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Top tips on ensuring secure WordPress Custom Plugin Development

Author: Jason Roiz
by Jason Roiz
Posted: Nov 21, 2013

Recent years have witnessed a remarkable improvement in the performance of WordPress Content Management System. The count for WordPress users is on a constant rise and expected to grow in the coming years as well. Although, WordPress is considered to be the most secure software package available today, most of the security issues with the web development platform either arise out of bad-written plugins or bad hosting providers. This write-up of mine is dedicated to all those who’re involved with the task of developing customized WordPress plugins but often tend to face hacking issues. Through this article of mine I would be sharing some helpful tips on ensuring hacker-safe nature of the developed WordPress plugins.

  • Use prepare () function in every query- SQL injection is the key area which poses as a big security problem for plugin developers across the globe. It is important for the custom WordPress plugin developer to clean all the queries so as to prevent a hacker’s attack. Using the prepare () function in the $wpdb class filters out any MySQL references, thereby cleaning up the string that you’re about to pass on to your SQL database.

  • Check the user roles- Developing a WordPress plugin expects you to ensure that the users who’re able to access the files are authorized to do so. This is even more important under the cases where your client is using a weak password which tends to get hacked and you turn out losing all the important files associated with the custom WordPress development process. Hence, it is recommended to set an access restriction for each user who accesses the database. You can do this with the help of a function named current_user_can(‘capability-name’).

  • Opt for using nounces on forms and URLs- The term ‘nounce’ stands for ‘number used only once’. This is an attribute that’s been generated using core WordPress function as stated below:

wp_nonce_field( md5( 'my_plugin_nonce' );

The sole purpose of this feature is to check the intention of the user. It is tied to a variable or hidden input file so as to ensure that duplicate requests or unexpected requests aren’t able to cause any undesired or irreversible changes to the WordPress database.

  • Use the Escape() function- There are situations when the database output tends to break the site. Escape() function comes to rescue under such circumstances. This function ensures that strings are valid and do not mess up the HTML of your site. Some brilliant functions for this include:

esc_url()- This function encodes and validates a URL

esc_html()- This function makes sure a string doesn’t break the site’s HTML(comprising of extra brackets and quotes)

esc_attr()- This function makes sure a string doesn’t break the site’s HTML(comprising of tags).

So, these were some of the best and result-proven tips (abided by me as well) which can easily help you secure your custom WordPress plugin development process. So, whether you’re a plugin developer or looking to hire WordPress developer, do keep the above pointers in mind for a hacker-free plugin development experience.

About the Author

Jason Roiz is a fervent, self driven tech expert working in close tandem with a leading Software development company.

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Author: Jason Roiz

Jason Roiz

Member since: Nov 15, 2013
Published articles: 60

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