Building, maintaining, and running an eCommerce business on a popular eCommerce platform like WooCommerce involves numerous processes. One of the first things a merchant needs to ensure is the store’s security. According to research, about 29% of the total traffic on your website comes from malicious sources like hackers.
With the eCommerce community rapidly expanding and online shopping continuously evolving, it has become crucial to boost the website’s safety walls to ensure a secure shopping experience for your buyers. WooCommerce already has in-built features that make it entirely safe as an eCommerce platform.
Your business deals with a lot of sensitive information daily, so it is recommended that you follow the WooCommerce security guidelines to prevent loss of data or any form of cybercrime. A single layer of security may not be enough to satisfy the needs of some businesses. For this reason, we have brought together several tips in this article that can help you enhance WooCommerce security to keep your online store safe.
Is WooCommerce Secure in 2022?
Yes, WooCommerce is secure to use by merchants around the world. The current generation of customers prefers to shop online. Due to this, the rate of cyber attacks, data breaches, fraudulent payments, and other forms of cybercrimes is rapidly on the rise. It, therefore, becomes imperative that business owners choose a platform like WooCommerce that can provide fundamental robust security features. The eCommerce platform is built and updated frequently to make it safer and more convenient.
The security system of WooCommerce is often not enough on its own to protect your website from external security threats like cyber attacks, brute hackers, and so on. For tackling such issues, your website would need additional layers of security that can be fulfilled by following supplementary measures and guidelines.
Install the WooCommerce platform for your eCommerce business today
WooCommerce Website Security Issues in 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted everything, and an industry giant like WooCommerce was no exception. The leading platform recently got caught up in a web of cybersecurity issues. Although the complications were rather severe, it was nothing that couldn't be resolved with quick and efficient solutions.
According to estimates, more than 5 million websites are installed with WooCommerce Plugin. It implies that more than 5 million websites are at risk if they do not find a timely fix for their WooCommerce vulnerabilities. A discussion on WooCommerce cybersecurity issues and their solution becomes all the more relevant owing to this fact.
There were four major WooCommerce security breaches with WooCommerce platforms. Let's take a look below.
Problem I: Owing to the pandemic, a slew of online shoppers started prowling the internet. Hence, the primary issue is too many login attempts. Hackers used bot networks to log in to the admin panel.
Solution: Installing a WP Plugin like Wordfence will block unknown URL addresses that repeatedly enter wrong passwords.
Problem II: The second issue is the absence of data encryption which might lead to hackers stealing sensitive data like usernames, email addresses, bank details, credit/debit card details, etc
Solution: It would be best to have third-party app integrations like SSL certificates to protect your store's data.
Problem III: Plugin conflicts arising from installing too many plugins for security is the third major issue.
Solution: The only way out is to not rely on too many plugins for security and stick to an SSL certificate.
Problem IV: The final issue is the unavailability of the auto-update option. It's crucial to update your store to keep it safe, but users must manually check for updates every day since auto-update is unavailable.
Solution: Using WP plugins like Companion Auto Update could help ensure regular updates.
Discover additional tips to secure your WooCommerce store from cyber attacks
Top Security Tips to Keep Your WooCommerce Store Secure
Want to enhance the security of your WooCommerce store? Follow the tips below. These expert tips will help you circumvent WooCommerce security vulnerabilities.
1. Use Robust Plugins
Plugins and extensions are usually a great way of expanding the functions of your store. However, most of these extensions do not follow the standard quality. Check the performance of the third-party integration, its reviews, and the app's quality. It is best to stick with reputed brands, as they do not compromise on the quality or integrity of their products. Remember never to download free versions of premium extensions or plugins from external third-party sources as they include malware. It can install viruses in your system, leading to repercussions like loss of data files, consumer information, etc. That is why it is ideal to avoid downloading them at all. Lastly, ensure to update all of the store's plugins, extensions, and third-party integrations so you can work with efficient apps and benefit from the latest updates.
2. Secure WooCommerce Login
The WooCommerce login page is perhaps the most vulnerable point of your store. These four steps will ensure that the login page is secure. First, you can install security extensions to analyze and identify unknown IP addresses. It notifies you whenever someone tries to log in to your page and repeatedly enters the wrong password.
