Have you heard of WordPress salts and security keys? If not, or you have but want to learn more about it, you stumbled across the right article. If you use WordPress to create and manage your websites, then you must have observed that once you log in to your WordPress, you don’t need to type in the credentials all over again every time you attempt to login to your WordPress. WordPress stores the login credentials in its cookies and auto-fill the login query fields for every login attempt.
Okay, I know what you are thinking, “WordPress is amazing.” Typing out those lengthy random characters( we know it’s a safe practice to use unpredictable passwords) is not very exhilarating. However, every time you log in, though WordPress simplified the task of filling the login query fields, at the back of your mind, you might be worried about your website’s security. Your instincts are right; the passwords stored in the cookies are not secure. It’s time that WordPress salts step in now.
WordPress Salts And Security keys
We learned that the passwords stored in the WordPress cookies are not as safe as we want them to be, and hackers can steal them. A hacker can access your website login details from the cookies and use them to gain unauthorized access to your website. Once he manages to do that, he can steal confidential information, spam your user’s emails by adding phishing pages to your website, and more.
However, to prevent this from happening, WordPress provides unique authentication salts and keys to its users. WordPress salts and security keys are random sequences of characters that encrypt your passwords, so even if a hacker manages to steal them, he cannot read or use them. More precisely, WordPress salts are a high-end protection method that safely secures your website passwords. Now, this brings another question, is it impossible for an attacker to hack WordPress salts?
Unfortunately, yes, he can steal WordPress salts and keys and get his hands on the passwords. Hence, it is crucial to change WordPress salts and keys frequently. Often changing the WordPress salts and keys will help strengthen the security of your website login and make it difficult for hackers to access the passwords.
How To Change WordPress Salts And Security Keys?
We know the importance of changing WordPress salts and security keys, but how do we change them? There are two ways to change them: security plugins and manual way.
There are many security plugins available on WordPress that assist you in changing WordPress salts and security keys. One such security plugin is Salt Shaker; it is free of cost and easy to use. It has a feature that automatically changes the salts concerning the specified settings.
The automated change can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually depending on your preference. If you wish to make the changes now, click on the “change now” option for immediate action. However, every time WordPress salts are changed, the users will be required to log in again.
Caution: This method needs you to make changes in a crucial WordPress file called the wp-config file. Any missteps will damage your website’s functioning.
It is better and risk-free to use a plugin, but if you need to use a manual method, back up your website just in case things go wrong.
Follow these steps to change your WordPress salts and security keys manually:
- Visit the WordPress salt generator using the link: https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/
2. Now go to your hosting account and select cPanel. Now, select the file manager option.
3. Look for the wp-config.php file in the public_html folder.
4. Choose the edit option for wp-config.php by right-clicking on it. Replace the existing WordPress salts and security keys with the new ones you generated from the above link.
Make sure that you do not change anything else other than the WordPress salts and security keys.
WordPress security is an ever-lasting topic, and we can discuss the security threats forever but, we don’t have forever to secure our WordPress. Hence, you need to use WordPress security plugins like the Hide My WP plugin that assist you in protecting your website from hackers.
How Can Hide My WP Help You?
The Hide My WP security plugin provides WordPress security in the following ways:
- It lets you hide or rename the themes and plugins folders.
- It can hide your WordPress.
- It helps you change WordPress permalinks.
- It will help you hide the login page of your website to prevent brute-force attacks. This feature will help you set up a login query and login key.
- It has a firewall that can block attacks like SQL, XSS, CSRF, read arbitrary files, and brute force attacks.
- It informs the user about:
- Value (How they hack you?)
- Page (Which plugin did they use?)
- Impact (How dangerous is that?)
- IP/ users (Where are they from?)
- It will assist in hiding or renaming WP-admins.
- It will disable direct access to PHP files and directory listing.
- It will let you minify HTML and CSS.
- It will allow you to change anything in your source code.
- It has anti-spam included.
Summing It Up
- WordPress provides its users with WordPress salts and security keys to encrypt the login details. Doing this will prevent the hacker from gaining access to them.
- Though WordPress salts are helpful for password protection, an attacker can still hack the security keys and decrypt the passwords to your website. To prevent this, we often need to change the WordPress salts and security keys.
- We can change the WordPress salts by either using many security plugins available on WordPress or manually editing the wp-config.php files and replacing the old WordPress salts with new ones.
- WordPress security always takes the first spot in website priorities, and users always try to find the best ways to secure their websites. One way for website protection is by using WordPress security plugins like the Hide My WP.
Also Read: What Is A Spear-Phishing Attack?