WordPress Security: How to Remove the “Powered by WordPress” Footer Link

by Matt Lawrence on October 8, 2010

WordPress Security

Keeping your WordPress-powered blog secure may seem like a daunting task, but there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you are not the easiest target on the Internet.

Hackers are usually pretty smart and driven people, so if they really want to get into your website they probably will. This post continues our discussion about blog security and introduces a few WordPress-specific strategies that you can employ.

WordPress is a great blog platform and light content management system, however it does broadcast some information that can help the “people who are up to no good” find your blog. This post will help you stop WordPress from broadcasting this potentially harmful information to these people. Future posts will also recommend some WordPress security plugins that will help you keep your blog secure.

First lets take a look at some areas that your blog may be displaying unwanted information, and how to remove it.

Your Theme

The Problem:
Look at the footer (bottom of page) of your website and see if there is a link or text that says something like this:
wordpress footer link

If it does, you are letting search engines, and anyone else who wants to, know that you are currently running WordPress. This can make it easy for the “people who are up to no good”, and who target WordPress sites, to find your blog by popular search engines.

The Fix:
To fix this we need to remove the link from the footer, and you can do this from the back end of WordPress.

To get started log in to your blog and then on the left hand menu click the “Appearance” button. After you have done that select the editor link that appears below the appearance button.

Make Sure that the “Update” button below is present, otherwise you will need to change permissions to be able to edit the files necessary.
Wordpress Update File Button

To make the necessary changes, select the | Footer (footer.php) | from the menu on the right hand side, and make sure the update file button is still there.

Let’s remove the link from the footer the highlighted area in red between the <p> and </p> can all be deleted, and the part in darker red is the link to WordPress.

Edit WordPress Footer

I am going to replace this with: “Dev Blog &copy; 2010″

and save it, this is how it displays now:
Updated WordPress Footer

Next week we will show you how to remove the WordPress Generator Meta Tag. This Meta Tag actually displays what version you are running in you page source, and your page source is accessible to anyone with a web browser.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Trevor Wells March 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

My scan tells me to pay attention to the following
/usr/www/users/flagsa/betablog/wp-content/uploads/swift_custom/

What do I need to fix and how? Does the missing hyphen in flagsa make a difference? My normal URL is flag-sa.org. Where do I find this to make a correction?
Thanks

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cone crusher March 25, 2010 at 2:56 am

I almost forgot the other thing I wanted to know.
What file do I need to edit to remove the now-empty column to the left of the blog posts?

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Matt Lawrence March 29, 2010 at 11:20 am

Check your Widgets and see if it is widgetized, if so you can choose what you want to put in there.

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SarahHenley March 25, 2010 at 3:06 am

It is very good, very good practitioners of search engine optimization one of the means.

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Kenny March 27, 2010 at 3:46 am

I have use a theme with a protection code to prevent me to remove the footer link. My question here is I not means to remove the link of others people which have giving away a good theme. But, I would like to know how do I make a footer link to prevent someone delete it?

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Matt Lawrence March 29, 2010 at 11:22 am

Your best bet would be to find a WordPress developer because this will most likely take a few files to make it work.

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wiki tvs April 20, 2010 at 12:56 am

Nice trick brother, thanks for share, i will visit back

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henry June 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Great stuff! Keep bringing it. :)

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Crusher August 6, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Very good, thank you, it seems that i should modify my blogs.

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Miss Teen August 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

great site… really cool information… hope your having a great day, I am in wanganui and Il be back to read more soon..

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Juan August 17, 2010 at 3:46 am

in wanganui new zealand? cool, i dont see many kiwis around commenting on wordpress related blogs or maybe its because i dont get out much, lol.

Juan
Hamilton, NZ

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SF722 August 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the post, do you have an updated version for this fix since my PHP code looks different when I look at the footer in the basic Twenty-Ten theme on wordpress.

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Matt Lawrence August 31, 2010 at 9:28 am

You would want to look at the code in the footer.php file that starts with:

< ?php do_action( 'twentyten_credits' ); ?>

This will be about halfway down the page surrounded by div id="site-generator" and /div. Delete the code in between these two tags and replace it with what you want to appear.

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jaw crusher August 19, 2010 at 2:18 am

Nice trick brother, thanks for share, i will visit back

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John August 30, 2010 at 4:41 am

Any idea how i can change the copyright link?

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Matt Lawrence August 31, 2010 at 9:38 am

Took a quick look at your site and it looks like you will want to edit the code in your footer that is directly below:

div id="footer"
Start with: Copyright © 2010

I would copy and paste the footer file into a text editor in case you delete to much, and make sure not to delete the div tags.

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fidoneeCone September 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm

that site design is so cool is it available for free ?

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冷库 September 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Nice list of sites.

I was sad to see that I didn’t make your first list ;)

Maybe the next round?

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nicholas molinaro September 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for the tutorial. It followed it and it worked.

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BrevilleJE900 October 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

Great tip. I am removing the link from my footer now.

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bread maker October 8, 2010 at 1:21 am

Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to remove the footer link then, btw is wordpress more vulnerable than normal sites?

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Matt Lawrence October 8, 2010 at 9:00 am

The WordPress development team has done a great job at fixing the security vulnerabilities in WordPress. Most of the security issues are now on the hosting companies side.

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Peter Green October 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

This seems very sad to me. I am very proud to be a part of the WordPress world and as it’s free and open source software for which I am very grateful I like that link in the footer, in fact I embellish it by adding the word ‘proud’!
It feels cold and heartless to remove that link.
And anyway, unless you’re going to change the code in the whole of the core of C.M.S. it’s not rocket science to figure out it’s powered by W.P. That’s how I check what runs a website.
I run a good amount of security plugins (for which I am also very grateful) which I hope keeps me as safe as can be in cyberspace.

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helpin October 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

It is a great post .

1)I saw some themes with Encrypted codes .They were mentioned as Linkwear by developer and has more than 5 links to a bank,a webhost etc .I think they are advertisements . The developer warned “WARNING: This file is protected by copyright law. To reverse engineer or decode this file is strictly prohibited.”

But they have not mentioned the license which they release the themes under and asking $40 for each theme to remove the links .Am I allowed to remove them as you said?

2)By the way some other theme developers don’t encrypt the theme and ask us not to remove the footer branding .How do I proceed with such themes?

3)And some other themes would be release under creative-Common-License.What do we do with them?
Thanks !

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Matt Lawrence December 10, 2010 at 10:19 am

WordPress was created with the GPL, which gives people the freedom to do edit it and distribute it to friends. Any themes that are doing what you say don’t really follow why wordpress was created. Footer links provide SEO benefit to the designer which is usually why they don’t want them removed. Here is a good interview on the subject: http://mixergy.com/chris-pearson-matt-mullenweg/

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Garmin Forerunner 405cx November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for the great tip! I am still learning how to use WordPress so any assistance is much appreciated!

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Bryan November 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Do you have to have the CSS upgrade to do this?

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Matt Lawrence December 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

No you don’t need to touch the CSS, all you should have to do is go into the footer template.

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Caitlin at Backlinks Provider November 12, 2010 at 3:02 am

I never thought that leaving the WordPress link could leave you as a target. I guess I’m removing it from my blog now. Thanks!

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yooonfoo November 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Great article There is a T missing and you alluded to wordpress.org as an alternative without spelling it out. Keep up the great work.

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Adox Solutions November 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Great topic..thanks guys

Reply

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