These days, with the plurality of open source, content management systems (CMS), it has become relatively easy for people to setup websites. And as such, many website owners, are their personal webmasters. But with the plurality and popularity of open source, CMS projects, also come multiple loopholes for website attacks.
Thus, on daily basis, so many websites are being compromised. Especially as most website owners pay little or no attention to website security. At best, most of them only begin to take steps, when their websites has already come under serious attacks. And before most of them manage to come out of it, allots of damages must have been done.
So in this article, I will be revealing the topmost, steps you need to be taking in your website, in order to improve your website security. Even though none of these steps can guarantee 100% security of your website, they are effective enough to prevent most website attacks. And also ensure that even if an attack succeeds on your website, you would be able to recover your data and bounce back as quickly as possible.
How to Effectively Improve Your Website Security
Listed below are 8 effective ways, you can improve the security of your website against attacks:
- Keep Software and Plugins Updated: The number one way to keep your website secure, is to continually update your software and plugins. Especially, if you use open source and popular projects, like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
Then if your website is running on an open source script or framework, such as PHP or Laravel, you should also be updating your scripts and frameworks for better security.
Open source projects, always update their platforms with new features and security patches. And if you don’t follow along with these updates, as quickly as possible, your website could become vulnerable to brute force attacks.
- Enforce Strong Password Policy: Enforcing strong password policy, is another effective way to increase your website security. If you are using a CMS, such as WordPress or Joomla, ensure your admin login password is strong enough for the best security purposes. If you are to give others admin privileges, ensure they also use strong passwords.
Then if your website is a custom application, you should ensure the application enforces a strong password policy for the users. When signing up to your website, the users should be compelled to use secure passwords. Basically, a secure password should be made up of a mixture of alphabets, numbers and special characters; and should be about 8 characters and above. Then you should change your admin and cpanel passwords frequently, for better security.
- Use A Secured Hosting Service: A web hosting service is basically, the platform where you upload your website for public access on the Internet. To ensure effective security of your website, you should host your website with a reputable and secure web host, such as Hostgator.
When setting up a website, the temptation to use cheap webhosting, in order to cut cost is always there. But most cheap web hosting, goes with lots of security loopholes; basically, because of the number of people using the hosting service.
- Use HTTPS and SSL: To secure your website against interception of data on transit, when browsing and transacting on your website, you should ensure your website URL uses HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), instead of HTTP.
Then you should also invest in SSL (Secure Socket Layers), in order to secure your users information; especially if users make transactions in your website, with credit cards. There are free SSL certificates, but for better data security, you should invest in paid SSL.
- Always Clean Up Your Website: By Cleaning up your website, I mean you should always delete every file and plugin that you are no longer using in your website. Useless files and plugins you leave in your cpanel or server, could be exploited for devastating attacks on your website.
So you should consistently clean up your website for security reason; by deleting any useless file, plugin, database or theme in your website server.
- Do Regular Malware Scanning: Malwares are malicious softwares used for hacking websites. They are introduced into a website through different means. They can be in your website without your knowledge.
And while they are there unnoticed, they can be used to introduce other malwares for attacking your website, until a hack eventually succeeds. So to improve your website security, you need to be consistently, doing malware scanning of your website.
You can use the services of Sucuri to be consistently scanning your website. And if you discover there is any malware in your website, you should look for a way to get rid of it. But if you can’t remove it yourself, you can contact an expert in Sucuri to remove it for you.
- Backup Your Website Regularly: A great way for securing your website is to be consistently backing up your website. You should consistently backup your website, in case a brute force attack succeeds on your website, in spite of your preventive efforts, you can have a way of restoring your website; within the shortest possible time.
Most CMS like WordPress, has softwares that help you with your website backup, with relative ease. For greater safety, you should backup your website data, outside your hosting server, and even on an external hard drive or computer. Then you can also backup your website files, in a cloud storage service.
- Subscribe for Expert Web Security Services: Added to the above, listed web security tactics, you can also invest in expert, web security services. Because most of the time, due to your engagements, you may not be all that committed to all these security measures.
Then in case you discover an attack on your website, you can easily contact them for quick intervention. When it comes to reliable, expert, web security services, I recommend Sucuri…
I use the services of Sucuri for my website security. Sucuri offers Web Application Firewall (WAF) and daily malware scanning and removal services. If your website is under attack, you can use the expert services of Sucuri to remedy the situation.
Conclusion: With website attacks increasing at a warp speed these days, listed above are the 8 effective ways, you can improve your website security. If you are a website owner, or webmaster, I strongly advise you to consistently commit yourself to these preventive measures, as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait until your website comes under attack, before taking these preventive measures. It is better to prevent fire, than put off fire.
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