Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 05:25 pm
By implementing HTTP security headers, you will have control of all the actions of browsers and servers that ensure your WordPress website becomes safe for your users.
WordPress is a prevalent Content Management System (CMS) worldwide. More than 60 percent of all websites in the world use WordPress, which is why many hackers want to hack websites to steal the information carried by those websites.
In hacking a WordPress website, the biggest enemies are brute force attacks, file upload vulnerabilities, and cross-site scripting attacks.
So, there are many ways you can use to make your website safe. And this is where it comes to this post about HTTP security headers.
What are HTTP Security Headers?
HTTP security headers are a set of instructions used by web applications to ensure the security of web browsers.
These headers exchange information between the web browser and the server to identify security in communication.
This exchange of information informs the browser how to behave when interacting with the site and the server.
Types of HTTP Security Headers
There are different types of security headers that you can use to strengthen the protection of your WordPress website.
Let’s look at a few essential types of HTTP Security Headers.
1. X-Frame Options
This header can be used to indicate whether or not a browser should be allowed to render a page in a <frame>, <iframe>, or <object>. Use this to avoid clickjacking attacks.
2. Strict Transport Security
HTTP Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) enforces secure (HTTP over SSL/TLS) connections to the server.
This reduces the impact of bugs in web applications leaking session data through cookies and external links and defends against Man-in-the-middle attacks.
HSTS also removes users’ ability to ignore SSL negotiation warnings.
Prevents Internet Explorer and Google Chrome from MIME-sniffing a response away from the declared content type. This also applies to Google Chrome when downloading extensions.
This reduces exposure to drive-by download attacks and sites serving user-uploaded content that, by clever naming, could be treated by MSIE as executable or dynamic HTML files.
This security header enables the Cross-site scripting (XSS) filter built into most recent web browsers. It’s usually enabled by default anyway, so the role of this header is to re-enable the filter for this particular website if the user turns it off.
Also Read: Most Popular Brands That Are Using WordPress
The Referrer-Policy HTTP header governs which referrer information, sent in the Referer header, should be included with requests made.
6. Content Security Policy
Content Security Policy (CSP) is an added layer of security that helps to detect and mitigate certain types of attacks, including cross-site scripting (XSS) and data injection attacks.
These attacks are used for everything from data theft to site defacement or distribution of malware.
With Feature Policy, you opt-in to a set of policies for the browser to enforce specific features used throughout your site.
These policies restrict what APIs the site can access or modify the browser’s default behavior for certain features.
Permissions Policy is a web platform API that allows a website to allow or block the use of browser features in its frame or iframes that it embeds.
The HTTP Cross-Origin-Resource-Policy response header conveys a desire that the browser blocks no-cors cross-origin/cross-site requests to the given resource.
The HTTP Cross-Origin-Embedder-Policy (COEP) response header prevents a document from loading any cross-origin resources that don’t explicitly grant the document permission (using CORP or CORS).
The HTTP Cross-Origin-Opener-Policy (COOP) response header allows you to ensure a top-level document does not share a browsing context group with cross-origin documents.
COOP will process-isolate your document, and potential attackers can’t access your global object if they open it in a popup, preventing a set of cross-origin attacks dubbed XS-Leaks.
If a cross-origin document with COOP is opened in a new window, the opening document will not have a reference to it, and the window opener property of the new window will be null.
This allows you to have more control over references to a window than rel=noopener, which only affects outgoing navigations.
This prefetching is performed in the background so that the DNS is likely resolved when the referenced items are needed. This reduces latency when the user clicks a link.
13. Cookie Security
A secure cookie is only sent to the server with an encrypted request over the HTTPS protocol.
SameSite prevents the browser from sending this cookie along with cross-site requests. The main goal is to mitigate the risk of cross-origin information leakage.
It also provides some protection against cross-site request forgery attacks.
Also Read: How To Register a Domain Name
How to add HTTP security headers in WordPress
The best way of configuring HTTP Security headers in a WordPress website is by using the plugin. Other ways are by using .htaccess or Nginx config files. For beginners like me, opt to use WordPress plugins.
Here, we will implement the HTTP Security headers using the free plugins known as HTTP Headers by Dimitar Ivanov. The plugin has 40,000+ active installations. After installing and activating the plugin, go to Settings and set the following for the security of your WordPress website.
- “X-Frame Options: Set to”SAMEORIGIN”; “X-Frame Options: Set to “SAMEORIGIN”;
- “Strict Transport Security: Set to “max-age=31536000;“Strict Transport Security: Set to “max-age=31536000;
- “X-Content-Type-Options: Set to”“nosniff”;”X-Content-Type-Options: Set to “nosniff”;
- X-XSS-Protection: Set to “1; mode=block”;
- Referrer-Policy: no-referrer-when-downgrade;
- Content Security Policy: frame-ancestors ‘none’; default-src ‘self’, script-src ‘*://*.example.com:*;
- ‘Feature-Policy: camera’‘non’’; microphone’‘none’;’Feature-Policy: camera ‘none’; microphone ‘none’;
- Permissions-Policy: “geolocation=(self ‘https://abc.example.com’ ‘https://pqr.example.com’), midi=(), sync-xhr=(), accelerometer=(), gyroscope=(), magnetometer=(), camera=(), microphone=(), fullscreen=(self)”
- Cross-Origin-Resource-Policy: same-origin;
- Cross-Origin-Embedder-Policy: same-origin;
- Cross-Origin-Opener-Policy: same-origin;
- X-DNS-Prefetch-Control: on;
- Cookie Security: secure;
Also Read: A WordPress Plugin: The Complete Guides 2023
Testing HTTP security headers
After configuring the HTTP security headers on your WordPress website, you must test your website to make sure they are working correctly as expected.
You can use one of the many free tools available on the internet to perform a test. The first is Security Headers, which will give the result like this.
The second one is SSL Labs; the successful HTTP security headers will give a result like this one.
We hope this article helped you learn about HTTP Security Headers In WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate post on All You Need to Know about WordPress Theme 2023 and What is WordPress? The Complete Beginner’s Guide 2023
What’s your favorite WordPress theme? Let us know what you think in the comments below!