How To Enhance WordPress Security With Two-Factor Authentication

You should indeed invest in the security of your WordPress website. Websites are prone to security threats. Taking precautionary measures, tightening security, and regular maintenance go a long way in keeping your WordPress website secure. In this article, we will explain how you can enhance the security of your WordPress website with two-factor authentication.

What is Two-factor authentication?

First, let’s understand what authentication is for a website. Whenever you enter the user name and password on any website, the website checks the username and password combination. If it matches, you get access to the website. The same thing happens when you try to log in to your WordPress website. Since your user name and password is the only way for your website to authenticate your unique identity, this form of authentication is called one-factor authentication, the factor being the username-password combination.

With two-factor authentication, another layer of authentication is added. In this method, you need to input a six-digit number sent to your device whenever you try to log in to your website. Since this code is only available on your device for a short period of time, it is difficult for hackers to impersonate you. This is the second layer of authentication that ensures that it is really you who is trying to log in to your WordPress website.

Two-factor authentication is an advanced measure of authentication that goes beyond traditional username-password combination. Passwords can be guessed, broken into with brute force attacks. Relying on just password authentication is not secure. You should add the extra layer of security to your login page with two-factor authentication.

The Pros of Two-Factor Authentication

The critical feature of two-factor authentication is that you get the six-digit code to your personal device. This means that even if someone tries to hack into your website, the attacker will have to gain access to your personal device.

With two-factor authentication, guessing the password is no longer enough. This comes in handy when your password is compromised. The extra step of entering the authentication code adds an extra layer of security so that you can be perfectly sure of your login attempts. This also ensures that you are less prone to online frauds when your WordPress website is concerned.

Another interesting benefit of two-factor authentication is that it reduces the sharing of user accounts. Even if users exchange their usernames and passwords, they will still need to enter individual credentials unique to their device.

The Cons of Two-factor Authentication

Everything has pros and cons. Two-factor authentication is no exception. The first disadvantage of two-factor authentication is that there is no guarantee that your factor of authentication will be available to when you need it. If anything happens to your smartphone (down because of low battery, damaged by water, or malfunctioning in any way) and you are not able to get the code, logging in to your website will be very difficult.

Access to your smartphone cannot always be ensured. It may get stolen or become inaccessible due to myriad reasons. With this loss, you also lose access to your second authentication layer. It becomes difficult to regain access to your WordPress website. For such cases, we recommend using a WordPress security and maintenance service that can take care of WordPress security.

With both the pros and cons in mind, let’s see how you can add two-factor authentication to your WordPress website.

Step 1: Get Authenticator App for Your Device

There are many services that offer authentication, e.g. Google Authenticator, Authy, LastPass Authenticator, etc. You can use any of them.

Here for demonstration purposes, we will explain how to use Google Authenticator.

Just head over to Play Store (Android) or Apple Store (iOS)  from your mobile device and install Google Authenticator.

Step 2: Install a Two-Factor Authenticator Plugin on your WordPress site

There are a couple of two-factor authentication plugins available for free.

Here are a few popular plugins:

  1. Two Factor
  2. Google Authenticator – WordPress Two Factor Authentication
  3. Wordfence Login Security
  4. Two Factor Authentication by Updraft

Steps to enable two-factor authentication are very similar for each of these plugins.

Let’s illustrate with the ‘Two Factor’ plugin.

Step 3: Configure The Plugin

Download and install the plugin.

Go to Users>>Profile, and find the ‘Two-Factor Options’ tab.

From here, you can configure multiple authentication options, such as:

  • Email codes
  • Time-Based One-Time Passwords (TOTP)
  • FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F)
  • Backup Codes

Once enabled, you will get a notification to enter verification code from your device next time you try to log in to your website.

Every app listed above shows a similar screen where the plugin asks you to enter the verification code. With your verification code, you can securely log in to your WordPress website.

That’s it! Your WordPress website is now ready with two-factor authentication. Also, make sure that you use a secure WordPress host to ensure safety from all types of security threats.

If you enjoy this extra layer of security, do share your experience with us. Have any questions? Please reach out; we are here to help.