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Why 2FA Is Important

Keeping your WordPress website secure is essential. Following best practices for protecting your content, data, and users will help you avoid huge losses in revenue and credibility with your audience.

While no single security measure can protect an entire site on its own, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a particularly effective strategy for deterring would-be hackers. By implementing this feature on your site, you can prevent costly attacks.

In this post, we’ll dive into what 2FA is and why it’s wise to put it to use on your WordPress site. Then we’ll share four steps for implementing it with Duo. Let’s get to it!

Why 2FA Is Important for WordPress Sites

There are many ways hackers may try to gain entry to your WordPress site. One of the most common is known as a ‘brute force’ attack. This involves using a program to repeatedly guess login credentials until a correct combination is found.

2FA can prevent hackers from gaining entry to your site using a brute force attack, even if they guess viable credentials. It does so by requiring a second factor to authenticate users’ identities (hence the name).

Whenever someone submits their login credentials, they’ll receive a secondary code they must input – usually by email or text. This means that, in addition to guessing a correct username and password combination, a hacker must also have access to the phone or email associated with that account in order to successfully log in.

With 2FA, you can slow down brute force attacks if not stop them in their tracks. By preventing hackers from entering your site, you can avoid data breaches, malware, and other serious repercussions.

How to Implement 2FA on Your WordPress Site With Duo

There are many tools available for adding 2FA to your WordPress site. We use and recommend Duo, a security platform that provides a wide range of secondary authentication methods:

The Duo Security homepage.

Duo makes it easy for end-users to verify their identities, reducing friction and minimizing the impact of 2FA on User Experience (UX). Here’s how to implement on your site in just four steps.

Step 1: Create a Duo Account

The first thing you’ll need is a Duo account. Plans start at $3 per user per month:

The Duo pricing options.

This will grant you access to all the features you need for a functional 2FA system. Upgrading to a Duo Access plan at $6 per user per month will enable you to run phishing simulations to discover security vulnerabilities as well.

If you’re worried about committing, you can also take advantage of Duo’s 30-day free trial. Alternatively, you can register up to ten users for free to test out their services before upgrading to a paid plan.

Step 2: Add an Application to Your Account

Once you have your Duo account set up, you’ll need to add a new application to it. In your Admin Panel, navigate to Applications and click on the Protect an Application button in the top right corner:

Adding a new application in Duo.

Then, search for WordPress in the available platforms and click on Protect this Application:

Selecting WordPress from the available Duo applications.

This will provide you with an Integration key, Secret key, and an API hostname. You’ll find them under Details in your new WordPress application page:

Retrieving the Integration key, Secret key, and API hostname for connecting WordPress and Duo.

Keep this information handy, as you’ll need it to connect your website to your account shortly.

Step 3: Install and Activate the Duo WordPress Plugin

Next, you’ll need to add the Duo WordPress plugin to your site:

The Duo WordPress plugin.

To install it, navigate to Plugins > Add New. Here, you can search for “Duo” in the WordPress Plugin Directory:

Adding the Duo plugin in WordPress.

Once you’ve found it, click on the Install Now and Activate buttons:

Activating the Duo plugin.

Then, head back to your Plugins screen. You should see Duo Two-Factor Authentication listed there.

Step 4: Connect Your WordPress Site to the Duo API

Finally, you need to make it so that your WordPress site and your Duo account can ‘talk’ to one another. This is done via an Application Programming Interface (API).

To enable the API, collect the Integration key, Secret key, and API hostname that you received in Step 2. Then, click on Settings under Duo Two-Factor Authentication in your Plugins list:

Enter your credentials in their respective fields, then click on Save Changes:

Entering the Duo Integration key, Secret key, and API hostname.

You should now be ready to start protecting your site with 2FA. You can configure more detailed settings for the plugin if you wish, or leave the defaults in place. Your users will be prompted to set up their secondary authentication methods on their own.

Conclusion

Site security is nothing to be lax about. Inadequate protection could lead to destroyed content, stolen data, and the loss of your users’ trust.

Fortunately, you can incorporate 2FA into your WordPress security strategy to help prevent hackers from gaining access to your site in just four steps:

  1. Sign up for a Duo account.
  2. Add a new application to your account.
  3. Install and activate the Duo WordPress plugin.
  4. Connect your WordPress site to the Duo API.

Do you have any questions about 2FA? Feel free to contact us.

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