RunCloud and iThemes for WordPress

RunCloud and iThemes for Wordpress

Posted:  December 10, 2020

RunCloud and iThemes for Wordpress

Like most good hosting support folks, security tops the list of my priorities.

While a good firewall, and true Web Application Firewall are the best means for helping with this, sometimes shared hosting services will not change the configurations they have in place to support the necessary security for a WordPress website.

In steps the iThemes Security plugin.  iThemes acts like a WAF, in that it can detect (via a vast network) bad bots, known hackers, and most known vulnerabilities in WordPress. I will lay out what I use on all of the sites I manage hosting for (note, this number as of today, is in the thousands), as well as enabling the necessary configuration needed to allow iThemes to do it’s thing when you have a nGinx Only Web Application on RunCloud controlled servers.

  • First and foremost, login to your WordPress admin, then click Add New, under Plugins in the left hand navigation. ( screenshot: )
  • In the search box, type in ithemes, when it shows in the returned plugins, click Install then Activate. As you can see here, I already have it installed and activated:
  • Once it is activated, you will need to browse to it’s settings, the link is in the left hand navigation under Security ( screenshot: ). You can safely ignore the “Wizard” that will popup the first time you browse to it.
  • Click on Global Settings, check the box to allow writing to wp-config and .htaccess:
    • This is necessary to allow iThemes to write the necessary rules for your web application. These rules will end up including blocks for known blacklists, as well, as disallowing php in plugins, themes, uploads, etc… You can input what you wish in the Message fields, you can also use basic HTML if you would like some formatting for the messages. These messages will show to browsers who have had their access blocked.
  • Scroll down to “Blacklist repeat offender” and check it. I am a tad strict when it comes to my websites, so I only allow 3 Lockouts before being blocked, as a safe bet, I would not go over 5 for this. The defaults for the rest are fine, but make sure to add your pubic IP address to the whitelist field. ( screenshot: )
  • Configure your logging how you see fit, please note that on high traffic websites, your log can get very large, so do be careful what you select.
  • Scroll down to “NGINX conf file” and type in your applications root path. I make it a “dot file” so it is hidden. If you do not know your applications path, please check with your hosting provider.
    • As an example, my website’s path on RunCloud looks similar to: /home/YOUR_USER/webapps/YOURWEBAPPLICATION/.nginx.conf
    • I set “Automatic” proxy detection. Your usage may vary for this, if you have questions, please consult your hosting provider.
    • I also set “No” error messages. For me I have not seen a reason to display them to the end users of the site, so I have set mine to No.
  • Once you have this section configured, hit “Save Settings” at the bottom:
  • At this point, you will need to get into shell on your server. We need to make sure that the file exists in the location we specified in “NGINX conf file” above.
    • So once you are shelled into your server, run this command swapping out the caps for your web apps specific account and application: sudo touch /home/YOUR_USER/webapps/YOURWEBAPPLICATION/.nginx.conf
    • This will create a blank file for the iThemes nginx configuration to be written to.
    • You will also need to change the ownership of the file to match your web application, you can do this with: sudo chown YOUR_USER:YOUR_GROUP /home/YOUR_USER/webapps/YOURWEBAPPLICATION/.nginx.conf
  • Once that is done we will need our nginx install to properly pull the configuration in. iThemes rules need to go in the web applications main “location” block, so let’s write a single line into the RunCloud specific location nginx config by running this: echo "include /home/YOUR_USER/webapps/YOURWEBAPPLICATION/.nginx.conf;" > /etc/nginx-rc/extra.d/YOURWEBAPPLICATION.location.main-before.ithemes.conf
  • Now, we can go back to iThemes and finish configuring it, leave shell open for now, once we are done configuring iThemes, you will need to reload nginx.
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “404 Detection” ( screenshot: )… if it is not enabled, please click the ‘Enable’ button to do so. In the settings page, make sure “Minutes to remember” is set to 5, and “Error Threshold” is set to 10. ( screenshot: ) These are safe values for a standard WordPress install. Don’t forget to hit Save Settings at the bottom of that popup.
  • Under Banned Users, click Configure Settings, and check the “Default Blacklist” and “Ban Lists” then hit “Save Settings” at the bottom of the popup. Screenshot:
    • This will give your site a good starting point and block access to it from a list of bad bots.
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “Local Brute Force Protection”, and set Max Login Attempts Per Host to 5, Max Login Attempts per User to 10, Minutes to Remember to 5, and check the box to automatically ban the “admin” username. Once done, click the Save Settings button. ( screenshot: )
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “Network Brute Force Protection”, check the Ban Reported IPs checkbox (screenshot: ), then click Save Settings.
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “Password Requirements”, and make sure to check the “Enabled” checkbox. I would select “Subscriber” from the drop down in any site that requires any non-administrator user to login to it. Once done, click “Save Settings”.
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “System Tweaks” and check every checkbox, then click “Save Settings”.
  • Click “Configure Settings” under “Wordpress Tweaks”, and check the following checkboxes: Windows live Writer Header, EditURI Header, Comment Spam, and File Editor. Select “Disable XML-RPC” under XML-RPC section, select “Block” for the Multiple Auth attempts by XML-RPC, and select “Restricted Access” for the “REST API”. Check “Force Unique Nickname”, “Disable Extra User Archives”, and “Mitigate Attachment File Traversal Attack”. Click “Save Settings” once you are finished.
  • This concludes the iTheme Security Plugin configuration, now you can get back into your shelled server, and run: sudo service nginx-rc reload to fully apply the rules, and welcome to your highly secured WordPress website!
Kevin Pirnie

