Are WordPress Forms Secure? The #1 Thing You Need to Watch
The WordPress CMS platform comprises of many form plugins for your business use. WPForms, Formidable Forms, Contact Form 7, Jetpack Form etc. are some of the best free form plugins of WordPress platform.
Though WordPress is an excellent open-source CMS, it has its own pitfalls too. Having your website on WordPress can make it more vulnerable to hackers, because WP covers a huge market across the globe, and thus is a big platform for hackers to steal data too. So it becomes crucial to use secured and up-to-date plugins for WP form security.
About WordPress Forms:
Have you ever imagined the usefulness of these WordPress forms?
Multiple forms serve multiple purposes and are proving to be an important part of your business site. These forms make data collection process easier.
WP form plugins enable you to design decent contact forms, booking forms, email subscriptions forms, registration forms and many more with a simple click. Hence it is advisable to secure these forms, and ensure that they are not left unprotected for cyber-criminals to fulfill their evil intentions.
If these forms are not properly secured, hackers are bound to find vulnerabilities in your site, forcing them to behave maliciously. They might send spam emails from your mail server or create fake blogs with spam links to break your site code. This indirectly affects Google rankings, damages your site’s functionality and breaks customer trust.
Sucuri Research graph shown below indicates that almost 94% of the clean-up requests are made by WordPress because it is the most affected CMS platform.
In this article, let us check out some of the best ways to secure your WordPress forms.
How to secure your WordPress Forms?
1. SSL Security:
SSL (Secured Socket Layers) provides encryption security to the data transmitted between browsers and your website server. This encryption of data is in a coded form which can be decrypted by the receiver only, thus keeping the communication between 2 parties secure.
SSL certificate is not installed by your host, so you need to buy an SSL certificate for your website; by applying to the Certificate Authority (Comodo, GeoTrust, Thawte etc.) for the same. Post application, the certificate is quickly issued (in a few minutes) and ready for installation. It is a simple process and you also get expert help in case of installation queries.
Example: Comodo Multi Domain Wildcard certificate not only secures multiple domains but also secures multiple sub-domains of your website on the multiple servers. You can install WP plugin like Really Simple SSL from the WP Plugin Directory too.
Post SSL certificate installation, visual indicators like green padlock in address bar and “HTTPS” in the URL are noticed, which are also called trust indicators. These indicators entice visitors to fill up and submit forms without any fear of data leakage to unknown sources.
SSL security is a boon for e-commerce industry where thousands of online transactions take place on a daily basis. In addition, e-commerce transactions, membership sites (where members information is stored) etc. all can be secured with SSL security. In short, it is essential that web forms are accessible on an encrypted platform, with Https websites which indicate genuinity and integrity.
2. Input Validation:
Customize your form fields so that the visitor enters valid data in your web forms.
Example: If the user needs to write his mobile number, the form field should accept only 10 numerical digits as an input data. If birth date needs to be written, make sure that the form fields are customized accordingly. Same goes for email id.
If proper customization is not done, than the risk of an unknown source submitting a rogue data in the website form is bound to increase. This will in turn not only affect the backend software, but also expose your site to more vulnerability.
Advanced Forms is one such WP plugin, having a lot of customization options for creating flexible customized form fields.
3. Password Protection:
Adding a password to the forms of your WordPress site will prevent data leakage, as well as unauthorised forms submissions from unknown sources, entering your network.
Example: You are expecting guest form submissions through Post submissions add on. If your form is password protected, you can prevent undesirable guest form submissions, and this in turn saves your time from reviewing and sorting the guest forms.
WPForms plugin is an excellent form creator plugin for WordPress sites.
Process for Password Protecting the WP form:
- Install WPForms Plugin and activate the same
- Create a new form in WordPress
- Customize it and add it to your website page
- From WP dashboard, access your form page location
- In WordPress Editor, go to the “Publish” box
- In the “Publish” box, click “Edit”, and select “Password Protected” option
- Then, in the Password boxes, enter your desired complex password and later click OK.
- Later click “Publish”
Now your desired sources with which you have shared your password can only access and submit the required form.
4. Enable CAPTCHA:
Bad bots lead to spam form submissions. They try to crawl on your site and try methods to send emails through non-secure forms. They cause damage to your site too. Adding CAPTCHA to your Contact form, blocks these spam forms from entering your network.
Why use CAPTCHA?
Blocks Spam: It verifies that the form is submitted by a human and not an automated spam form. It blocks automations and reduces spam forms.
Easy Process: Google keeps on improving technology making it easier for its users. CAPTCHA was initially difficult, but with the changing times, Google has made it quite simpler for users.
Rather than writing text, user just needs to point their mouse on the checkbox. The CAPTCHA tool instantly knows whether it is an automated junk bot or not.
In short, reCPATCHA not only prevents flooding of spam emails which lead to DOS attack on server, but also improves site performance and form load speed also.
Process for adding reCAPTCHA Checkbox to your form:
- Install WPForms Plugin and activate it
- Create a form in WP
- Configure reCPATCHA settings by going to WPForms > Settings.
- Later click “RECAPTCHA”
- Select Checkbox reCAPTCHAv2, as shown in the end of the above picture and add reCAPTCHA box to your form.
- Later click on “Admin Console” button at the top right corner of the page.
- Sign in your Google account and register your site for reCAPTCHA.
For knowing more detailed process of adding reCAPTCHA to your WordPress form, click here.
5. Use Dual Confirmation:
Dual confirmation of any web form, whether it is a subscription form or a contact form, is a good practice. It saves unknown visitors and blacklists spam forms, thus giving a good impression to your site visitors.
6. Download Reliable Plugins and Update them regularly:
Always download plugins from reliable sources and keep them up-to-date for web form security. A compromised plugin can lead to “back door” installation on your website which can further lead to installation of a hidden malicious code. This may cause a huge damage to your site.
Keep your plugins updated on a regular basis for tighter security.
As highlighted above, I have summarized some of the best practices which will help you to secure your WordPress forms in your website.
There are many spammers roaming in the internet market. You need to keep your site and web forms safe from them to improve visitor trust and increase your business.
Never relax on security measures, and ensure that your security is tight and up-to-date to deal with such malicious people. Best Wishes!!