Website security is a primary concern in this tech-laden era. On average, website attacks occur every 39 seconds. There are lots of ways you can safeguard yourself from potential attacks. Here, we’re going to talk about 10 ways you can secure your website.
1. Update Your Software Regularly
Arguably the most important thing you should do to secure your website is to keep your software up-to-date. Outdated software is rife with security holes, making your website more susceptible to attacks.
Software updates address these vulnerabilities as well as fix bugs and roll out enhancements to improve user experience. Update requests must always be taken seriously and acted on as soon as possible.
Check your website for pending updates regularly or install a notification plugin to make sure you never miss an upgrade. You can also enable automatic updates if it’s available on your platform.
2. Choose a Secure Web Host
Today’s market is filled with a ton of cheap web hosting services. Although these seem like practical grabs, they come with several drawbacks. Cheap web hosts typically offer shared hosting services, meaning its resources are divided between you and countless others.
Running on a shared server harms site speed as bandwidth is spread thinly across multiple websites. But a more pressing issue is that you also share one IP address. This makes it easier for computer hackers to mine data once it infiltrates even a single website on the server.
Opt for a reliable web hosting company that has ongoing technical support and can accommodate dedicated hosting. You should also check if they offer SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) and file backup services.
3. Research Your Plugins
Plugins have evolved into indispensable tools on websites. They provide a range of added functionalities that would otherwise be unavailable on your pages. If you’re using a content management system (CMS), you can find a mountain of options right on your dashboard.
A wider selection is available on marketplaces or from the libraries of third-party developers. While it’s tempting to get plugins with enticing descriptions and functionalities, it’s good practice to do your research first before installing.
Poorly coded plugins pose security threats and negatively affect page loading times. Look up the source of your desired plugins to verify if they’re reliable. Also, check out comments on community support forums and ensure they’re still supported and up-to-date.
The best course of action is to outsource your web development project to a team of experts. Seasoned web developers can custom-build themes and plugins to match your needs so there would hardly be the need to install add-ons.
4. Use SSL encryption
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts sensitive information so they may be transmitted safely from a browser to a web server and vice versa. SSL works by using public key encryption (PKI) to generate keys (or certificates) to encipher and decipher messages.
SSL encryption starts when a copy of the public key is sent to the browser. After the client confirms that the SSL certificate is trustworthy, it sends back an encrypted message. Since only the server has the private key, it’s almost impossible to decipher the information exchanged.
Having this layer of security makes it much harder for hackers to steal login credentials, bank details, and other private data. Investing in SSL certificates is especially important for e-commerce websites to put customers at ease when divulging personal information.
5. Limit Administrator Access
It’s not uncommon for websites to have multiple administrators. Those involved in frontend and backend development must have some level of control over your pages to do their job. What’s crucial here is setting boundaries on their administrative privileges.
Granting the same level of access to every user puts your website and its contents at risk. Full administrator rights give the power to make significant changes to your framework, bypass security measures, and pull up sensitive data.
Identify which tasks need administrator privileges and restrict access to only a handful of accounts. Make sure you can trust the people who can log in to these accounts. Better yet, create separate accounts for different staff and provide only the least possible administrator rights they need to implement enhancements.
6. Require Strong Passwords
Technological advancements have afforded us great tools to improve website performance. Unfortunately, these strides have also equipped computer hackers with sophisticated software to crack passwords and steal data.
To protect yourself from such attacks, enforce a strong password policy on all users, especially on privileged accounts. Require passwords to have special characters, numbers, and mix of upper and lower case letters. Encourage complicated combinations that are lengthy and have nothing to do with a user’s personal information.
Consider adding a password strength meter directly on your website. You can avail of online tools and embed them onto your signup page or have your web developer build one for you from scratch.
7. Change Default Settings
When you’re developing a website using a CMS, it comes with a number of default settings. These may be useful starting points for novice developers, but in terms of security, it’s never a good idea to leave them as-is.
Preselected configurations typically allow any type of user to read and write file contents, as well as execute program files or whatever script. Everyone who visits your website can install extensions, control elements, adjust blocks, and more.
This is why automated attacks target domains with their CMS settings on default. The moment you install your CMS, make it a point to change users and permission settings right away. Doing so will save you the trouble of running into security threats after your launch.
8. Declutter Your Website
Over time, your website will collect a lot of unused information. Some plugins that were useful in the past may be replaced by better tools or become nulled. When this happens, hackers gain multiple points of entry.
Protect your website by keeping it organized. Delete files, plugins, and apps that are no longer in use or have no vital role in your operations.
Streamline this process by constantly optimizing your pages and tracking every little tweak you did since day one. This will not only ward off potential attacks but also boost the overall quality of your website.
9. Regularly Scan for Vulnerabilities
Aggressive hackers keep an eye out for weak spots to exploit. Because vulnerabilities aren’t always obvious, you may only take notice until after the damage is done. Guard against these unpleasant surprises by conducting regular web security scans for malware and security threats.
There are paid and free tools you can get on the Internet which provide reports and quick fixes. The problem is not every tool out there can detect all the lapses in your lines of defense. A more effective alternative is working with web developers who are also security experts.
Seasoned professionals perform in-depth website security audits and give long-term solutions. Schedule these scans regularly and be prepared to accommodate the improvements needed to protect your site.
10. Backup Your Data
Even if you cross everything off this list, it’s safest to backup your data to ensure you don’t lose any of your hard work. Copy your files and save them on a separate database every so often.
You can use plugins or extensions to automate creating backups but at the same time, you should know how to do it manually.
In the case of major security incidents, you have a fail-safe that can help you recover damaged or lost files.
Need to optimize your website? Work with a team of expert web developers and designers and see your business grow. Contact DevWerkz today.