Cyber security has become a very hot topic. While just 20 or so years ago, cybercrime was a marginal crime category, it’s slowly becoming one of the lucrative ventures for online criminals. Unfortunately for site owners, websites are one of the most common targets for hackers. What are the best security precautions that can protect both your website and its visitors? Here are the top tips.
Tip #1: Get an SSL
Thanks to Google and their pro-SSL campaign (and Google Chrome update that basically forces website owners to get a certificate), it’s quite possible that you have already heard about all the benefits an SSL can give you. Apart from telling your visitors that your website is safe (huge credibility and trust boost), it helps them establish a secure connection with your server, protecting their data.
“Apart from telling your visitors that your website is safe (huge credibility and trust boost), it helps them establish a secure connection with your server, protecting their data. This is why most people also look if we web hosting provider offers SSL certificates cheaply or even free before hosting their website.”
On top of that it encrypts sensitive information, making them harder to get stolen – as, thanks to the certificate, personal details such as credit card numbers, usernames, and password become unreadable to anyone other than the server. It’s no surprise then that an SSL is required for PCI compliance. Considering how beneficial the certificate is, if you don’t have one yet, you should get your SSL now, before you even look at other tips shared in this article.
Tip #2: Keep Everything Up-to-Date
Keeping your website up to date is essential if you want to be more secure than 75% of all legitimate websites. And it doesn’t cost you anything – all you need is to log in to the site every few days and see if all the addons and other files have their latest versions.
In fact, some content management systems and servers allow you to automate the whole updating thing, especially of the core CMS (such as WordPress version) and server files.
#3: Install Necessary Security Measures Directly on Your Website
WordPress? Joomla? Pure HTML5? Whatever your website is built on, there are many ways in which you can increase its security. From deploying a firewall and a malware scanner to your server to hiding your WordPress installation using special plugins. Speaking of WordPress, considering that it’s the most popular CMS, with nearly 60% of the content management system market share, let’s list the most popular plug-ins which you can use to secure your web property (free):
All in One WP Security & Firewall
One of the most popular security plugins for WordPress, which can both help you secure your site, as well as measure its current security. What makes it different from similar security solutions? The fact that you can apply certain security rules progressively, preventing you from accidentally breaking your site. Which is one of the reasons many people don’t secure their websites properly.
2FA (Two Factor Authentication) is a very effective way of preventing someone from using your login credentials to access the site. By implementing 2FA, you will need to use one of the available authentication methods, which include Google authenticator code, QR code, push notification, as well as security questions, on top of the usual username and password to access the WordPress site.
Cerber Security, Antispam & Malware Scan
The great malware scanner offers a lot more than just defending you from trojans and malware. It’s capable of mitigating brute force attacks, restricting and blacklisting IP addresses, tracking intruders and letting you know about any intrusions using email, mobile and desktop notifications.
On top of that, it comes with a built-in spam engine and protects your contact and comments form with Google reCaptcha. Lastly, it allows you to change the URL of the login page – although the next plugin might be a bit better option for that.
WPS Hide Login
A neat little plugin allowing you to hide your WordPress login page by changing its URL. Unlike many other similar solutions, it doesn’t rename or change the files in the core, which makes it a safe solution for those with a complicated website structure, who are afraid a change like this could harm their fragile WP setup (what sometimes happens with other plugins, especially if the site is hosted on a Nginx server).
Just like you backup your phone data, such as contacts, important files or photos, you should create secure copies of your website. Just do that more often than every few months. If you work on your website on a daily basis, you should create backups at least daily. Sounds like much?
Imagine failing to do so and having to re-create weeks of work due to security breach or server failure. By having secure backup copies of your site, you can easily deploy one of them anytime there is something wrong with the site. And the best is, it’s very easy to automate the whole process – all you need is to follow the next tip.
Tip #5: Use a Reputable Hosting
This should go without saying – you can only do so much to secure your site yourself. To take your server security to the next level, you need a team of experienced server developers and admins, who know how to deploy and implement certain security measures on the server-end properly. This can be achieved by choosing a reputable, well-reviewed company.
Naturally, if you want to fully benefit from their expertise, such a company should offer managed hosting packages (in which they take care of everything for you – from deploying the physical hardware to installing all server-site software and helping you fight bugs & intrusions), and its team members should be available for you 24/7.
Why real-time support is so important? By being able to get in touch with a developer anytime you need to, you can stop any potential security breach as soon as you notice it happening – even if you have no idea how to do that yourself.
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