Accordingly, you can take steps to block the hacker's IP address from entering your administration login page in the future. It is much safer to use email ids instead of usernames to log in to your store. Even though the store will ask you to enter your username as part of its default settings, you can change it under the basic settings and connect to your store via your unique email address.
3. Limit Brute Force Login Attempts
WooCommerce security guidelines suggest that you limit the number of times anyone can complete a login attempt to enter your store. It is a deliberate effort to identify malicious IP addresses before blocking them. Hackers these days are using advanced technology to guess your password and enter your store, making your eCommerce business significantly vulnerable. To prevent this, WooCommerce is compatible with several plugins that act as a barrier to stop defaulters from entering your store and stealing data.
4. Use Strong Passwords
Creating a strong password for your login page is the oldest ace up one's sleeve to ensure your account is secure. You can follow several guidelines listed below to confirm if your password is strong enough for your account.
- Use lowercase, uppercase, symbols, and letters for your password.
- Do not use your name, birthday or anniversary dates, or other personal phrases that one can easily guess
- Make sure you have a separate unique password for each of your accounts
- The longer and more complicated your password is, the harder it is for anyone to crack it
WordPress already has a built-in secure password generator that gives you alternatives. It churns out complicated password combinations. So if you are confused or not sure how to make a solid password, you can generate one from WordPress.
5. SSL Certificates
Almost every other store has an SSL certificate. It's relatively common to host a store with one. Business owners and merchants can buy this certificate from an accredited organization. They can also access it through hosting services like Cloudways and third parties that offer the certification free of cost. SSL certificates are beneficial to your store as they bring more potential visitors and site visits. Search engines like Google accept installing these certificates as an SEO ranking factor for websites. Thus, it will not only stop hackers from accessing your transactions and sensitive consumer data but will also play a role in improving your SEO score.
6. Enable Two-factor Authentication
People can log in to your WooCommerce account if they have access to your email or any other account you use for logging in. It will enable them to gather enough information to change your password and log in to your account. Two-factor authentication 2FA is an excellent way to ensure all your accounts are safe against intruders. It adds an extra layer of protection to your account. With 2FA, there is a mandatory second step one needs to follow to log in. Typically, it would be best to have your smartphone validate and verify the login process. It asks you to tap on a code that flashes on your login screen. This way, the system can confirm you are the owner and give you access to the account.
7. Spam Submissions
Most of the forms on your WooCommerce store are vulnerable to malicious attacks and spam submissions. Payment forms are excluded from being subjected to requests of such nature and objective. For instance, unsecured user registration forms part of your WooCommerce store will lead to hundreds of spam submissions. You will need to put in extra effort to go through them and pick actual customer forms. It is a tiring process, and you may miss a few. That is why it is recommended you secure them to avoid confusion. There are plugins available on WooCommerce Suite that can function as a protection against spam submissions.
8. Safeguard Wp-config.php Files
Wp-config.php is one of the most crucial files in your system because it contains a considerable amount of sensitive information about your store. For instance, your WordPress or WooCommerce security details or passwords, database connection information, data about your clients, and more. If hackers access wp-config.php files and tamper with them, your store will suffer incalculable damage. To prevent this, you must restrict access to the files to everyone but yourself. You can also make a new config.php file and transfer all the sensitive data from the main one to this file. It will protect your store's data if someone manages to access your wp-config.php files.
9. Restrict Content Records
Unethical people often utilize content scrapers to capture all the posts on the site's blogs. Moreover, enabling free access to all the content records means that each page on your WooCommerce store, even the sensitive ones are accessible. To avoid the security issues that follow this, you can observe specific guidelines. First, you can use plugins to restrict access to your sensitive data. Second, you can create a new folder and add an index.html file. It gives you control over user access, ensuring that only selected users can see the content they are particularly authorized to.
10. Backup Your Website
Backing up your website is one of the few preventive safety guidelines available to safeguard your store. It is not a highly reliable way of protecting your website from hackers, but it is beneficial to protect it from data loss. If your website crashes, you can lose consumer data, new orders, previously placed orders, revenue details, etc. It is thus essential to back up your data to minimize the loss of sensitive and relevant information. This step would also help you tackle the problem of losing data when your website is under attack. During fixing your website and resolving all issues, the backup data might come in handy to restore your WooCommerce store.
Searching to install practical security tools for your eCommerce site?
