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Illegitimate Login Issues on WordPress

Every once in a while in various WordPress forums you see a complaint about mass attempts to login into a site using unauthorized generic usernames, such as Admin or the domain name.  Sometimes these are efforts to overwhelm the server by bots, sometimes just efforts to find poorly securitized credentials for a website, but in any case, this can be at least annoying and sometimes it can end up being worse.

If you have the premium version of Wordfence security on WordPress, you can block such efforts by a variety of ways by blocking access to the login page.  The kind of scope for access to logging in will determine how you may go about this.

In Wordfence, there’s a Blocking menu option, that provides such as options as:

Wordfence Country Blocking

Wordfence will provide you the IP addresses of anyone that tries to login without proper credentials, but depending on the volume, blocking by individual IP address may be problematic.  Because we do a lot of association sites with specific country – and more often, specific state – need of access to login, we like using the Country blocking.  Essentially you can specify the range of IPs for any given country to block.  If you don’t have a need for anyone from Russia or China or Ukraine or Venezuela, etc.,  to login, you can block those countries from accessing your login page.

You have to be careful, though.  Pre-pandemic, people traveled and sometimes needed access.  Home offices of regional organizations may be in different countries.  International associations need to provide international access to their membership.  So you have to know your market for access.

We usually wait until we see a trend of illegitimate access attempts from a country before blocking them.  Russia, Ukraine and China are so common that if we are blocking by country and those countries are not participants in the website’s organizational host, we usually block them from the get go.  Visitors from there to your site are likely not to be up to anything helpful for you.

We generally do NOT block these countries from the entire site, just login access.  You have to be careful about issues such as site speed as well.    But it is a useful tool in the Wordfence arsenal, so don’t be shy about trying it out.

Kessler Freedman, Inc.