The convenience of creating websites has increased in recent years. Business owners are now webmasters, thanks to content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla. The responsibility for website security is now in your hands. However, many website owners are unsure how to keep their sites secure. Customers who use an online credit card payment processor need to know that their information is secure. Visitors do not want their personal information to get into the hands of the wrong people. Users want a secure online experience regardless of whether they own a small or large business.
According to a 2019 analysis by Google Registry and The Harris Poll, while more individuals are establishing websites, the majority of Americans have a large knowledge gap when it comes to online security protection.
While 55% of respondents rated themselves an A or B for internet safety, 70% mistakenly recognised what a safe URL for a website should look like.
There are several methods for assuring yourself, your staff, and consumers that your website is secure. Website security does not have to be an educated assumption. Take critical actions to improve the security of your website. Assist in keeping data safe from prying eyes.
No approach can ensure that your website will always be “hacker-free.” The deployment of preventative measures will lessen the vulnerability of your site. Website security is both an easy and difficult procedure. Before it’s too late, there are at least 10 critical actions you can take to strengthen website security.
Owners must keep consumer information secure even while operating online. Take all required measures and don’t leave anything to chance.
It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your website.
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How to Make Your Websites More Secure
1. Maintain Software and Plugins
Every day, many websites are infiltrated as a result of obsolete software. Potential hackers and bots are examining websites for vulnerabilities.
Updates are critical to your website’s health and security. Your site is not secure if the software or apps on it are out of date.
Take all requests for software and plugin updates seriously.
Updates frequently include security upgrades and vulnerability fixes. Check for updates on your website or install an update notification plugin. Automatic updates are another solution for ensuring website security on some platforms.
The longer you delay, the more vulnerable your site will become. Prioritize upgrading your website and its components.
2. Including HTTPS and an SSL Certificate
A secure URL is required to make your website secure. If your site users offer to provide you with confidential information, you must use HTTPS rather than HTTP to convey it.
What exactly is HTTP?
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol that provides Internet security. HTTPS avoids content interceptions and disruptions while it is in transit.
Your website also needs an SSL Certificate in order to establish a secure internet connection. If your website requires users to register, sign up, or make any form of transaction, you must encrypt your connection.
What exactly is SSL?
Another essential web protocol is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This exchanges personal information between the website and your database. SSL encrypts data to prevent others from accessing it while it is in transit.
It also prevents individuals without sufficient permission from accessing the data. GlobalSign is an example of an SSL certificate that is compatible with the majority of websites.
3. Choose a Smart Password
It’s difficult to keep track of all the websites, databases, and apps that require passwords. To remember their login credentials, many users use the same password on many sites.
However, this is a severe security flaw.
Make a fresh password for each new login request. Create passwords that are complex, unpredictable, and tough to guess. Then, save them somewhere other than the website’s directory.
As an example, as a password, you might use a 14-digit combination of letters and numbers. The password(s) might then be saved in an offline file, a smartphone, or a separate computer.
Your CMS will prompt you for a login, and you must create a strong password. Also, avoid putting any personal information in your password. Make it entirely unguessable by not using your birthday or pet’s name.
Change your password after three months, or sooner, and then repeat. Smart passwords are lengthy and should always contain at least twelve characters. Your password must include both numbers and symbols. Make an effort to alternate uppercase and lowercase letters.
Never reuse a password or share it with others. If you are a business owner or CMS manager, make sure that all workers update their passwords on a regular basis.
4. Use a Secure Web Host
Consider your website’s domain name to be like a street address. Consider your web host to be the “real estate” on which your website sits online.
You must investigate possible web hosts in the same way that you would research a plot of land to build a house.
Many providers offer server security tools to help secure your submitted website data. When selecting a host, there are several factors to consider.
If you are a business owner or CMS manager, make sure all staff update their passwords on a regular basis.
- A Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is available from the web host? SFTP.
- Is it possible to prevent FTP Use by Unknown Users?
- Does it employ a Rootkit Scanner?
- Is it able to provide file backup services?
- How well do they keep up with security updates?
Make sure your web host, whether SiteGround or WP Engine, has everything you need to keep your site safe.
5. Keep track of user access and administrative privileges
You may first feel at ease allowing multiple high-level staff access to your website. You grant each administrator access with the expectation that they will use their site responsibly. This is the ideal circumstance, but it is not always the case.
Unfortunately, when workers connect to the CMS, they do not consider website security. Instead, their attention is focused on the work at hand.
If they make a mistake or ignore an issue, it can lead to serious security problems.
It is critical to thoroughly verify your personnel before granting them online access. Find out whether they’ve used your CMS before and what to check for to avoid a security risk.
