What Is xmlrpc.php?
XML-RPC is a remote procedure call (RPC) protocol, a feature included in WordPress, which enables data to be transmitted. It uses HTTP as the transport mechanism, and XML to encode its calls.
Unless you use remote technologies and mobile applications to update your WordPress site, you might not be familiar with XML-RPC. For the uninitiated, you can use xmlrpc.php to establish a remote connection to WordPress, and make updates to your site without directly logging in to your WordPress system.
XML-RPC is indeed useful for enabling remote connections between various external applications and WordPress. On the other hand, disabling this feature can help improve your site’s security.
Why You Should Disable xmlrpc.php?
The problem is that xmlrpc.php poses a security risk. It creates an additional access point to your site, which could leave it vulnerable to external attacks. Every time you authenticate XML-RPC, you need to supply your username and password. As you can imagine, this isn’t exactly ideal for security purposes.
For example, in order to prevent brute force attacks, you can limit login attempts on your WordPress site. However, with XML-RPC enabled, that limit does not exist. There’s no capping on login attempts, which means it’s only a matter of time before a determined cybercriminal gains access.
By disabling the feature, you are closing a potential area of entry for hackers.
XML-RPC functionality is turned on by default since WordPress 3.5. This plugin completely disables the XML-RPC API which can be abused by hackers on a WordPress site, providing an easy and simple way to disable/enable the XML-RPC API.
- WordPress 3.8.1 or higher.
- Upload the simple-xml-rpc-disabler directory to the
/wp-content/plugins/directory in your WordPress installation
- Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
- XML-RPC is now disabled!
To re-enable XML-RPC, just deactivate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.
Why this plugin?
This plugin completely disables the XML-RPC API which can be abused by hackers on a WordPress site. If security is your top priority, this may be a step you want to consider. Additionally, if remote connections aren’t something you deal with on a day-to-day basis, you likely won’t miss the feature when it’s gone. In this situation, you have nothing to lose and only an added layer of security to gain.
How to know if the plugin is working?
You can try the XML-RPC Validator, written by Danilo Ercoli. Keep in mind that you want the validator to fail and tell you that XML-RPC services are disabled.
Plugin seems broken …
If the plugin is activated, but XML-RPC appears to still be enabled or if the plugin is deactivated, but XML-RPC appears to still be disabled, then it’s possible that another plugin or the theme functions is affecting the xmlrpc_enabled filter. Additionally, server configurations could be blocking XML-RPC (i.e. blocking access to xmlrpc.php with the .htaccess file).
<Files xmlrpc.php> Order allow,deny Deny from all Allow from 188.8.131.52 </Files>
Will disabling XML-RPC affect SEO?
The XML-RPC API or xmlrpc.php for WordPress, has nothing to do with SEO.
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Contributors & Developers
“Simple XML-RPC Disabler” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.Contributors
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Interested in development?
Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.
- Initial release
- Corrected readme.txt and added plugin banner and icon
- Tested ready for WordPress 5.7.0+