11. Rename Login Page
Renaming your login page means changing the URL address of your login page. Only someone with the exact URL address can access your login page. It reduces 99% of all hacking attempts on your administration panel or online e-commerce store. You can get help from extensions or security teams to change the URL address of your login page. It gives you suggestions of potential login page names. The ordering or modifying process doesn't take much time and can be carried out by someone with no prior technical knowledge.
12. Install a Firewall
Setting up a firewall on your work store will considerably improve security. It will block most threats and potential security breaches before reaching your store. Even if your store comes with an in-built firewall, it is recommended that you install one of your own for safety. A few examples of the most trusted WordPress firewalls are Word fence, Secure, All-in-one WP Security & Firewall, and Theme Security. Merchants or business owners who have an extra budget to hire a developer or possess enough technical knowledge can customize the firewall through a plugin before installing it. It is mainly done to ensure that the firewall caters to the unique needs of your online store.
13. Set Up an Activity Log
An activity log is a register that automatically keeps track of everything going down on your website. For example, it notes down every time someone tries to log in to your store, make changes to any web page or a file, changes in the admin panel, alter store configuration, and much more. An activity log is critical for your e-commerce business as it provides you with valuable information you can utilize to troubleshoot website errors and avoid attacks on your website.
14. Malware Scanning
Hackers often infiltrate viruses and other malware designed to make your store malfunction and give them an opening to steal all the store's data. It is less hassle than taking down the entire website. Fortunately, Jetpack Security tools offer a range of services that follows different security functions for your site.One of them is scanning for any suspicious activity, software, or code on your site. A direct email is sent to the business owner to notify them if it finds anything. Site owners or developers can then troubleshoot and rapidly fix the incoming threat. They also provide solutions and quick fixes for most security threats to make your job more convenient and accessible.
15. Use Dissimilar Username
As mentioned earlier, having a solid password is a must to tighten the security of your store, but what happens to the username? It is crucial to change your username to ensure the admin or store name is dissimilar from each other. You can do this by logging into your WordPress admin, navigating to the User, clicking the Add new option, and creating an assigned admin for the WordPress account. Don't forget to log out and log in again to the new admin account. You can delete the previous account and start posting on the new admin account. The potent combination of a unique admin username and a strong password will make it hard for hackers to crack them.
16. Adjust FTP settings
FTP or File Transfer Protocol transfers files between two devices. You can create FTP accounts through your hosting provider that enables you to connect from your computer or laptop to your website server. If any hacker accesses those accounts, they could do relatively severe damage to your work and store by making several alterations to your site. To evade this, you can restrict permissions on these accounts to dramatically reduce the number of potential attacks on your website. Make sure only your FTP account can view the following folders:
- the root directory
There are further resources and guidelines available on the WordPress codex to aid you in making your FTP account more secure.
17. Utilize Geoblocking
Several bots originate from particular countries. As the owner of your website, you know where you can expect authentic traffic on your website. If your website starts giving you reports showing a hike in traffic from a completely different country, you need to worry. It is suspicious to get heavy traffic from another country, and experience tells us that most of the time, they are bots. If you are running a campaign in that country or advertising, it is understandable why you are getting traction on your website. Nonetheless, if there is no visible connection with your website, you need to review the security protocols. The only way to stop this is by implementing Geoblocking, which means you can block entire countries from viewing your website.
18. Update User Management Policy
Store administration is not a cakewalk. One may require a seasoned team to ensure the store's optimal functioning and smooth administration. You might need to share your administrative login IDs and password with the rest of your team. In the long run, there could be possible changes in your group. Some may leave, and some may join afresh. The employees who leave will still have access to your account as they know the ID and the password. Experts recommend that store owners periodically review users who have access to the accounts. During the review, one can decide if someone needs to be removed or added. You can also implement a least privilege policy. It means granting only a minimum allocation of control to a person to perform tasks on the website.
19. Restrict Editing of Certain Files
The file editor on your website can be a source of the image of a commerce vulnerability because it allows users to run PHP code. It makes hacking your website relatively more straightforward. File editor is an essential tool to modify themes and plugins directly. Access to the file editor should be restricted to highly crucial employees and yourself. It will decrease the chances of hackers trying to break into your site and making irreversible changes. There is minimal knowledge required to limit the access to the file editor, and it only takes a couple of minutes to perform the chore.
