WordPress offers tool that make remote interaction with your site possible in case your computer is out of range . In years past, one option for remote access was using a program known as XMLRPC.PHP – although. In recent times, this file has become more of a burden than an asset.
Here we will go into detail regarding what xmlrpc.php is and its design purposes, as well as address some of its common security vulnerabilities and how you can mitigate them on a WordPress website.
What Is Xmlrpc.php?
WordPress offers XML-RPC function, which allows data to be sent through HTTP as the transport method and encoded into XML the data format. Since WordPress may need to connect with various other systems, XML-RPC was developed specifically .
Imagine you want to publish to your website from a mobile device when your computer is out of reach. In such a situation, remote access enabled by xmlrpc.php could help make that possible.
Xmlrpc.php allows users to connect to their websites from a phone using trackbacks and pingbacks from other websites and some functions that work using the Jetpack plugin.
Why and How Was Xmlrpc.php Created?
The origins of XML-RPC date back to before WordPress existed as we know it today.
Early internet technology was often so slow that writing for it was complicated and lengthy. Instead of writing directly in their browsers, many users would write on paper before copying and pasting their writing onto the internet – though this method could have been better.
At that time, an offline blog client was the way forward – you could write your content offline and then link back into a blog using XML-RPC protocol; earlier apps even used this connection so users could sign into their WordPress sites from various devices.
Nowadays, WordPress version 2.6 and WordPress’s app provide users with an option to turn on or deactivate XML-RPC. However, since then, the iPhone WordPress application added support for XML-RPC by default but did not allow users to toggle its use – something which remains true to this day.
Unfortunately, over time this file’s purpose and dimensions have significantly declined from 83kb down to 3kb; it no longer plays an essential part in life as before.
Future of XML-RPC
With the arrival of the WordPress API, the possibility exists to completely do away with XML-RPC protocol altogether. As it stands now, this beta API will only become active through activating plugins.
However, it may soon be integrated directly into WordPress core – eliminating the requirement of the xmlrpc.php file.
Not entirely foolproof; however, this solution provides a safer yet equally secure approach to solving the same problem that xmlrpc.php did.
Why You Should Disable Xmlrpc.php
One of the main issues associated with XML-RPC is security threats, not so much regarding. How the technology itself could be exploited to allow a brute-force attack against your website. But more with how its features could allow attackers to launch brute-force attacks against it.
You can protect yourself with secure passwords and WordPress Security plugins; however, the best method is often to eliminate security. There have been two vulnerabilities found in XML-RPC that have been exploited in the past.
A second method for accessing websites through brute force involves employing brute force. An attacker might attempt to gain entry via xmlrpc.php by trying different login and password combinations. Using one command that tests hundreds of passwords simultaneously. This allows security tools that typically detect and stop attacks using brute force techniques.
Thirdly, hackers could utilize DDoS attacks to take websites offline by using WordPress. Pingback feature to send thousands of pingbacks out simultaneously – using this method provided a near-infinite range of IP addresses against which hackers could launch DDoS attacks.
To confirm if XML-RPC is running on your website, the XML-RPC Validator tool can help. By performing performance tests using it and receiving an error code when conducting tests on it, this tool demonstrates whether or not an XML-RPC implementation is present on it.
If the success message appears, you can stop xmlrpc.php using one of the options listed below.
Method 1: Disabling Xmlrpc.php With Plugins
Enabling XML-RPC on your WordPress website couldn’t be any simpler! Just install plugins that support this functionality and activate it when needed.
Navigate to your WordPress account dashboard, and locate and disable the XML-RPC API plugin before installing a new one.
After activating the plugin, everything should go as expected – the code required to switch off XML-RPC will automatically be added.
Remind yourself that some plugins utilize parts of XML-RPC, so disabling it completely may cause conflicts among plugins or even certain website components to stop functioning properly.
Method 2: Disabling Xmlrpc.php Manually
If you prefer doing things the old-fashioned way, manually disabling xmlrpc.php requests can also help block them before they reach WordPress. This will stop all incoming requests before they even reach it!
You can open the. htaccess file using any file manager or FTP client and by activating the option ‘Show Hidden Files”. Once found, navigate back to your site using this information to find it!
Add this code into the. htaccess file of your website:
Overall, XML RPC provided an effective solution for remote publishing on WordPress websites. However, security concerns proved detrimental for some website owners.
To protect the security of your website. It’s advisable to disable xmlrpc.php completely, except in instances. When certain functions required for remote publishing may still need to be activated. In such cases, use Jetpack plugin or workaround plugins which still provide these features while patching security vulnerabilities.
We anticipate that XML-RPC capabilities will become part of the WordPress API, providing remote access and similar features without compromising security. But in the interim, it would be wiser to safeguard yourself against vulnerabilities caused by XML-RPC.