Educate all CMS users on the significance of passwords and software upgrades. Inform them of all the ways they may contribute to the website’s security.
Make a record and update it frequently to keep track of who has access to your CMS and their administrative settings.
Employees arrive and go. Keeping a tangible record of who does what on your website is one of the greatest strategies to avoid security risks.
When it comes to user access, be cautious.
6. Modify the Default CMS Settings
The majority of website assaults are fully automated. Many attack bots rely on users leaving their CMS settings at default.
Change your default settings immediately after selecting your CMS. Changes assist to avoid a huge number of assaults.
CMS settings can involve modifying control comments, user visibility, and permissions.
‘File permissions’ is an excellent example of a default configuration adjustment you should make. You may adjust the permissions of a file to determine who can do what to it.
Each file has three permissions and a number for each permission:
- ‘Read'(4): Displays the contents of the file.
- ‘Write'(2): Modify the file’s contents.
- ‘Execute'(1): Start the application or script.
To be more specific, if you wish to grant several permissions, put the numbers together. For example, if you want to allow read (4) and write (2), set the user permission to 6.
There are three user types in addition to the typical file permission settings:
- Owner – Usually the file’s creator, however, ownership can be altered. At any given moment, only one user can be the owner.
- A group is given to each file. Users who are members of that specific group will have access to the group’s permissions.
- The general public is everyone else.
Personalize users and their permissions. If you leave the default settings alone, you will encounter website security concerns at some time.
7. Website Backup
Having a robust backup solution is one of the greatest ways to keep your site safe. You should have multiples. Each is critical to restoring your website following a significant security attack.
You may utilise a variety of ways to assist restore damaged or missing files.
Keep your website’s data off-site. Backups should not be stored on the same server as your website; they are just as vulnerable to assaults.
You can maintain your website backup on a personal computer or hard disc. Find an off-site location to keep your data safe from hardware failures, hackers, and viruses.
Another alternative is to save your website’s backups on the cloud. It simplifies data storage and provides access to information from anywhere.
Aside from deciding where to back up your website, you need to think about automating it. Use a service that allows you to plan site backups. You should also ensure that your solution has a dependable recovery method.
Make your backup procedure redundant — backup your backup.
This allows you to recover files from any point prior to the breach or infection.
8. Understand the Web Server Configuration Files
Learn about your web server’s configuration files. They may be found in the main web directory. You may manage server rules using web server configuration files. This offers instructions for improving the security of your website.
Every server uses a separate set of file types. Discover more about the one you use.
- Apache web servers use the .htaccess file
- Nginx servers use nginx.conf
- Microsoft IIS servers use web.config
Not every webmaster is aware of the web server they are using. If you are one of them, verify your website with a website scanner such as Site check. It checks for known malware, viruses, blacklisting, website problems, and other issues.
The more you know about your website’s present condition of security, the better. It provides you time to remedy it before it causes any damage.
9. Request a Web Application Firewall.
Make certain that you apply for a web application firewall (WAF). It connects your website server to the data connection. The goal is to read every piece of data that travels through it in order to safeguard your website.
Most WAFs are now cloud-based and plug-and-play services. The cloud service acts as a gateway for all incoming traffic, preventing any hacking attempts. Other sorts of undesirable traffic, such as spammers and harmful bots, are also blocked.
10. Increase Network Security
When you believe your website is safe, you should examine your network security. Employees who utilise workplace laptops may unintentionally create a dangerous path to your website. Consider the following at your company to prevent them from gaining access to your website’s server:
- Allow computer logins to expire after a certain amount of idleness.
- Make sure your system alerts users of password changes every three months.
- Ensure that all network-connected devices are screened for malware each time they are connected.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What scripts are currently active on my website?
What tools and programmes do you use to improve your website? Going a step further, what scripts are active on your website?
Thousands of third-party website scripts are commonly used by marketing teams to attain these objectives. They include mentioning a few, analytics, trackers, live or virtual consumer involvement, social networking scripts, and site monetization through advertising. New and creative website scripts are continuously being created, and the businesses that effectively exploit them will have a competitive advantage over their colleagues and competitors
- Am I consulted each time a new script is uploaded to our website?
If you do not believe you need to be consulted, what precautions should be taken to guarantee there is a process in place for checks and balances for your website security? Depending on the size of your firm, you may not have a daily summary of your team’s inner workings.
The security team may be regularly monitoring third-party scripts, which is an excellent starting step in protecting client-side websites. However, many people overlook how website owners treat fourth- and fifth-party scripts that permitted third-party scripts deliver to your website.