20. Regular Website Updates
Frequently updating your website's themes, plugins, and extensions are only part of the solution. There are other factors of your website that need attention and regular upgrades. For instance, speed, functionality, performance, safety, or specific components are some factors that may improve by implementing measures to upgrade the website. During the updating process, you might find vulnerabilities and bugs that can be removed with quick fixes.
21. Security Plugins
It is perhaps one of the most mundane security tips available. However, it is highly recommended by professionals and WooCommerce. While the eCommerce leader has great inbuilt security features, it is simply not enough to keep your store safe. Installing a security plugin from a third-party app is a primary step followed by all business owners and merchants. Ensure that you avail this service from a reliable and legitimate software company. There are numerous options available in the market, and you can choose any depending on your needs.
Security is a Priority for WooCommerce Websites
Consumer behavior, trends, recent studies, and research have all pointed out the same thing: an increase in the rate of online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the hike in the online buying spree. For these reasons, technology revolving around eCommerce has rapidly progressed to accommodate these changes and give rise to online businesses. It directly impacts the security levels, as it is more crucial than ever to protect many consumers and businesses from cybercrime. WooCommerce has consequently taken steps to make its platform more robust and secure.
Hire WooCommerce developers from our experienced team to secure your eCommerce site effectively
Final Note - WooCommerce Security in 2022
Building your WooCommerce security is a tedious task. The strategies, guidelines, or regulations take time as they are multi-step processes. Security tips mentioned in this blog should help you enhance the safety of your WooCommerce store. When running an online store, security is always the priority, as it determines how fast or smooth your store can function. Investment to enhance your security will pay off in the long run and offer you many benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - WooCommerce Security
Can WooCommerce be hacked?
Even a prominent eCommerce platform like WooCommerce is vulnerable to security compromises. The platform regularly updates its security features to make a safe business environment for the buyers and sellers. It also communicates specific guidelines and tips to help business owners make their stores safer.
How do I make my WooCommerce store secure?
As a business owner, you can do numerous things to make your WooCommerce store more secure. There are various tools available for this purpose. Some of the security guidelines are mentioned in the article above. You can follow one or more depending on the present status of your store.
Is WooCommerce safe?
WooCommerce is a safe platform for e-commerce businesses. It is famous for providing a secure environment and meeting the demands of rapidly increasing online companies. External factors like malicious hackers can threaten your store, but concrete measures can prevent it.
Are security plugins necessary?
Security plugins are necessary to ensure the optimum safety of your eCommerce store. Well-known third-party firms provide robust, reliable, avant-garde security plugins to cater to your unique eCommerce business needs. Security plugins will add a supplementary layer of protection to your store.
Is WooCommerce stable to use?
WooCommerce is a highly flexible, cost-effective, versatile, and safe platform for all types of e-commerce businesses. It has aided in the success of many start-up online companies. Since WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress, it comes with increased SEO abilities, making it easier to boost conversion and engagement rates.
Can hackers steal from your store?
If unscrupulous hackers steal your username and password, they will gain access to your WooCommerce account. Once they do, they can alter your site and steal sensitive information like credit card details, customer data, etc. It would help if you employed extensions to secure the payment gateways and limit access to your account.
What are the four main types of security vulnerability?
The four types of security vulnerability your WooCommerce store faces are network vulnerabilities, human vulnerabilities, process vulnerabilities, and operating system vulnerabilities. You can source help from external developers to resolve any potential security issues.
How to select WooCommerce themes and logins?
The rule of thumb is premium themes and plugins are never free. They come at various costs and plans. Investing in excellent premium WooCommerce themes or plugins is beneficial for your store. Accessing free plugins and themes is not always the safer option as it may contain malware.
Does WooCommerce have security?
WooCommerce is built to offer a convenient, secure platform to all its users. WooCommerce by itself is considerably secure to provide you with minimal protection. It is not enough to safeguard your store from other brute force attacks from malicious hackers. That's why merchants implement safety guidelines to strengthen the store's security.
Is WooCommerce suitable for my business?
WooCommerce is a state-of-the-art eCommerce platform aiding business owners to achieve their goals for several years. Regardless of your business size, WooCommerce is the ideal platform for your company because of its favorable features like improved security, advanced themes, customization, etc.