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Configuring authentication keys


From:

WordPress 3: Developing Secure Sites

with Jeff Starr

Video: Configuring authentication keys

In this screencast, we improve the security of the WordPress user login process by adding a set of secret keys to the site's configuration file. This is an important step designed by the WordPress team to better secure your site. Here we are in our FTP/file editor, looking at the WordPress configuration file. Scroll down to just beneath the database credentials, to where it says, "Authentication Unique Keys and Salts." As you can see, freshly installed WordPress doesn't provide any of the secret keys, so we'll need to add our own, and the more random and complicated, the better.
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Watch the Online Video Course WordPress 3: Developing Secure Sites
2h 36m Intermediate Jun 27, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course explains how to secure self-hosted WordPress sites, including site configuration, code modification, and the use of free plug-ins. Beginning with the basics of site security, author Jeff Starr explains how to harden a WordPress site by configuring authentication keys, setting proper file permissions, and removing version numbers. The course shows how to implement a firewall, prevent automated spam, and control proxy access, and concludes with a series of advanced tips and site security best practices.

Topics include:
  • Backing up and restoring your site
  • Setting up strong passwords
  • Choosing trusted plugins and themes
  • Protecting the configuration file and the admin directory
  • Securing the login page
  • Fighting comment spam
  • Blocking access and detecting hacks
  • Finding and reporting vulnerabilities
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
WordPress
Author:
Jeff Starr

Configuring authentication keys

In this screencast, we improve the security of the WordPress user login process by adding a set of secret keys to the site's configuration file. This is an important step designed by the WordPress team to better secure your site. Here we are in our FTP/file editor, looking at the WordPress configuration file. Scroll down to just beneath the database credentials, to where it says, "Authentication Unique Keys and Salts." As you can see, freshly installed WordPress doesn't provide any of the secret keys, so we'll need to add our own, and the more random and complicated, the better.

The quickest and easiest way to generate strong key values is to visit WordPress's own secret key service in the browser at secret-key/1.1/salt, and then copy and paste the entire block of code, and then return to your configuration file and just paste it into place, like so. Once the keys are in place, save and upload the file, like so, and that's all there is to it. Of course you don't want to use the example keys shown here; the whole idea is to specify your own unique phrases to improve login security, and it's totally fine to replace these keys at any time, for any reason.

The worst that will happen is the currently logged in users will need to log in again. Trust me, the extra security is worth the minor inconvenience. In this screencast, we enabled WordPress to more securely manage the user login process. This functionality is built into WordPress by default, but you need to enable it by adding your own set of unique secret keys. In the next screencast, we further improve security by specifying a unique database prefix.

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