How WordPress Plugins Can Be Risky

WordPress Security 12 min read
Last Update on November 27, 2022

Even though there are various ways to make a website, WordPress is still the most popular. This is because it’s easy to use, has a wide range of functions and features, has a library of powerful plugins, and many other things. There are far too many security risks in WordPress plugins.

Your website’s security may be compromised in several ways. But one that might surprise you is that the plugins you use to make your site work can also be risky. How does this happen, and what can you do to limit the damage?

How Do WordPress Plugins Pose Security Risks?

The purpose of plugins is to extend the capabilities of WordPress beyond its default settings and make life easier for website owners. They include everything from backup tools to SEO tools and everything in between. Some plugins aren’t much more than gimmicks, but many of them are very useful and perform well.

There are issues here, though.

Plugins can cause security problems in several ways. One of them is if you don’t keep your plugins up-to-date.

Another is if the developer of the plugin stops putting out updates, leaving you open to new threats. Even though these so-called “abandoned” plugins might not be a risk, they will eventually become outdated and open to attacks because they are no longer being updated.

If you use a “nulled” plugin, you could also be putting your security at risk. These are the free versions of premium plugins, and they almost always come with serious risks.

Lastly, when you stop using them, WordPress plugins can become security risks for your site. This is a lot like how apps you don’t use on your phone or tablet can become sources of risk over time.

What can you do to keep these risks from hurting your website? In fact, WordPress website owners should follow several smart practices.

How To Prevent Security Risks In WordPress Plugins

Install a Web Application Firewall

The security of your website is crucial, and you shouldn’t take any chances with it. In order to protect against zero-day exploits, a web application firewall (WAF) should be installed.

These firewalls lower risk by sifting through website traffic and eliminating malicious threats. Consider this: you wouldn’t risk your computer’s security by connecting it directly to the Internet without any firewall, would you? Then why would you ever run a website that didn’t have the same security?

Inspect Your Plugins Thoroughly

Indeed, tens of thousands of plugins are available, and they all promise to improve your site somehow. But just because they are in the official repository doesn’t mean you should spend your time on them. Also, never utilize plugins outside of authorized.

If you use a third-party repository, ensure it follows the same strict rules as WordPress before listing plugins. Otherwise, your website will likely be hacked and its data compromised.

When choosing plugins, you should look at more than just the functions and features they offer. Take a peek at the developer’s website.

You’re looking for signs that the plugin might not be worth downloading and installing. Like a lousy website, an unknown developer name, no terms of service or privacy policy, or no information about the company on the website.

Determine how many times the plugin.  Find out when it was last updated and make sure it works with the latest version of WordPress’s core system.

It would be best to look at the ratings for any plugins you’re considering using. Low scores should be a red flag. Higher ratings should give you more confidence.

Update Your Plugins

Keep your plugins up to date. This is another essential thing to think about. When a security flaw is found in a plugin, the information is usually shared worldwide. That means that now, in addition to website owners, hackers can also use this information. Turn on the option that allows a plugin to update itself. If not, think twice before installing it. If you decide to go ahead, then check the developer’s website often and install any updates once they are available.

Limit The Number of Plugins

The less risk you take, the fewer plugins you need. It can be tempting to test out several plugins at once but then forget to take them off later. Then, those apps sit there and do nothing but put you at more risk. As a general rule, if you’re not using a plugin, you should get rid of it. Take a regular look at your plugins, note which ones you’re using and which you’re not, and delete the ones you’re not using.

Delete unused plugins

As the website owner, you are probably also in charge of adding plugins and taking them offline when you no longer need them. We’ve already talked about the dangers that can come from unused plugins, so take this chance to stop that from happening. If you uninstall a plugin and won’t use it anymore, delete it completely.

In Conclusion

In the end, WordPress plugins offer you the usefulness and capability the core platform lacks. They are useful additions to any website, whether a personal blog, an e-commerce site, a business site or something else.

Sometimes they are good, though. They can make you less safe and make it more likely that someone will try to hurt you.

If you use the tips we’ve discussed, you can reduce your risk. Take charge of your plugins and do something about them.

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