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WordPress Brute-Force Attacks and How to Prevent Them

Updated on: July 27, 2021

WordPress Brute-Force Attacks and How to Prevent Them

If you are concerned about your WordPress website getting bombarded with brute-force attack attempts, your concern is well-placed.

Brute force attacks are currently one of the most common forms of hacking. According to the Data Breach Investigations Report in 2020 by Verizon, the brute-force method was involved in over 80% of the attacks in one way or another.

In a WordPress brute-force attack, hackers utilize the trial and error method to break into the security system of your website. Once they are in, they can take over the entire execution and data of your website. They can use your WordPress website to execute malicious activities, hack other websites, deface your site, steal data from your customers, and so on. Hackers can also use your website as a buffer to send spam links to take down other servers. This doesn’t end here. The problems will only skyrocket if you do not tend to it.

Related Guide – Comprehensive Guide to WordPress Security

Once a search engine finds your website to be hacked, it will blacklist your website. It is also possible that your hosting provider will suspend your website as well. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, you may also lose valuable customers and visitors.

The horror of Brute-force attacks are many. But, so are measures to thwart it.

We have compiled a list of steps that you can take to ensure WordPress brute-force protection on your website. These steps will block any brute attempts of hackers on your website, and eventually, they will be forced to move to a less secured target.


Related Guide – WordPress Malware Removal

What is a WordPress brute-force attack?

In short, a brute-force attack is a trial of each and every possible combination of username and password to bypass the website admin login. These attacks are called brute-force because they use extensively forceful methods to break in. Unlike other attacks, they don’t rely on the weaknesses or vulnerabilities of the website. Instead, they prey on easy passwords, unlimited login attempts, etc.

Like any other website, all WordPress websites have a login page where the admin can enter the username and password to gain access to the admin dashboard. And the default URL of the admin login page of a WordPress website looks like this: www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. It is quite easy for hackers to find your login page if you did not have your admin URL changed.

WordPress admin dashboard

Hackers use a database of the most used passwords to launch a brute-force attack with the help of bots and automated tools. The list of common passwords suggests that most of the users still use passwords like 1234, 123456, qwerty, etc. This makes it extremely easier for hackers to make a calculated guess.

Even if a hacker is unable to crack his/her way into your website, thousands of login attempts can crash the server of your website. This means using strong login credentials alone, can not protect your website from brute-force attacks.

Related Guide – WordPress Hack Removal

The section ahead will tell you how you can check WordPress brute-force attacks on your website.

Steps to protect your WordPress website against brute-force attacks

There are a number of security instructions that you can follow to thwart all WordPress brute-force attempts on your website. Some of the important security hacks are:

1. Use strong login credentials

A strong login credential does not only mean using a strong password. It means choosing a unique username as well. If your username is the default ‘admin’ or as simple as ‘your name’, it will not take long to figure it out. Correctly identifying one out of two fields on the login page is work half-done! The hacker just needs to bombard the page with so many passwords to hit the right one, eventually.

This is why try to use a unique username along with a strong password string. Use something that is not on your website and is not connected with you. For the password, use machine-generated passwords.

2. Hide WordPress login page

One of the best steps you can take to secure your website’s login area is to hide it. The default login URL of a WordPress website is /wp-login.php, /login, /wp-admin, /admin, etc.  It’s an easy guess. This makes it easier for hackers to open your login page. If your login page is hidden, hackers are likely not to dedicate time to try to figure out the location of your login page. Instead, they will move to their next target.

To hide the login page of your website, you can use the security hardening plugin of Astra. It will not take you more than 5 minutes to install, activate and change your admin URL with this plugin.

3. Two-factor Authentication

You must have come across two-factor authentication while web browsing. Websites such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, use two layers of security questions for user verification. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to a website’s login page. Combined with a username and password combination an extra security passcode will make it difficult for hackers to get inside your website.

You can use Google Authenticator to add the one-time passcode verification to your login page.

4. Limit login attempts

Another way to protect the login page from brute-force attacks is by limiting the number of login attempts made by an IP address to your website. Plugins such as Limit login attempts and Loginizer are mostly used for this purpose. You can also block the IP address if it exceeds a specified limit of login attempts for a short period of time.

5. Implement HTTP authentication

HTTP authentication is used to add another protection layer on a website’s login page. With HTTP authentication you can block unrecognized and unauthenticated access to your login page.

A sign-in box will appear when you will open the login page of your website with HTTP authentication. The login credentials of HTTP authentication completely differs from the regular login credentials.

You can add HTTP authentication to your website with the help of the plugin HTTP auth.

Wordpress security issues & prevention

Getting professional help!

Although the steps mentioned above can work wonders in protecting your WordPress website against brute-force attacks. We will always recommend you to take the help of a security expert. It is always better to get all the features from the same place than using distributed plugins for the same features. This is where we come in! Astra Security is a one-stop solution for all your problems. Be it brute-force attack, XSS, CSRF, SQLi, etc. With the ever-evolving AI of Astra security, you will never have to worry again about the security of your website.

For more details, chat with us using the chat widget.

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Aakanchha Keshri

Aakanchha is a technical writer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. She is an avid reader, researcher, and an active contributor to our blog and the cybersecurity genre in general. To date, she has written over 200 blogs for more than 60 domains on topics ranging from technical to promotional. When she is not writing or researching she revels in a game or two of CS: GO.
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