Why Site Owners Should Run Regular WordPress Security Audits

Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by Sunny Staff

It’s a huge relief to get a website up and running with no significant issues. Even with an intuitive CMS like WordPress, the design phase for a high-quality site is complicated and frustrating, and it can drag out for quite a while (particularly if it’s your first time doing any web development). In addition to getting all the features and content in place, you need to ensure that your website is fully secure: there’s too much fraud in the online world to be complacent about it.

But you don’t get to sit back and relax once your site is active. If you want to keep your site in good condition, you need to commit to various forms of maintenance in addition to updating the content reasonably frequently. Part of that maintenance process should involve regular WordPress security audits: you can handle them independently or make things easier by outsourcing them to relevant experts. Not convinced? Here’s why you need to keep this in mind:

New Vulnerabilities are Always Being Found

It’s easy to forget that the internet is almost unfathomably complex, working through frameworks built on other frameworks built on yet more frameworks. Various systems and code bases intermingle and conflict in ways that are remarkably hard to predict. This means that even the most secure systems around can inevitably be rendered vulnerable somehow — and given the popularity and open nature of WordPress, the incentive to hack it is always there.

This means that not a month — perhaps not a week — can go by without some new weakness, however minor, being flagged as a possible risk. And while WordPress is updated on a regular basis, not all of the weaknesses can be patched so easily: some will require you to slightly tweak how you do things or discontinue a dated integration. If you don’t engage in regular WordPress security audits, you can miss these issues, leaving your website vulnerable.

It’s Possible to Block Legitimate Traffic

A slight wrinkle with website security is that you need to find the right balance between avoiding a denial-of-service attack and blocking people trying to access your website for totally normal reasons. Many security plugins and services will aggressively block visitors from specific IP addresses or with other concerning indicators, yet this is far from flawless.

Consider how ubiquitous VPNs have become due to the rise of remote working. Whether it’s professionals using workplace VPNs to access protected files or people using personal VPNs to access streaming media (per WhatIsMyIPAddress, even free VPNs have become perfectly serviceable), there are many normal internet users accessing websites through proxies. So if your security settings are overly enthusiastic with blocking, you might be losing good traffic and leads.

Not All Plugin Updates Can Be Automatic

A convenience of WordPress is that most plugins can be set to update automatically. When new versions are rolled out, they’ll install without you needing to do anything. But this isn’t true of every plugin: some put automatic updates behind paywalls, while others don’t do automatic updates at all, requiring you to install them manually.

And even when you can have updates run automatically, it’s not unheard of for an update to break your website. A new version of a plugin might conflict with the current version of another plugin, for instance, leading to them both failing. If you’re not paying attention to the update process, you can encounter a problem and not know how to address it.

A Breach Can Have Dire Consequences

Lastly, it’s super important that you run regular WordPress security audits because the consequences of a breach can be disastrous to your site and your brand in general. Per Business Wire, just a minor data breach can show everyone that your company can’t be trusted, and once you lose the goodwill of your audience, it can be almost impossible to earn it back.

Now think about what it will cost to frequently check that everything is secure. The price will pale in comparison to that of suffering a security breach, just as the cost of paying for home insurance is nothing compared to what you’d lose if someone broke in and you had no way of getting financial compensation. In short, you can’t afford not to do it.

If you’d like to find out how we can help secure your site and make sure it’s running at peak performance, give us a call, we’d love to help!