Home Articles Search Engine Optimization Article

The Ultimate Guide To Baseline Security For WordPress Theme Developers

Not rated

by Kushal Shah
October 09, 2017

Kushal Shah
Kushal Shah has written unknown count articles for PromotionWorld.
View all articles by Kushal Shah...

If you wish to develop your next WordPress Theme, I must say this article is for you!

WordPress themes are at a huge security risk and so it becomes necessary to ensure your theme development with secure coding standards. This article differs from using themes as it focuses on the technical aspects on how to develop a secure theme that adds on to the WordPress Theme Directory?

WordPress provides tons of functionality and power by its themes and plugins and so they must be developed will extra caution.

Why is WordPress Theme Security important?

You will have to take care of the number of security checks while developing WordPress theme. The reason behind this is developing a poor theme will give hackers an easy way to access the site.

A highly secure theme adds up to the WordPress theme directory with safe products. Moreover, with the increased use of WordPress for building sites, theme secure has turned a necessity.

In fact, according to WordPress Theme Review Team half of the WordPress themes rejected had security issues.

Looking for the WordPress vulnerabilities it becomes essential to develop themes that satisfy the basic security standards proposed by WordPress Theme Review Team.

Developing a Security Mindset

Security must be considered as an added functionality while developing WordPress themes. Before beginning with the WordPress theme developing, it will useful for you to go through the following fundamentals engaged in theme security:

  • Don’t trust any data

    Never trust the user input data. It is the first step towards theme security to undergo verification of the data entering and leaving your theme.

    Make sure you validate the input data and sanitize (escape) the output data.

  • Rely on WordPress API

    Always prefer using the inbuilt WordPress functions and API that provide Data Sanitization and Data Validation facility.

    Whenever you feel unsafe data entering or leaving the WordPress theme, it is advisable to validate and sanitize it.

  • Keep your themes up to date

    With the advancement in technology, one of the most trusted ways of being safe is to maintain your code with updated functions in WordPress.

    Keeping your themes up-to-date to avoid many common attacks such as SQL injection, Cross –Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross site Request Forgery (CSRF).

You can also review some of the common security attacks and understand how to harden your theme against them.

Here are 5 common security methods for WordPress Theme Developers:

Validating, Sanitizing and Escaping User Data

Make sure your code is safe. To ensure bugs free code it is important to take a notice on the input data coming to your WordPress and how it is presented to the end user?

In order to validate the input data, it is necessary to know whether it matches the requested data. It simply means that there is no way we want the user to submit the restricted data format.

In the below code, the user is allowed to enter only five characters maximum. The browser will not allow more than five characters of input.

The process of cleaning or filtering your data is called sanitization. The easiest way to sanitize data is by using sanitize helper functions. For example, sanitize_text_field(), sanitize_title()     

The method of outputting the data is termed as escaping. WordPress offers fewer helper functions to escape data securely. For example, esc_html(), esc_url()

The following code encodes text for use inside a text area


Using Database Prefixes

Take extra care of your database by adding appropriate prefixes. By doing so, it will meet the database security standards.

Make any custom query and whenever you want to write or read from the database and ensure that you are calling the WordPress database prefix.

Avoid using database prefix simply means that you are leaving the theme open for bypassing the typical security issues and potential hacking.

You can refer on how to create Database Prefix for WordPress.


Write Secure Code

Whenever you are writing a PHP snippet it is important to keep your code secure. Always write the PHP functions or a module in the function.php file instead of *.php files.

Theme authors should take care to write clean, well-structured code just like a developer for any other project code.

WordPress Theme Developers must use following coding standards:


Always Develop a Test Site

A test site is a copy of your original URL, where you can make experimental changes without affecting your live site.

To prevent the user seeing a website full of bugs, you need a test site. You can deploy the site on a local machine to test without the concern of accidentally creating security holes or losing internet connectivity.

A virtualized environment provided by Vagrant Virtual Box allows you to create a productive developing environment. It is a free cross-platform virtualization product.


Deploy your Themes Selectively

After the successful development of your theme manage them according to their role and theme modules. You can now configure the permission for a role to allow users to select their own favorable theme.

This prevents any hacker to intrude your theme and gain access to it. You can divide the theme into modules so that you can deploy a very large site in stages.

Another important thing to take a note is to remove all the code or files that aren’t being used at all. This is a simple tip that requires minimal effort but has far-reaching consequences on theme’s security.


Closing Note

In this post, I have covered the 5 baseline security methods one must focus on while developing themes. Being able to code secure themes for the WordPress directory provides safe products with higher approval rate.

Besides this, you don’t need to be a security expert, just follow the basic measures and enjoy coding themes.

Good Luck!


Submit Your Articles or Press ReleaseAdd comment (Comments: 0)  
promotion awards



Related Resources

Other Resources