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Configuring authentication keys

From: WordPress 3: Developing Secure Sites

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.

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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WordPress 3: Developing Secure Sites

36 video lessons · 11496 viewers

Jeff Starr
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