In this tutorial, we walk through how to get started with iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security). We cover important first steps and how to navigate the iThemes Security dashboard.
iThemes Security gives you over 30 ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. On average, 30,000 new websites are hacked each day. WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks because of plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords and obsolete software. Most WordPress admins don’t even know they’re vulnerable, but iThemes Security works to fix common holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials.
Getting started with iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) takes only a few minutes.
Before You Get Started: Make a Backup
Before you get started securing and protecting your site, we highly recommend making a backup of your site (specifically your WordPress database, config file, and .htaccess file). iThemes Security gives you the option of creating a basic database backup after activation, but we recommend making a backup before installation as well.
A database backup includes your posts, pages, comments and user information — or everything included in your site’s database. For a complete backup of all your site’s files, we recommend using BackupBuddy, our WordPress backup plugin. BackupBuddy backs up your entire WordPress site’s installation — everything included in the database plus all your images and media files, themes and plugins. Once you have a backup of your site, you’re ready to get started.
Installation & Activation
Follow the standard automatic or manual WordPress plugin installation steps by installing iThemes Security either via the WordPress.org plugin directory or by uploading the files to your server.
Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress. After you activate iThemes Security, click the Secure Your Site Now button.
Important First Steps
iThemes Security will walk you through the important first steps.
Step 1: Back up up your site (again).
Again, we recommend making a backup of your site before getting started. iThemes Security will make a basic database backup of your site and automatically email you the backup file. Click the Make a backup button.
Step 2: Allow file updates.
Many of the functions of this plugin require editing some of your files, specifically your wp-config.php and .htaccess files. Click the Allow file updates button to allow iThemes Security to safely update these files automatically.
Step 3: Secure Your Site.
With the one-click secure button, you’ll enable all the default security settings recommended to secure your site. Click the One-Click Secure button.
Step 4: Help us Improve.
If you’d like to help us improve this plugin, click Yes, I’d like to help. This setting allows us to collect anonymous data about what features you use, so we can work to improve iThemes Security. Click Dismiss to close this box.
The iThemes Security Dashboard
After walking through the first important steps, you’ll be taken to the iThemes Security dashboard.
The Security Status section gives you a list of the remaining High, Medium and Low priority items that affect the security of your site. Click the Fix it button next to any item on the list to change the corresponding setting. We recommend completing — at the very least— the high priority items. Once these items have been fixed, they’ll be moved completed section.
The Settings Tab
The Settings Tab allows you to customize your security setup on a feature by feature basis. Use the drop-down at the top of this page to easily navigate between sections.
The Advanced Tab
The Advanced tab contains settings that are more advanced. These settings should be used with extra caution on an existing site. Again, make sure you have a good backup before changing any setting on this page. In addition, these settings will not be reversed if you remove this plugin.
The Backups Tab
The Backups tab allows you to create a database backup and adjust your backup settings. Click Adjust Backup Settings to customize how backups are handled on this site.
The Logs Tab
The Logs tab includes security logs of information collected by iThemes Security like file change 404 intrusions and invalid login attempts. This information can help you get a picture of what is happening with your site and the level of success you’ve achieved in your security efforts.
The Help Tab
If you need help, visit the Help tab. From here you can get access to support and pro features in iThemes Security Pro. If you need help securing your site, you can have a security expert secure it for you or get access to hack repair from one of our trusted partners.