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WooCommerce security best practices

Introduction to Security Practices

Security is extremely important for online stores. A breach can lead to significant financial loss, reputational damage, and erosion of customer trust. Implementing robust security practices is crucial. This guide covers the best practices for securing WooCommerce stores, including hardening WordPress, keeping plugins and themes up to date, implementing secure coding practices, and protecting user data. By following these recommendations, developers can build secure and resilient WooCommerce stores that protect both their business and their customers.


This guide is intended for developers who are familiar with WordPress and WooCommerce and want to improve the security of their online stores.


To follow this guide, you should have:

  1. A basic understanding of WordPress and WooCommerce.
  2. Access to a WordPress website with WooCommerce installed and activated.

Security Standards

We recommend that you maintain the following standards:

  • PHPCS: The PHP Code Sniffer tool helps ensure your code adheres to specific coding standards, which can prevent common security issues. Extensions shouldn’t have any failure results against PHPCS.

  • SemGrep: Focuses on identifying patterns that may indicate security vulnerabilities, allowing developers to write more secure code. Extensions shouldn’t have any failure results against SemGrep.

Understanding and implementing these standards can significantly reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities in your extensions and themes.

Common Security Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Several common security pitfalls can easily be avoided with vigilance and best practices:

  • SQL Injection: Ensure all database queries are properly sanitized.
  • Cross-Site Scripting: Sanitize all user input to prevent malicious code from being executed.
  • File Inclusions: Limit file inclusion to prevent unauthorized access to the file system.

Awareness and prevention of these common issues are crucial steps in securing your WooCommerce store. For more resources, we recommend reading the WordPress security documentation.

Manual Testing Guidelines

Even without access to automated tools like the Woo Quality Insights Toolkit (QIT), manual testing remains a vital component of securing your WooCommerce store. Here are some guidelines on how developers can manually test their extensions for security vulnerabilities:

  1. Code Review: Regularly review your code for security vulnerabilities, focusing on the areas where breaches commonly occur, such as user input fields and database queries. Code reviews should check against the WordPress security criteria mentioned above.
  2. Use Security Plugins: Plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, or iThemes Security provide an interface for manual security checks, including file integrity monitoring and malware scanning. Additionally, tooling like OWASP Zap or GitHub Security Scanning can be used.
  3. Testing Environments: Utilize staging environments to test the security of new features or updates before deploying them live.

Other Security Best Practices

Keep WordPress, WooCommerce, and plugins up to date

Regularly updating WordPress, WooCommerce, and all installed plugins is crucial to maintaining a secure online store. Updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities and help protect your store from attacks. To keep your WordPress and WooCommerce installations up to date:

  1. Enable automatic updates for WordPress core.
  2. Regularly check for and install updates for WooCommerce and all plugins.

Choose secure plugins and themes

The plugins and themes you use can have a significant impact on the security of your WooCommerce store. To ensure your store is secure:

  1. Install plugins and themes from reputable sources, such as the WordPress Plugin Directory and Theme Directory.
  2. Regularly review and update the plugins and themes you use, removing any that are no longer maintained or have known security vulnerabilities.
  3. Avoid using nulled or pirated plugins and themes, which may contain malicious code.

Implement secure coding practices

Secure coding practices are essential for building a secure WooCommerce store. To implement secure coding practices:

  1. Follow the WordPress Coding Standards when developing custom themes or plugins.
  2. Use prepared statements and parameterized queries to protect against SQL injection attacks.
  3. Validate and sanitize user input to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and other vulnerabilities.
  4. Regularly review and update your custom code to address potential security vulnerabilities.

Harden WordPress security

Hardening your WordPress installation can help protect your WooCommerce store from attacks. To harden your WordPress security:

  1. Use strong, unique passwords for all user accounts.
  2. Limit login attempts and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect against brute-force attacks.
  3. Change the default “wp_” table prefix in your WordPress database.
  4. Disable XML-RPC and REST API access when not needed.
  5. Keep file permissions secure and restrict access to sensitive files and directories.

Secure user data

Protecting your customers’ data is a critical aspect of securing your WooCommerce store. To secure user data:

  1. Use SSL certificates to encrypt data transmitted between your store and your customers.
  2. Store customer data securely and limit access to sensitive information.
  3. Comply with data protection regulations, such as the GDPR, to ensure you handle customer data responsibly.

Implement a security plugin

Using a security plugin can help you monitor and protect your WooCommerce store from potential threats. To implement a security plugin:

  1. Choose a reputable security plugin, such as Wordfence, Sucuri, or iThemes Security.
  2. Configure the plugin’s settings to enable features like malware scanning, firewall protection, and login security.

Regularly monitor and audit your store’s security

Continuously monitor and audit your WooCommerce store’s security to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before they can be exploited. To monitor and audit your store’s security:

  1. Use a security plugin to perform regular scans for malware and other security threats.
  2. Monitor your site’s activity logs to identify suspicious activity and potential security issues.
  3. Perform regular security audits to evaluate your store’s overall security and identify areas for improvement.

Create regular backups

Backing up your WooCommerce store is essential for quickly recovering from security incidents, such as data loss or site compromise. To create regular backups:

  1. Choose a reliable backup plugin, such as UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, or Duplicator.
  2. Configure the plugin to automatically create regular backups of your entire site, including the database, files, and media.
  3. Store your backups securely off-site to ensure they are accessible in case of an emergency.


By following these security best practices, you can build a secure and resilient WooCommerce store that protects both your business and your customers. Regularly monitoring, auditing, and updating your store’s security measures will help ensure it remains protected as new threats and vulnerabilities emerge.

Last updated: April 29, 2024