7 Serious WordPress Vulnerabilities : How to Fight Them and Win

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Steve

WordPress is pretty secure, at least the core any ways. The company behind WordPress Automattic also takes security seriously. They have a security team of over 50 experts on board which include lead developers and security researchers who are working behind the scenes to ensure that WordPress is secure. In fact, most of the security incidents and risks are the result of human error paired with the presence of a security vulnerability.

WordPress vulnerabilities you need to be aware of:

  • Outdated WordPress files
  • Backdoor exploits
  • Pharma hacks
  • Weak passwords
  • Malicious redirects
  • Vulnerabilities in the hosting platform
  • Denial of service attacks

I will now go over each one in detail:

WordPress Files That Are Outdated

WordPress Vulnerabilities Floppy Disks 
Floppy Disks

Outdated WordPress files refer to the WordPress version, theme, and plugin files. They pose a security risk because they leave your site exposed to other vulnerabilities such as backdoor exploits and pharma hacks.

As such, you need to make sure that your WordPress installation is up to date as well as your theme and plugins. You should proactively apply updates as they are released because they not only come with new features but they also include various security and bug fixes.

Backdoor Exploits

WordPress Vulnerabilities Binary code screen
Binary Code, Password Security

When it comes to backdoor exploits, hackers will take advantage of the outdated WordPress files to gain access to your site. Aside from outdated files, they can also gain access to your site through SFTP, FTP, and similar.

Once they have access to your site, they will infect your site and can also infect other sites that are on the same server as your site. Backdoor injections look like regular WordPress files to the inexperienced user. But behind the scenes, they take advantage of bugs in the outdated files to access your database and wreak havoc on your site as well as thousands of other websites.

Pharma Hacks

WordPress Vulnerabilities Outdated Files
Businessman Checking a File and Piles Of Paperwork

Pharma hacks refer to exploits of vulnerabilities in outdated WordPress files where a hacker inserts code into those files. Once the code is inserted, the search engines display ads for pharmaceutical products instead of your website. This can result in search engines marking your website as spam.

Weak Passwords

WordPress Vulnerabilities Password
Password, Computer Security

Weak passwords might be easy to remember but they also make it easy for hackers to gain access to your site through a brute force attack. A brute force attack happens when a hacker uses automated scripts that run in the background to attempt various username and password combinations until they find a working combination.

Malicious Redirects

WordPress Vulnerabilities Malicious Redirects
Malicious Redirects

Similarly to using outdated files and FTP or SFTP protocol to inject code that results in a pharma hack or a backdoor exploit, hackers will use the .htaccess file in your WordPress installation to redirect your visitors to a malicious website.

Your visitors can then end up with a virus or fall prey to phishing.

WordPress Vulnerabilities In The Web Host

WordPress Vulnerabilities Endangered Server Room
Endangered Server Room

Sometimes, your website’s security might be compromised because you’re using a hosting company that doesn’t have security features such as a firewall or file monitoring. This is usually the case with cheaper hosting providers which means that choosing a cheaper host will, ironically, cost you more if your site gets hacked.

Keep in mind that cheaper hosting platforms also pose a higher security risk because your site could get infected or hacked as a result of hackers exploiting vulnerabilities on another website that’s hosted on the same server.

Best WordPress Solutions takes security very seriously and all of our servers have multiple firewalls, antivirus, and malware software protection.

Denial of Service Attacks

WordPress Vulnerabilities Denial of Service Attacks
Denial of Service Attacks

Denial of Service attacks or DDOS attacks is one of the most dangerous threats for any website owner. In a DDOS attack, a hacker will exploit bugs and errors in code causing the memory of your site’s operating system to become overwhelmed. DDOS attacks will usually bring down a large number of sites that use a specific platform, such as WordPress.


WordPress is a powerful and popular CMS that makes it easy for anyone to create a website. But because it’s so popular, it’s also a favorite target for hackers. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your WordPress site.  If you follow the tips in our security article you’ll be well on your way to having the means to secure your site from these WordPress vulnerabilities. In case you already got hacked our post on fixing hacked WordPress sites can help you to remove the malware and get WordPress back up.


  • Steve

    I have been in the information technology field since I left the United States Army over twenty years ago. Skills and experience include a Bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems with a Specialization in Databases and a Master's in Computer Information Systems Management.

    I fell in love with WordPress over 10 years ago and spend most of my time designing, building and administering WordPress based sites. I am fluent in multiple programming languages including Python, PHP, SQL, Java and C#.

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