If you don’t add an extra layer of security to your WordPress login page, your website could be more vulnerable to hacks and data leaks. Even if you and your users are creating strong passwords, this may not provide enough protection against brute force attacks.
By implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), you can easily improve the security of your website. This will give your users multiple ways to verify identity, preventing any unwanted entry. Ultimately, 2FA can increase security, accountability, and compliance for WordPress websites.
In this post, we’ll explain what two-factor authentication is. Then, we’ll show you the benefits of WordPress 2FA and how you can implement it on your site. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
When you log into WordPress, you’ll use a personalized username and password. If this information is compromised, it could leave your website vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data leaks. Even worse, each user that you add to your site increases this risk. This is where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in.
Two-factor authentication is a security technique that implements two different authentication factors during the login process. This adds another layer of security, making it harder for attackers to access your website while giving legitimate users easy entry.
A common example of 2FA is using security questions to sign into a sensitive account. Instead of simply entering a password, you can give answers that only you would know, preventing unauthorized access.
In WordPress, you can require all users to enter a password and a one-time passcode to enter your website. Although passwords are guessable, passcodes are not. That’s because users receive these one-time codes via their preferred method (which is already safely stored in the database and can’t be changed during login).
Plus, it will only be valid for a certain amount of time. This second form of authentication will make it much harder for unauthorized users to access your website.
The Benefits of Using 2FA for WordPress Websites
Now that you’re familiar with two-factor authentication, let’s discuss why you should consider implementing it!
1. Secure Your WordPress Login Page
As a website owner, it’s important to have a strong password. If you choose a simple, easily guessable password like ‘123456’, it makes it easier to break into your website.
However, no matter how complex your password is, it can eventually be guessed, hacked, or leaked. You can use two-factor authentication to prevent these unauthorized logins.
When using 2FA, every login will require both a password and a one-time passcode sent to a trusted device. Even if your password is guessed, an intruder will not be able to get the authentication code needed to log in:
Even better, you can require 2FA for all users on your WordPress website. This way, your security risk doesn’t skyrocket the more your site grows. When a registered user who has set up 2FA tries to log in, a one-time passcode will be sent to their phone or email.
2. Boost User Accountability
As your website grows, you may need to add additional users. This will enable developers, marketers, or other necessary team members to sign in to your WordPress dashboard.
To keep your site as secure as possible, you’ll want to limit every role (and its associated permissions) on your website to trusted users:
However, you won’t know if a user shares their login password with someone else. With increased password sharing, your login information could be exposed to someone who wants to steal your data or hijack your website. Without 2FA, these malicious actors can more easily log in to your WordPress dashboard and change or share site data without permission.
Two-factor authentication makes it harder to share passwords. Even if unwanted users have the right password, they won’t receive the 2FA passcode that’s only sent to a trusted device.
Since your users will likely be working on the go, they may also be using unsecured network connections. This can increase the risk of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, which can lead to password theft. Using 2FA, you can make sure all logins are authorized users, no matter where they’re coming from.
3. Comply With Legal Web Requirements
When managing a website, it’s important to make sure that it meets the necessary legal requirements. This way, you can increase trust between you and your visitors while avoiding any fines.
Using two-factor authentication helps you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a European law that ensures users have the right to control how their data is collected:
In a report by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), GDPR compliance should involve 2FA for any system that processes personal data. Essentially, you should implement 2FA on your website to protect your audience’s data and prevent leaks.
Two-factor authentication can also help you meet the Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Simply put, this ensures that companies maintain a high level of security when dealing with payment information. Although this isn’t a law, non-compliance can be met with fines or expensive audits.
The PCI DSS requires eCommerce websites to implement multi-factor authentication. When using at least two authentication factors, you’re meeting one of the compliance requirements of this standard.
4. Reduce Helpdesk Support
If a password is forgotten, the user may struggle to gain access to your website again. To help reset the password, visitors will likely turn to your IT team for support. This can be an easy and efficient way to solve login problems.
However, password reset requests are the main workload for helpdesks. In a report by Forrester, they found that it can cost $70 for every reset password. The report also found that help desks can spend up to $1 million every year on the necessary staffing and infrastructure.
Plus, users may have a long waiting period while working with IT support. Ultimately, this can create a negative user experience (UX).
With two-factor authentication, your users can be less dependent on your IT helpdesk and resolve their login issues faster. Whenever they need to access their accounts, they’ll be able to use the helpful 2FA backup codes.
How to Implement 2FA in WordPress
Two-factor authentication can be a simple but effective way to boost the security of your website. To implement it on a WordPress website, you can simply install a 2FA plugin.
For instance, WP 2FA is a beginner-friendly WordPress 2FA plugin that can enable you to customize your login methods to your exact needs:
After you activate WP 2FA, you can use the setup wizard to enable two-factor authentication. Using the free version, you’re able to choose between two primary 2FA methods, but WP 2FA premium supports up to eight different 2FA verification channels:
Next, you can select users or roles that need to use 2FA. You can also exclude specific users if needed:
To fully secure your website, you can require that users configure 2FA right away. However, you can also implement a grace period:
Finally, you’ll need to finish setting up your 2FA method. This will involve installing an app like Google Authenticator or sending a one-time code to your email. After this, you’ll have a hacker-proof login page!
Two-factor authentication can be the key to maximizing WordPress login security. Luckily, you can easily enable these one-time login passcodes with a plugin. Thanks to these codes, your website won’t be compromised even if your users’ passwords are hacked.
To review, here are the main benefits of 2FA in WordPress:
- Secure your WordPress login page.
- Boost user accountability.
- Comply with legal web requirements.
- Reduce helpdesk support.
Do you have any questions about whether you should implement 2FA on your website? Ask us in the comments section below!