WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce WordPress plugin. Irrespective of the fact whether you own a small or a large business, you could take your store online in a second with WooCommerce. WooCommerce quickly became popular after its launch on September 27, 2011, because of its easy installation and customizations. To top it all is that it’s an absolutely free product.
Yet, as is the case with all e-commerce websites, WooCommerce also faces threatening risks online. If you are an e-commerce owner, website security always remains the nagging topic in the back of your head. But you are not quite sure as to what security solution or security measures to indulge in.
If this sounds like you, then you have hit the right spot. In this article, you’ll find practical steps to tackle even the trickiest security issues in your WooCommerce store. Plus, it will also shed some light on the common WooCommerce security issues.
This blog is more inclined towards securing your WooCommerce website. So, if you are hacked, check out this hack removal blog for the complete malware removal process. Others continue.
Top Websites powered by WooCommerce
WordPress is the most commonly used platform to create websites. And within WordPress, WooCommerce is easily the most popular e-commerce platform. With more than 5 million active installations worldwide, WooCommerce powers up to 25% of the top 1 million e-commerce websites.
Some of which are:
Further, you can find the most recent WooCommerce version from here.
Just installing WordPress and WooCommerce won’t get you long. You must get your head around WooCommerce security while you are still in the process of setting up your website. This would not only result in an attractive site but also a secured site.
How Secure is WooCommerce?
In the savage world being popular is not enough, one has to be robust too. For an e-commerce platform, security is of utmost importance because the consequences directly pass on to the customers, their credit cards and identity.
Now coming to the question, is WooCommerce Secure? As is said, a website is only as secure as its weakest, most vulnerable component. So, the answer is both yes and no.
Yes; because indeed it has great developers’ support. No; because you can never say for sure when it is the web that you are dealing with.
Scan your website
To check how secure is your website run your website through this free online website scanner. This scanner will uncover your website’s vulnerabilities and highlight security areas that could be improved. It also checks your website for website blacklistings. Above all, you will also get quick recommendation steps to fix the issues.
Moving on. Let’s understand the WooCommerce ecosystem and its components in the next segment.
The WooCommerce Ecosystem
This ecosystem defines the products, services, and people associated with WooCommerce. To understand the weak points of WooCommerce security, we must understand the WooCommerce ecosystem.
The WordPress Core Team
The WordPress Core is inherently very secure. WordPress employs a team of dedicated individuals whose main job is to keep WordPress safe. They use the most advanced security mechanisms and release patches regularly.
Read this article to find out more about WordPress security.
WooCommerce Developers and Third-Party Collaborators
Website owners use several themes and plugins to make their websites appealing and easy to manage. But, the more the number of extensions, the more the number of possible gateways for malicious actors. It is necessary to choose the right plugins and update them regularly to fix security flaws. Use Astra’s WordPress Security Plugin to ensure WooCommerce website security.
The WooCommerce Community
WooCommerce has a pretty active community on all relevant Social Media platforms including Facebook. Passionate users help each other out and share tips and tricks about WooCommerce security.
How do WooCommerce Stores get Hacked?
A major portion of potential security issues emerges due to website owners’ short-sightedness. Here are the top reason for WooCommerce websites hack.
- 41% due to hosting vulnerabilities
- 29% through vulnerable WordPress themes
- 22% through vulnerable WordPress plugins
- 8% were hacked because of a weak password
A hacker injects malicious scripts and codes and spam links by exploiting vulnerabilities in poorly coded plugins and themes installed on the website. Once the hacker confirms that your site is infected he hides malware at multiple locations within a target site, making it difficult to detect.
How to Protect WooCommerce Websites?
If you follow these security measures diligently, you can be sure you are ahead of 90% of WooCommerce websites. You can check out this exhaustive WordPress security guide for more such measures.
1. Secure Hosting
Choosing the hosting provider is the first step toward building a website. Choosing the correct hosting provider is perhaps the most important step while building a website. Make sure that the host is using server-level security.
Protect your hosting servers by adding firewalls, using strong SSH username and password, and changing permissions on critical files amongst other things.
2. Strong passwords
Brute-force attacks account for a whopping 18% of all hacking attacks. Using weak login credentials is same as handing the key of your house to a burglar.
- Use tools to check the strength of your passwords.
- It is suggested that you change passwords regularly to minimize the risk.
- Use two-factor authentication for better security
- Use strong passwords for the database, as well.
- Up to date plugins
Most hackers gain access to the website through insecure, poorly coded plugins. Plugins drastically increase the potential gateways for cyberattacks so while designing your store pay more attention to quality than quantity.
As a store owner, you constantly find yourself making a trade-off between security and finance.
In such circumstances, it is easy to be lured by free goodies (plugins, in this case) Please note that free plugins are not always developed with security in mind. Against popular opinion, you should always go for the paid alternative because such plugins have a team of well-paid security experts to ensure that the plugin is safe and free from vulnerabilities.
The security teams constantly release security patches. So, keep your plugins updated and remove any plugin that is not updated regularly for better WooCommerce security.
3. Use security plugins
Astra’s WordPress Security plugin is the most efficient security plugin available at low price. It offers immediate WordPress Malware Cleanup, Web Application Firewall, WordPress Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing.
Check out the Astra Security review on Trustpilot.
4. Disable file editing
Another measure to improve security is to disable file editing through WordPress admin. In this case, even if a hacker gains access to your WordPress admin he would not be able to edit files. You can easily disable the edit files option for all users by adding the following line of code to your wp-config.php file.
define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
5. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackback features are rarely used in WooCommerce stores so it is suggested that you disable them because they might carry out low-level DDoS attacks and send spam to your website. To disable this feature, add the following lines to the .htaccess file:
# START XML RPC BLOCKING
Deny from all
# FINISH XML RPC BLOCKING
6. Change Database Table Prefix
You can improve your site’s security by changing the default table prefix “wp_” to something completely random and unique. Learn how to change WordPress database prefix here
7. Get SSL certificate
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is used to secure connections between two machines on the internet. It is a must-have for all WooCommerce stores. Customers see it as a sign of trustworthiness and expect to see the padlock in the address bar when browsing, buying, and entering their account and payment details.
8. Secure connection
The biggest mistake that store owners make is that their focus majorly lies in the aesthetic and functional aspects of the online store while security takes a backseat. Once the e-commerce website goes live, the focus shifts to providing great content instead of WordPress and WooCommerce security.
To sum up, WooCommerce is all in all secure, but your website is not. There are necessary security measures that need to be ensured on your website to protect it from coming attacks.
This is a contributed post by Ankit Pahuja. Ankit is a Security Evangelist and Growth Hacker at Astra Web Security.