incorporated SEO features that allow websites to be visible when searched through common search engines like Google to achieve SEO functionalities.
- WordPress features provide security and firewall-based features to make websites secure, fast, and deliver high performance.
- WordPress is mobile-friendly as well.
- User-friendly interface.
- WordPress offers built-in media libraries to work with images and videos on the posts on a website. A basic form of editing of the images is possible.
- There is a provision for customizable navigation menus.
- WordPress has built-in blog functionalities and a block editor to transform the pages and posts on the website. It is possible to design and arrange the content at ease without changing codes of codes with a simple drag and drop approach.