Security Blog
Security Blog
Posted By Gregory

Hardening WordPress with WP Cerber


It’s very important to have WordPress protected and it’s easy to do this by using built-in WP Cerber security features. All suggested settings are mandatory for most websites on the Internet. If you need, in some custom case, these function being accessible from some host or an IP network you can easily add IP or that network to the White IP Access List.

Disable REST API

Block access to the WordPress REST API. The ability to send invisible requests to the core of your WordPress makes hackers even happier than the ability to hack websites using XML-RPC. If you don’t use WordPress REST API disable it!

Why it’s important to restrict access to the WordPress REST API

Disable XML-RPC

Block access to the XML-RPC server including Pingbacks and Trackbacks. Do you know that hackers are using this hidden entrance to find out logins stealthily? Do you have a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA on the login form to protect from the bots? Don’t be silly, modern bots use XML-RPC and WP REST API to brute-force your WordPress and you don’t even know how and when they are doing that because any CAPTCHA is not working for XML-RPC requests. Nowadays XML-RPC makes hackers happy and they love it a lot. After activating this setting your website will return 404 Page Not Found.

Stop user enumeration

This blocks access to the author pages like /?author=N where N is a random number. Intruders and hackers can easily find out all logins of all the users on your website just scanning numbers from 1 to any number they want. This behavior is enabled in the WordPress by design and hackers around the world love it. After activating this setting your website will return 404 Page Not Found.

Disable feeds

Block access to the RSS, Atom and RDF feeds. That does not allow hackers to find out what kind of software is installed on your website and collect additional helpful information to adjust further attacks to your WordPress. After activating this setting your website will return 404 Page Not Found.

Note: All these settings above do not affect hosts from the White IP Access List and you can easily allow, for instance, publishing posts via XML-RPC for your IP address just adding it to the White IP Access List.

If you have a root access to your web server I also recommend using those tips: Hardening WordPress with WP Cerber and NGINX

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I’m a self-employed developer who builds software products and services using WordPress for more that seven years. I enjoy partnering with others for interesting and challenging projects. If you’re interested in, feel free to contact me.

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