Despite ongoing efforts to replace password protection with more robust and reliable security solutions such as two-factor authentication or location-based access authorization, recent research finds that password authentication is still ubiquitous, although alternatives have been developed to address its shortcomings.
So why this lingering passion for passwords despite their potential problems? It's simple: familiarity and ease of use. The mechanism for protecting passwords is well known and easy to implement – and in many cases, more complex defenses can cause more problems than they solve.
Consider the use case of securing a WordPress website or blog. While website owners could invest significant time and effort in thorough security measures, this popular content management system (CMS) offers built-in password functions to protect websites from unwanted access and editing.
In this article, we're going to examine the pros and cons of password processes and provide an easy-to-understand framework for protecting WordPress pages and website passwords.
The advantages of password protection
Passwords are still the most common form of digital security as they offer a low barrier to entry. If you know the password you have been granted access to, if you don't, you'll be rejected.
They can also be easily combined with other security solutions to improve overall defense. For example, the current generation of smartphones often use biometric technologies such as fingerprint or face recognition sensors as well as password-based security.
And while passwords often get a bad rap for regular compromise, much of this problem stems from poor password choices. If users choose their preferred passwords carefully, do not use them across websites, and apply a periodic password change policy, the digital risk can be greatly reduced.
Avoiding password pitfalls
Passwords are imperfect and potentially attractive to an attacker who wishes to use minimal malicious effort. In truth, however, the greatest risk comes not from external factors, but from internal factors – users inadvertently encountering three common pitfalls:
1. Bad password choice
Nobody wants to forget their password. Hence, it is tempting to choose something that is simple and easy to remember – but this can quickly get out of hand. Note that in 2019 the three most common passwords were "12345", "123456", "123456789". These are easy for users to remember, but also easy for attackers to guess.
2. Defensive duplication
The average user now has between 70 and 80 passwords. It is therefore not surprising that password reuse and duplication is a common occurrence. The problem? If attackers compromised an account or website with a duplicate password, they could be at risk for dozens or more.
3. Static Security Practices
The sheer number of passwords required to navigate digital-first landscapes often makes users reluctant to change credentials. Many also use physical media, such as sticky notes, to help them remember certain site or account passwords. In either case, the presence of passwords that are not updated regularly creates a potential security issue.
How to protect a WordPress site with a password
When you create a WordPress site, you are likely to be constantly creating and evaluating new content to see which pages are driving the greatest increases in user traffic and search engine optimization.
So it's important to protect these posts to ensure that unauthorized users cannot view, edit, or delete data before they're ready to post pages or make important changes.
But how do you protect a page with a password? Thankfully, WordPress makes it easy with a quick and painless built-in tool.
Follow these six steps to quickly password protect a single page or post:
- Log into your WordPress account
- Go to Posts and then All Posts
- On a specific page or post, click Edit
- In the "Publish" menu, change the visibility to "Password Protected"
- Enter a password
- Publish your newly protected page
1. Log into your WordPress account.
Make sure you log in as an administrator, otherwise you won't be able to make changes to the visibility or security of posts.
2. Go to "Posts" and then to "All Posts".
From your dashboard, click Posts, then click All Posts to select the page or post you want.
3. On a specific page or post, click Edit.
Password protection is implemented per post. You must therefore increase the security of individual pages if necessary.
4. In the Publish menu, change the visibility to "Password Protected".
By default, WordPress sites are set to "Public" so anyone can view them. Private pages can only be accessed by certain administrators and editors, and Password Protected offers the highest level of security.
5. Enter a password.
Choose your password. As stated on the official WordPress site, the maximum length is 20 characters.
6. Publish your newly protected page
For changes made to take effect, you must click the Publish button for unpublished pages or posts or the Update button for content that has already been published.
How to Password Protect a WordPress Site
If you are looking for even more protection, you can password protect your entire WordPress site. This is often a good idea if your website isn't up and running, or you're in the middle of in-depth page and post development.
The restriction? WordPress doesn't offer this feature out of the box, meaning you have two options: plugins and HTTP authentication. Let's examine each area in more detail.
There are a variety of free and paid WordPress plugins that can be used to password protect your entire website. Although the details differ from plug-in to plug-in, the basics are the same: you choose a password for your site and specify exceptions, such as: B. Visitors from certain IP addresses, and then apply the changes. When users visit your website, they will see a WordPress login screen that requires a valid password to access.
This type of password protection takes place at the web hosting level. Many web hosting providers now offer one-click HTTP authentication for your website, no matter what CMS you're running. Just like with plugin-based password protection, you choose a password for your site along with exceptions. Unlike plugin solutions, visitors don't even see a WordPress logo when they arrive. All they see is a text box asking them to log in.
Keep it a secret, keep it safe
Despite possible pitfalls, passwords offer significant protection advantages. As long as users avoid common combinations of letters and numbers, avoid duplicating these protections and regularly update credentials.
For WordPress website owners and administrators, judicious use of passwords provides peace of mind by restricting access to reduce potential security risks.