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WordPress Security Updates

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Are you unsure how to securely enforce security changes on your WordPress website?

The importance of security updates cannot be overstated. Your website could be compromised if you wait too long to introduce updates. However, changes can often trigger compatibility problems, which can cause your website to crash.

It’s a no-win scenario.

Fortunately, there is a way to update the website without causing it to crash. All you have to do now is test the changes on a staging site before implementing them on the live site.

We’ll walk you through every step of the process of updating your website safely in this post.

TL;DR version

Use the BlogVault Backup & Staging Plugin to upgrade your website safely. It will duplicate your live site (called a staging site). You can try out WordPress, theme, and plugin updates on the staging site without impacting your live site. You can merge the changes from staging to your live site until you’re confident that everything is working properly.

What Are Security Updates? Why Are They Important?

Updates are new versions of software that replace the previous edition. WordPress, its templates, and plugins, like every other programme, are updated on a regular basis.

Security patches, bug fixes, new functionality, reliability improvements, and performance updates are the five forms of updates.

All updates are beneficial to your site, but security updates are the most crucial.

This is because, no matter how well-built a piece of software is, it eventually develops flaws that can be exploited to hack a website. When the software’s developers become aware of the flaw, they immediately repair it and issue a patch that informs users of a security update.

If site owners ignore plugin, theme, or WordPress core updates, hackers would be able to exploit the vulnerability. As a result, it’s important to keep the website up to date.

To comprehend the significance of WordPress security updates, you must first address the most popular WordPress vulnerabilities that affect WordPress websites.

Common WordPress Vulnerabilities:

The following are the most popular WordPress flaws:

i. SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

There are input fields on every WordPress website, such as a contact form, a comment section, a search, and so on. Plugins are often used to activate these fields. When a visitor fills out these areas, the information is saved in the website’s database. The input fields ensure that data is checked and sanitised before being sent to the database, which helps to keep the database secure.

A contact form, for example, should accept a name, phone number, and email address. It becomes vulnerable to SQL injections if it is not configured properly to sanitise the data entered by visitors.

This means that a hacker can impersonate a visitor and inject malicious code into the database. To steal information from the database and gain access to your website, the hacker will run the following code.

ii. Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerabilities

Plugins, like SQL injections, can trigger cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. Hackers may use this vulnerability to take control of your site, but they can also use it to steal information from your guests.

Assume that a hacker exploits a cross-site scripting flaw in the comment plugin to inject a malicious connection on your site. When a tourist, unaware of the link’s malicious intent, clicks on it, the link asks for permission to access the visitor’s browser cookies.

It may appear to the visitor that the website is requesting permission. They’ll almost certainly fall for the ruse and grant access to their browser cookies. Cookies store sensitive data such as login credentials, e-banking credentials, and so on.

iii. Pharma Hack Exploits

The vulnerabilities used in pharma hacks are used to market or encourage illicit drugs.

Hackers gain access to your site by exploiting a flaw in a plugin, theme, or the centre of your site. Then they go to the most popular sites and insert ads for illicit drugs like viagra, cialis, and levitra.

Your pages will soon begin to rank for illicit pharmaceutical products.

Visitors to your site will be routed to the hacker’s site if they click on the advertising.

Pharma hackers sabotage the SEO efforts and scare tourists away.

iv. Backdoor Exploits

Backdoors are a form of website entry point that is secret. Plugins and themes that have been pirated are commonly found with it.

Since they cannot afford the original edition, many website owners use pirated software. However, pirated software often includes a backdoor. This means that when you instal the programme on your site, it gives hackers a way in.

v. Phishing Exploits

Phishing exploits are used by hackers to gain access to your website and send spam emails. The emails’ aim is to trick people into sharing personal information such as credit card or banking credentials.

Strong anti-phishing steps are in effect in email services. They will blacklist your WordPress site if they discover that it is sending spam emails.

The following are the most popular WordPress flaws. You must have found a common thread running through them! They’re the result of security flaws in the programme you’ve built on your site.

This emphasises the importance of applying security updates as soon as they are accessible.

However, we recognise that notifications come in frequently, making it difficult to keep track. We’ll show you how to stay on top of your updates in the next segment.

The following are the most popular WordPress flaws. You must have found a common thread running through them! They’re the result of security flaws in the programme you’ve built on your site.

This emphasises the importance of applying security updates as soon as they are accessible.

However, we recognise that notifications come in frequently, making it difficult to keep track. We’ll show you how to stay on top of your updates in the next segment.

How to Check for WordPress Security Updates?

