A paradigm shift is seen in the retail industry with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, ecommerce is flourishing across the globe with a stunning 14% spike in online retail sales. Many brick-and-mortar stores are turning into brick-and-click stores and setting up their digital storefronts. The one aspect that many online retailers dread more than setting up the site is the security of the store.
Ecommerce sites gather a huge amount of sensitive customer information on a frequent basis. Any security breach would affect the reliability and trust elements that result in losing your customers. Hence many ecommerce store owners take stringent measures to tighten the security of their webstore. The first step to having a secure and trusted website is to choose the ecommerce platform on which you want to build your website wisely. WooCommerce with more than 42% of the market share is more susceptible to security exploits but it is going strong with a large user base.
In this article, let’s dive in to see how WooCommerce stores can be strongly secure and trusted by the customers.
Keep up with the updates
WooCommerce based ecommerce stores get regular updates from WordPress. Regular security updates are also released as and when security vulnerabilities are detected in the core modules. Even though you skip some minor version releases, it is imperative to implement the security releases promptly and fix the security loopholes. You should also update your themes and plugins to fix any possible vulnerabilities.
Never overlook the updates notifications and stay on the top of the regular updates. This strengthens your website security and keeps it safe from any malicious attack.
Set Strong Username and Password
Username should also be hard to guess and having a default/commonplace username like ADMIN is a bad practice. Any skilled hacker can gain access even to the admin account easily. Websites with weaker passwords are more prone to attacks and can be easily broken by a brute force attack. Stronger passwords could protect your site from hackers. Different permutations of alphanumeric and special characters should be used to create a strong password. WP has a built-in feature ‘better passwords’ that generate strong passwords for the users.
Limit the login attempts
Most hackers resort to brute force methods like guessing the passwords/username randomly and attempt to gain access to the webstore. You can also limit the number of login attempts that serve as the best line of defense against any brute force attacks by hackers. Use security plugins like brute force login protection, limit login attempts that have a ‘restricted login attempts’ feature.
Enable Two-factor authentication
All user accounts should have a two-step authentication process that gives an extra layer of security. This requires activating another device to verify the site owner’s identity. Simply, it means when you log into your WooCommerce store, in addition to credentials, you need to enter a secure password that is generated in real-time. This could be a code or one-time password that is auto-generated and sent to either email/phone. It is the easiest way to tighten the website security.
Choose a secure hosting
There are plenty of hosting companies but not all of them are reliable. A shared hosting server is a cheaper option but that isn’t the most secure option for your ecommerce store as there are chances of cross-site contamination. You better select a company that offers secure hosting for your website. Protect your hosting server by adding firewalls, using a strong SSH username and password, changing permissions of critical files. SiteGround, Kinsta are some of the top-rated WordPress hosting services. You can choose the one that suits your budget and performance needs.
Use WP Security plugins
WordPress has numerous security plugins that improve the security of your website. Some of the top WooCommerce security plugins are Wordfence, Sucuri Security, MalCare security solution, Bulletproof security, and more that are easily available online.
Hide Author URL
When a user is created, a URL is generated in his name. Finding the author’s name from the URL is simple and the hacker just needs to crack the password. It is advised to change the author’s URL to a customized format.
Add SSL Certificates
Sensitive customer information is being exchanged between the user and the store especially on the account creation, login, and checkout pages. Adding SSL to the WooCommerce store makes this information to travel over a secure and encrypted channel. Google also marks non-SSL encrypted sites as unsafe websites which diminishes the credibility factor of the store.
Use a premium theme
WordPress offers many free themes that meet basic security guidelines but only the paid & premium themes follow stringent security rules. Hence it is advisable to opt for premium WordPress themes that come with technical support, get regular updates, and enjoy additional security benefits.
Limit backlinks on the website
Hackers thrive on the backlinks which were meant for social media sharing and blog purposes. However, for digital retail stores, you don’t need to use this feature. So it is better to disable the backlink options. This ensures that any low-level DDoS attacks are prevented and blocks the spam notifications.
Deploy Secure Payment Gateways
Payment gateways are critical to online retail stores. So tread carefully while choosing any third-party gateways as it may affect the safety of the customer transactions.
Make a backup
Backing up your website is one of the essentials and you can easily restore your earlier bug-free website in no time even when there is a security breach. You can even automate backups by using WooCommerce plugins. Also, have multiple backup copies that circumvent the probability of any backup restoration.
The best practice is to update frequently and have multiple backups so that in case of any breach, you can bounce the website up to its previous state. Kinsta, VaultPress, UpDraftPlus are some of the plugins that can be used to schedule automatic backups.
Disable edit options
If a hacker gains access to your WooCommerce store, you don’t want him to edit the admin files. So it is better to disable the edit file options for all the users by making changes to the config file.
Check the FTP directory settings
File transfers are common wherein the clients may make any download requests for any content and with proper FTP settings, the file permissions are set. Not everyone would have access to file uploads, deletions, copying, and renaming. Any security laid back could provide access to confidential files to the potential intruders.
There are numerous ways you can tighten the security of your ecommerce store. Anticipate the inevitable and be proactively prepared for the potential threats which could save many clock hours and manpower. Investing in the security resources of the store has immense positive externalities. This even prevents any website downtime which otherwise would have a dreadful impact on your ecommerce business. If you need help with constant vigilance of your website, Skynet Technologies is the right place with developers who have the acumen to pick the right plugins and safeguard your ecommerce store.
We provide WooCommerce store maintenance service to fuel your online store with enterprise level capabilities and keep your customer coming back! Whether you want to migrate to WooCommerce integrate any application, redesign your online store, require a new development for your store. let us know about your requirements and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!