WordPress Guide: Website GDPR Compliance

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Best Practices to Ensuring GDPR Compliance for your WordPress Website

WordPress Guide: Website GDPR Compliance

The European Union has explicit and mandatory regulations towards collecting data, and companies globally are expected to abide by their compliance laws. What are the punishments for breaking these laws? A suspension of your website's ability to process data, 4% of your company's annual revenue, or twenty million Euros—whichever is the biggest. That's a lot of money, and a startup can get caught up in an unwarranted lawsuit if they break the GDPR laws. But do not panic: this article will help you understand GDPR laws (as they pertain to your WordPress site), including WordPress privacy policy, WordPress cookie consent, WordPress's role in GDPR, and WordPress tools and plugins for an overall GDPR compliant site.

Best Practices to Ensuring GDRP Compliance for your WordPress Website

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, and we are not responsible for the consequences of your actions or inactions after reading this article. If you want legal advice, you should contact your lawyer for clarity.


What is GDPR and Why is it Important?

GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation, is an EU law that protects the data of its citizens online and establishes rules on how websites use these data. Before the advent of GDPR, consumer data was not protected (it's not like we are thoroughly covered at the moment, but it's an improvement from the tech-boom days).GDPR intervened and decided to enact laws that companies had to abide by and process consumer information. These laws are not only levied on big companies like Facebook and Google (although they are mostly targeted at them since they can do the most significant damage to the most enormous numbers of consumer data); they are levied on all websites worldwide.

Yes, as long as EU members read your posts or purchase anything from your site, you must be GDPR compliant, and since there is no way to prove that non-Europeans only consume your website content, it's essential to remain compliant.

What is WordPress' Privacy Policy and How does it protect users?

WordPress GDPR Best Practices

The WordPress privacy policy is a legal document that must be found in your site in any area you decide to collect or process consumer data. These include comment sections, subscription forms, contact forms, forms embedded in pop-ups, woo commerce forms, embedded links from payment gateways, and every other place where there is an exchange of consumer information.

GDPR mandates all companies to reveal to consumers what they will do with their data and how their data is being used. When someone logs into your site, there are pieces of data called cookies. These cookies store the person's data on your site to help the site remember when he revisits the site. Often the GDPR compliance for this sort of protection on a WordPress hosted site is called WordPress cookie consent. Today all websites are expected to follow a set of cookie rules and inform all users that cookies within the site perform specific functions.

Explicit Consent

When you collect personal data from the European Union residents, you must state, explicitly, what the data will do. If someone subscribes to your weekly newsletter and does not subscribe to product updates, you should not send product updates to the person: it's spamming and annoying and wrong. If you observe some websites, you will notice that they provide an option to tick up to four boxes when registering for updates. Each box represents different newsletters. They can have one for product update, another for general news, and another for administrative changes on the site. If you tick one and keep sending you messages on the rest newsletter types, they are spamming you.

Data Protection Officers

If your business is extensive, if you process comprehensive data or a public company, you must have an authorized data protection officer from the government who does frequent data monitoring. Are you in doubt if your company should have a data protection officer? Contact a lawyer immediately.

GDPR ensures that companies do not sell customer data information to third parties without consent, lend data to third parties without consent, share data with third parties without permission, or spam consumers with unsolicited emails. GDPR ensures that consumer information is well protected by all times.

Notification of Security Breach

Yahoo was one of the world's most famous companies—until it got breached and covered it up. If your company has been breached, you need to let the relevant authorities know. Hiding a breach from the relevant authorities is wrong and, perhaps, a crime.

Making Your WordPress Site GDPR Compliant

Your site has different areas where you collect user information, and you have to protect a user's Personal Identifying Information—PII.

The GDPR compliance document is 200 pages—hectic, right? Yes, but you are in luck; we will summarize the essential parts of the documents and how you can comply with the GDPR.

Breaking down the GDPR Compliant Standards and Privacy Policy

Is WordPress GDPR Compliant?

Of course, WordPress is GDPR compliant, so you are building your site on a platform that respects user information. While WordPress version 4.9.6 and versions after have pre-existing WordPress privacy policy pages and some GDPR compliant add-ons for different plugins, the site maker also provides designers and developer's plugins and tools to make their sites further GDPR compliant. Here are some areas that you must stay aware of the WordPress privacy policy attached.


The comment section of your website allows visitors to post comments on your posts. It's an excellent way to get your audience's views on your posts; however, before a comment can be posted, a user needs to put down some personal information, including name, email address, and website. Usually, before GDPR laws came into effect in 2018, WordPress would, by default, store a user's comment name, website, and email addresses, to make it easier for the site to remember the user when next he/she tries to post a comment.

Today, a website is required to put a consent box—or add a WordPress cookie consent where users are explicitly asked if they want their name, email address, and website remembered by the site.

WordPress Plugins that Store and Process Data

There are many WordPress plugins and tools that store and process user data. When using these tools or plugins, you have to ensure that you are GDPR compliant. Categories of plugins or tools that store and process user data include contact forms, email marketing, google analytics tool, membership pages, and more.

While some of these plugins take the extra steps of being GDPR compliant, others may not necessarily do. For example, the WP Contact Form plugin does not store contacts in their database, instead, they store users' information on your WordPress database.

WordPress Privacy Policy Generator

Some themes come with extensive WordPress privacy policy pages. These pages are almost all-inclusive, and you can edit your company's needs. There is also a WordPress privacy policy generator that provides you with privacy policy templates and guides you on chapters to include in your WordPress privacy policy. More security may be necessary for WordPress HIPAA compliance.

WordPress Cookie Consent

Here, your users must be informed that their activities on your site are being tracked by cookies and give them an option to remain on the site or leave.

Contact Forms

It's impossible to run a site without having forms on your site; however, to be GDPR compliant, adhere to the instructions below: If you are using a SaaS form solution, ensure that you and your users have a data processing agreement. Do not proceed without a deal as it will be a violation of your users' data.

For every form where you will be storing users' information, create boxes that must be ticked if a user wants you to: Use their information for marketing purposes. Store and process their information.

Comply with unsubscribing and delete requests: If a user unsubscribes from whatever newsletter he once subscribed for, delete the user's info immediately and desist from sending such user unsolicited messages.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool used for processing WordPress statistics and performance. When using google analytics, ensure that you do not store user data without setting the specifics as anonymous, and let users know that they are being tracked.

If your google analytics dashboard shows users' location, you are probably not GDPR compliant. When you implement google analytics by just putting a code snippet in your header or footer, you will not achieve GDPR operation standards; however, Monster insights is a WordPress privacy plugin that automates google analytics' consent process.

There are other areas of your WordPress site that you must ensure that you are GDPR compliant. They include Email Marketing Forms (herein, you have to expressly ask the user for permission before sending them marketing ads), E-commerce, affiliate links, google ads, surveys, and more.

How can we help

Clarity WordPress Experts

Abiding to WordPress Privacy Policy regulations will make the site safe for your audience. Whenever you operate a WordPress plugin that asks for user information, it is the best practice to provide options for your users to give you permission to store and process information expressly.

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