You can search for security updates in two ways:

  • Check manually from WordPress dashboard (ideal for a single site)
  • Check using a site management plugin (ideal for multiple sites)

Check Manually From WordPress Dashboard

WordPress websites that are manually updated are better suited for single-site operators. Everything you have to do now is:

  • Sign in to your account on your website.
  • Go to dashboard > notifications from the menu.
  • All obsolete software (core, plugin, and theme) is mentioned on the Updates tab, along with information about the new edition.
  • If the update includes security fixes for WordPress, it will be noted in the version info. Developers often roll out several types of changes in a single update, as shown by the version info. For example, we recently updated a plugin and discovered that the update would correct both bugs and compatibility issues.
  • Updates bring new features as well as security fixes from time to time. This can be a little challenging. Even if you don’t want the new features, you’ll need to upgrade WordPress to prevent it from being vulnerable.

Check Using a Site Management Plugin

  • It’s difficult enough to keep track of updates on a single website. It’s a nightmare to keep track of updates on various websites.
  • A plugin like BlogVault, on the other hand, allows you to track notifications for multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard.
  • Create a BlogVault account and add your websites to the dashboard.
  • You’ll see how many plugins and themes are pending on each platform right away.
  • Pick the website and then press Manage to learn more about the updates.
  • Then, to see the update information, simply click on the new versions.

That concludes our discussion of how to search for updates. Let’s look at how to securely apply security updates now.

How to Update WordPress Security in a Safe Way

There are two methods for installing security updates. These are the ones:

  • Updating on the staging site (safe)
  • Updating directly from the dashboard (unsafe)

Directly updating from the website dashboard has been known to destroy websites. Fixing and attempting to restore a damaged website is a time-consuming and challenging task. As a result, we will refrain from doing so and instead concentrate on the safer option.

1. Updating on the Staging Site

Step 1: Create a WordPress Staging Site

A staging site is a carbon copy of your live site.

Updates, as previously mentioned, will cause your websites to crash. You will test the updates in a staging environment before deploying them to your live site.

There are numerous plugins available to assist you in setting up a staging area. Our BlogVault plugin provides a free WordPress staging environment that is simple to set up.

Assuming you’ve already signed up for BlogVault and added your websites to your dashboard, follow these steps:

  • To add staging, go to the Staging section and press the Add Staging button.
  • BlogVault will prompt you to choose your backup and PHP version.
  • Creating a staging site would only take a few minutes. You can start testing updates once it’s ready.

Step 2: Test Updates on Staging Site

You’ll need to log into the staging site you just built to test updates. The staging site’s URL should be something like https://yoursite.d.wpstage.net/.

You can use your standard user credentials to access your staging site. However, you’ll find that the staging URL is password protected when you open it. It has a password to keep your staging site private and out of the reach of the general public and search engines.

Return to the BlogVault dashboard and select the Staging section to retrieve your username and password. You will use it to get to your staging place.

  • To access your staging site’s login page, add /wp-admin/ to the end of the staging URL, such as https://yoursite.d.wpstage.net/wp-admin/.
  • To access the WordPress dashboard, log in with your standard user credentials.
  • Go to dashboard > notifications to apply updates.
  • You’ll find all of the obsolete software, as well as information about the latest edition, on the Updates tab.
  • To apply updates, simply pick the plugins, themes, or core and then click the Update button.
  • You should test the website after you’ve made the changes and see if it’s working properly. We recommend that you go over all of the relevant pages and functions. This includes your home page, journals, cart sites, and checkout pages, among other things.

We’ll move on to the next level when you’re ready.

Step 3: Make a live site update

If the updates did not have any negative effects on your site, you can make the same changes on the live site.

You won’t have to log back into your live site to make the changes. You can easily combine the staging and live sites.

  • Go to the Staging section of the BlogVault dashboard and press Merge.
  • BlogVault will begin synchronising the live and staging sites. Finally, it will create a page that displays the variations between the staging and live sites. It is not necessary to integrate the entire website. Simply click
  • Next after selecting the plugins, themes, and centre that you just reviewed.
  • Then, using your FTP credentials, merge your staging site with the live one.

Note: If you don’t know your FTP credentials, you can figure them out by watching these videos or contacting your WordPress hosts and hosting platforms.

We’ve now reached the conclusion of our discussion about how to safely execute changes.

So, what’s next?

Software updates, as previously stated, will fix any bugs and assist in keeping your site safe from hackers and bots. However, programme flaws aren’t the only danger that a WordPress platform faces. Other bugs can be used by a hacker to gain access to your website. Consider the case of user credentials that aren’t up to par.

We recommend using a WordPress security plugin like MalCare to protect your website from all types of vulnerabilities and hack attacks (like DDoS attacks, brute force attacks, and so on).

The plugin would use a firewall to secure your site and use login security steps to restrict login attempts. It will assist you in putting site hardening measures in place. Also, make it a habit to check your website on a regular basis. If any malicious activities are discovered, you will be notified immediately.