Kevin Pirnie

20+ Years of PC and server maintenance & over 15+ years of web development/design experience; you can rest assured that I take every measure possible to ensure your computers are running to their peak potentials. I treat them as if they were mine, and I am quite a stickler about keeping my machines up to date and optimized to run as well as they can.

Our Privacy Policy

Revised: June 8, 2021

Thank you for choosing to be part of my website at (“Company”, “I”, “me”, “mine”). I am committed to protecting your personal information and your right to privacy. If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy notice, or my practices with regards to your personal information, please contact me at .

When you visit my website (the “Website”), and more generally, use any of my services (the “Services”, which include the Website), I appreciate that you are trusting me with your personal information. I take your privacy very seriously. In this privacy notice, I seek to explain to you in the clearest way possible what information we collect, how I use it and what rights you have in relation to it. I hope you take some time to read through it carefully, as it is important. If there are any terms in this privacy notice that you do not agree with, please discontinue use of my Services immediately.

This privacy notice applies to all information collected through my Services (which, as described above, includes our Website), as well as, any related services, sales, marketing or events.

Please read this privacy notice carefully as it will help you understand what I do with the information that I collect.


Information automatically collected

In Short: Some information – such as your Internet Protocol (IP) address and/or browser and device characteristics – is collected automatically when you visit my Website.

I automatically collect certain information when you visit, use or navigate the Website. This information does not reveal your specific identity (like your name or contact information) but may include device and usage information, such as your IP address, browser and device characteristics, operating system, language preferences, referring URLs, device name, country, location, information about how and when you use our Website and other technical information. This information is primarily needed to maintain the security and operation of our Website, and for our internal analytics and reporting purposes.

Like many businesses, I also collect information through cookies and similar technologies.

The information I collect includes:
Log and Usage Data. Log and usage data is service-related, diagnostic, usage and performance information our servers automatically collect when you access or use our Website and which we record in log files. Depending on how you interact with us, this log data may include your IP address, device information, browser type and settings and information about your activity in the Website (such as the date/time stamps associated with your usage, pages and files viewed, searches and other actions you take such as which features you use), device event information (such as system activity, error reports (sometimes called ‘crash dumps’) and hardware settings).

Device Data. I collect device data such as information about your computer, phone, tablet or other device you use to access the Website. Depending on the device used, this device data may include information such as your IP address (or proxy server), device and application identification numbers, location, browser type, hardware model Internet service provider and/or mobile carrier, operating system and system configuration information.

Location Data. I collect location data such as information about your device’s location, which can be either precise or imprecise. How much information I collect depends on the type and settings of the device you use to access the Website. For example, I may use GPS and other technologies to collect geolocation data that tells me your current location (based on your IP address). You can opt out of allowing me to collect this information either by refusing access to the information or by disabling your Location setting on your device. Note however, if you choose to opt out, you may not be able to use certain aspects of the Services.


In Short: I process your information for purposes based on legitimate business interests, the fulfillment of my contract with you, compliance with my legal obligations, and/or your consent.

I use personal information collected via my Website for a variety of business purposes described below. I process your personal information for these purposes in reliance on my legitimate business interests, in order to enter into or perform a contract with you, with your consent, and/or for compliance with my legal obligations. I indicate the specific processing grounds I rely on next to each purpose listed below.

For other business purposes. I may use your information for other business purposes, such as data analysis, identifying usage trends, determining the effectiveness of our promotional campaigns and to evaluate and improve my Website, products, marketing and your experience. I may use and store this information in aggregated and anonymized form so that it is not associated with individual end users and does not include personal information. I will not use identifiable personal information without your consent.


In Short: I only share information with your consent, to comply with laws, to provide you with services, to protect your rights, or to fulfill business obligations.


In Short: I may use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect and store your information.

