Nexcess Logo

How to improve the security of your Magento store

Knowledge Base Home

Notice anything different?

We've enhanced the appearance of our portal and we're working on updating screenshots. Things might look different, but the functionality remains the same.
September 11, 2019

Various methods of hardening your Magento store’s security, though many of these apply to any content management system (CMS).

While maintaining your online store’s security will uphold your reputation and avoid downtime, you are required to abide by Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) in order to process customer credit card data.

 Read Magento Maintenance: Five Tasks That Will Keep Your Store Running Smoothly.

Monitor patch releases and apply them immediately

Like all eCommerce software, you must use the latest version to maintain a secure environment. These upgrades provide feature upgrades, bug fixes, and critical security updates designed to address the latest exploits and attacks. If you ignore or postpone these patches, you compromise your security and endanger your customers’ data.

To stay current, we urge all clients to sign up for security alerts at the Magento website. In addition, watch for alerts posted within the Administrative area of your specific Magento installation or installations.

Use two-factor authentication

Do not rely solely on passwords. Two-factor authentication serves as the new gold standard for security and will mitigate most password-related Magento security risks. Though you can find many options, we recommend Sentry, our free and open source plug-in designed specifically for Magento.

For more information about Sentry Two-Factor Authentication, visit our website.

Configure a custom path for the administrator panel

If someone can easily locate your administrator login page, then you are more vulnerable to brute force attacks. Many, but not all, brute force attacks use scripts specifically designed to check the /admin path for your login page. Therefore, obscuring the path to the Magento Administrator Panel can help prevent intrusions. Although this will not make your store immune to brute force attacks, it will deflect the attacks relying on those scripts.

Encrypted connections (SSL/HTTPS)

Data sent over unencrypted connections is exceptionally vulnerable to interception by third parties. A properly implemented SSL certificate will help secure sensitive information such as credit card data, customer details, and login credentials, among other types. You can purchase an SSL certificate from any verified Certificate Authority and install it through SiteWorx. Once you have the SSL certificate, configure your Magento installation to require the secure resources on certain pages, forcing the pages to be loaded over HTTPS.

Manage access points

There are many methods for accessing your site files and database. Depending on your intended task, you can access your site through SSH, FTP, or SiteWorx. Use a unique, strong password for each method, and use connection methods like SSH, SFTP, or SCP for additional security.

Secure your local.xml file and other sensitive files

The local.xml file holds your most critical database information, including your username, password, and table prefixes. Furthermore, attackers could alter the code dictating your caching methods, resulting in downtime for your store. As a means of prevention, restrict this file’s permissions to 600, or -rw-------. These permissions restrict read-and-write access to your user alone.

For added security, also restrict permissions on any other files containing sensitive information, such as login credentials.

Deploy changes responsibly

If deployed without care, extensions and themes can give attackers a path to your store’s most critical areas or simply break your site. To minimize these dangers, enlist a developer to audit the code of these extensions and themes, and test new applications in development environment before deploying them to your live store. Before going live, create backups of your site files and databases as a fail-safe fallback option against data corruption or security breaches.

Restrict administrator access

In addition to two-factor authentication, you can restrict the Magento administrator login page to a specific IP address by configuring rules within your site’s .htaccess file.

Implement your own password policy

A password policy outlines your password requirements. The best practices for a password policy include:

  • Use only unique passwords.

  • Establish complexity requirements.

  • Change your password regularly.

  • Do not reuse passwords.

For assistance generating a secure password, use our Secure Password Generator. For instructions on how to use it, refer to How to use the Nexcess Secure Password Generator.

For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email or through your Client Portal.


Nexcess, the premium hosting provider for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento, is optimized for your hosting needs. Nexcess provides a managed hosting infrastructure, curated tools, and a team of experts that make it easy to build, manage, and grow your business online. Serving SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them, Nexcess has provided fully managed, high-performance cloud solutions for more than 22 years.

We use cookies to understand how you interact with our site, to personalize and streamline your experience, and to tailor advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies and accept our Privacy Policy.