Everywhere you look these days, it seems that there’s another report of a hacked website or leaked customer data. So, if you’re a WooCommerce store owner, security is probably one of your biggest concerns.
You’ll probably be relieved to hear that improving your WooCommerce security doesn’t require a massive budget or huge team of developers. In fact, you’ve already made a great start by choosing to host your store on WordPress.com. In this guide, we’ll explore why security is essential before giving lots of practical tips to help you improve your WooCommerce security.
Why eCommerce Security is Important
Your WooCommerce store collects and stores a lot of personal information for your customers, including names and addresses. It’s vital that you keep this data secure, as leaks can ruin your reputation and make customers feel like they can’t trust your brand.
Keeping your site safe also saves you from losing hours of hard work or a site outage that could halt orders for hours or even days.
How to Protect Your Online Store
One way to get a head start on security is to partner with a reputable host that can take care of certain essentials like firewalls, keeping WordPress up to date, and scanning for viruses and malware. By running your WooCommerce store via WordPress.com, you’ve already chosen a great host that does all of this and also offers a number of other built-in security features.
However, there are some extra steps you can take to ensure your WooCommerce store is secure:
1. Use Strong Passwords
The easier your password is to guess, the more likely it is that a hacker will be able to access your WooCommerce store. This is because hackers use bots to try thousands of the most common usernames and passwords, hoping they find the right combination for your site.
To help bolster WooCommerce security, your passwords should avoid common words and phrases (especially password, qwerty, and 123456), be at least 20 characters long, and contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Strong passwords can be tricky to create and even harder to remember, but you can use a password manager, like LastPass, to generate secure passwords for you and have them on hand each time you log in.
2. Set up Smart User Roles
Running an eCommerce business often takes more than one person. This means you may have multiple people accessing the admin side of your site, so it’s crucial that the user roles for these people are set up correctly within WordPress.
WordPress comes with a range of different user roles, each with its own permissions. For example, an Administrator can access and change anything on your website while an Editor can do almost anything related to content, but not make major site changes. WooCommerce also adds two roles: Shop Manager, which adds permissions related to running your store, and Customer, which simply allows users to view and make changes to their own orders.
To help improve your WooCommerce security, it’s vital that you understand what permissions each role grants. You should then regularly review the roles for each user, ensuring that they only have the permissions needed to carry out their roles.
3. Set up Two-Step Authentication
Two-step authentication is another simple thing you can do to improve WooCommerce security, as it makes it significantly harder for unauthorized people to access your store. Two-step authentication requires users to provide a code from their mobile device alongside their username and password. So if someone happens to crack your password, they still can’t log in without physically having your phone in hand.
The great news is that WordPress.com has two-step authentication built in, making it easy for you to add this extra layer of security to your WooCommerce store.
4. Prevent Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks happen when hackers use software to repeatedly try hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords until they stumble upon the right one.
And while following the steps above can stop such an attack from succeeding, even an attempt can drain site resources and slow things down. And a slow site means visitors may leave without completing their purchase.
Jetpack’s Brute Force Attack Protection tool guards against attacks by blocking hackers from even trying. And the best part? This state-of-the-art security tool comes with a WordPress.com Pro account.
5. Choose Safe, Reliable Plugins
Being able to install plugins is a great benefit of your WordPress Pro plan, as they can add useful extra functionality to your site. But you must choose your plugins wisely because hackers can take advantage of poorly-coded, out-of-date software.
When installing a plugin from within the WordPress dashboard, you’ll be able to see when it was last updated. This is important, as it will help you know if the plugin is being supported and worked on and if the developer is addressing any security risks. You’ll also see the number of active installations and user rating for each tool. These can show you how popular the plugin is, allowing you to choose established, safe, and effective options.
6. Turn on Automatic Updates
Once you’ve installed a plugin or theme, it’s essential that you keep it updated because updates often fix bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers could take advantage of.
WordPress.com will keep any plugin or theme you’ve installed from within your dashboard up to date automatically. For third-party premium plugins, make sure that you’ve entered any appropriate license keys first.
7. Regularly Scan for Malware
Malware is malicious software that can be used for any number of nefarious purposes. While the steps above will significantly reduce the risk of it sneaking onto your site, you can further enhance your WooCommerce security by regularly checking your store. Jetpack Scan will automatically search your site and immediately alert you to any problems. Plus, you can fix the majority of known issues with just one click. At WordPress.com, Jetpack Scan happens “behind the scenes”, protecting all WordPress.com sites automatically.
8. Prevent Spam
Spam comments not only make you look unprofessional, but they can impact your WooCommerce security by sending customers to malicious sites. But, the great news is that, since you’re hosting with WordPress.com, you don’t have to spend hours manually sorting through comments. Instead, your plan comes with Askimet Anti-Spam, which automatically protects your site and reputation by getting rid of pesky spam before you or your customers see it.
9. Monitor for Downtime
If your WooCommerce store suddenly goes down, this could be a sign that hackers have managed to break into your site. Unfortunately, every minute your site is down, you’re losing sales and giving hackers more time to wreak havoc.
But, you don’t need to manually check your site, as Jetpack downtime monitoring is included in your WordPress.com Pro plan. This continually checks that your site is online from locations across the world. You’ll receive a notification the moment it notices your site is down — meaning you work to resolve any issue right away.
10. Take Regular Backups
Hopefully, by implementing some of the added steps in this article, you’ll be able to protect your site from hackers. But if the worst does happen, it’s vital that you have a recent backup so you can restore a clean version in minutes and get things running again.
Jetpack Backup is included in your WordPress.com Pro plan, which saves your store automatically, and keeps copies in multiple secure locations.
This handy service backs up your site every time an action (such as a product purchase or page update) takes place on your site. You never have to worry about losing a single piece of order information! Plus, you can restore a backup in just one click.
Keep Your WooCommerce Store Secure
WooCommerce security doesn’t need to be your full-time job. But for many of the people at WordPress.com, it is.
Beyond the numerous performance and time-saving benefits, hosting your WooCommerce store on WordPress.com means access to some of the world’s best security tools. Plus, with VIP customer support, you have a built-in partner should you ever need the help of an expert team.
Your Site. Your Content.
With WordPress.com, you always own your content. No lock-in. Export it any time. Wherever life takes you, your content follows.