I may use cookies and similar tracking technologies (like web beacons and pixels) to access or store information. Specific information about how I use such technologies and how you can refuse certain cookies is set out in our Cookie Notice.


In Short: We may transfer, store, and process your information in countries other than your own.

My servers are located in the United States of America, unless otherwise requested by my clients. If you are accessing my Website from outside, please be aware that your information may be transferred to, stored, and processed by me in my facilities and by those third parties with whom I may share your personal information (see “WILL YOUR INFORMATION BE SHARED WITH ANYONE?” above), in and other countries.

If you are a resident in the European Economic Area, then these countries may not necessarily have data protection laws or other similar laws as comprehensive as those in your country. I will however take all necessary measures to protect your personal information in accordance with this privacy notice and applicable law.


In Short: I keep your information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this privacy notice unless otherwise required by law.

I will only keep your personal information for as long as it is necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy notice, unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law (such as tax, accounting or other legal requirements). No purpose in this notice will require me keeping your personal information for longer than 6 months.

When I have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, I will either delete or anonymize such information, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then I will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.


In Short: I aim to protect your personal information through a system of organizational and technical security measures.

I have implemented appropriate technical and organizational security measures designed to protect the security of any personal information I process. However, despite our safeguards and efforts to secure your information, no electronic transmission over the Internet or information storage technology can be guaranteed to be 100% secure, so I cannot promise or guarantee that hackers, cybercriminals, or other unauthorized third parties will not be able to defeat my security, and improperly collect, access, steal, or modify your information. Although I will do my best to protect your personal information, transmission of personal information to and from my Website is at your own risk. You should only access the Website within a secure environment.


In Short: I do not knowingly collect data from or market to children under 18 years of age.

I do not knowingly solicit data from or market to children under 18 years of age. By using the Website, you represent that you are at least 18 or that you are the parent or guardian of such a minor and consent to such minor dependent’s use of the Website. If I learn that personal information from users less than 18 years of age has been collected, I will deactivate the account and take reasonable measures to promptly delete such data from my records. If you become aware of any data I may have collected from children under age 18, please contact me at .


In Short: You may review, change, or terminate your account at any time.

If you are a resident in the European Economic Area and you believe I am unlawfully processing your personal information, you also have the right to complain to your local data protection supervisory authority. You can find their contact details here:

If you are a resident in Switzerland, the contact details for the data protection authorities are available here:

Cookies and similar technologies: Most Web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. If you prefer, you can usually choose to set your browser to remove cookies and to reject cookies. If you choose to remove cookies or reject cookies, this could affect certain features or services of my Website.


Most web browsers and some mobile operating systems and mobile applications include a Do-Not-Track (“DNT”) feature or setting you can activate to signal your privacy preference not to have data about your online browsing activities monitored and collected. At this stage no uniform technology standard for recognizing and implementing DNT signals has been finalized. As such, I do not currently respond to DNT browser signals or any other mechanism that automatically communicates your choice not to be tracked online. If a standard for online tracking is adopted that I must follow in the future, I will inform you about that practice in a revised version of this privacy notice.


In Short: Yes, if you are a resident of California, you are granted specific rights regarding access to your personal information.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83, also known as the “Shine The Light” law, permits my users who are California residents to request and obtain from me, once a year and free of charge, information about categories of personal information (if any) I disclosed to third parties for direct marketing purposes and the names and addresses of all third parties with which I shared personal information in the immediately preceding calendar year. If you are a California resident and would like to make such a request, please submit your request in writing to me using the contact information provided below.

If you are under 18 years of age, reside in California, and have a registered account with the Website, you have the right to request removal of unwanted data that you publicly post on the Website. To request removal of such data, please contact us using the contact information provided below, and include the email address associated with your account and a statement that you reside in California. I will make sure the data is not publicly displayed on the Website, but please be aware that the data may not be completely or comprehensively removed from all my systems (e.g. backups, etc.).


In Short: Yes, I will update this notice as necessary to stay compliant with relevant laws.

I may update this privacy notice from time to time. The updated version will be indicated by an updated “Revised” date and the updated version will be effective as soon as it is accessible. If I make material changes to this privacy notice, I may notify you either by prominently posting a notice of such changes or by directly sending you a notification. We encourage you to review this privacy notice frequently to be informed of how I am protecting your information.


If you have questions or comments about this notice, you may email me at or by post to:

Kevin C. Pirnie

22 Orlando St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
United States of America


Based on the applicable laws of your country, you may have the right to request access to the personal information I collect from you, change that information, or delete it in some circumstances. To request to review, update, or delete your personal information, you may email me at or by post to:

Kevin C. Pirnie

22 Orlando St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
United States of America