June 13, 2019
How to Increase Your Website’s Security
Once your website is up and running, you have to maintain it. One key maintenance task is to manage website security. So, how do you best protect your site from hackers, viruses, and other malicious wrongdoing? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some simple ways you can keep your site healthy and secure.
It is crucial to keep software updated across your site. Hackers aggressively search for (and find) security holes. Staying up-to-date with patches and new packages will combat this.
In addition, since many attacks are automated, scheduled monthly or weekly updates are no longer sufficient. Attack bots scan sites looking for exploitation opportunities. They will find vulnerabilities before you patch them unless you use a website firewall. We recommend using firewalls to patch security holes as they are released.
Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are key to your website’s security. Hackers will use software designed to forcibly breach passwords. To protect against this, your passwords should be:
- Unique – don’t reuse passwords across applications or sites.
- Random and complex – if you can easily say your password aloud, password cracking software will be able to read it.
- Ten characters minimum – the longer it is, the longer it takes to crack it.
All passwords should also contain both upper and lowercase letters as well as numerals and special characters.
You may want to try using a password manager for your site and other accounts. This is a great way to keep all your passwords safe and in check. A password manager stores and manages users passwords for a variety of online accounts. This allows users to create complex, secure, and unique passwords without having to remember (or write down) each one individually.
If you are using a tool like WordPress, you will likely need plugins to run certain features on your site. These are often third-party applications that give other systems access to your site. This doesn’t have to make you vulnerable, however, if you follow a few simple guidelines. We recommend:
- Researching plugins – be sure they have security standards.
- Don’t overdo it – keep the number of plugins you use to a minimum.
- Keep your plugins up-to-date – have a set day each week to check for updates.
Following these tips will allow you to reap the benefits of having plugins without risking the possible vulnerabilities.
Trust Your Host
Where you choose to host your site is also important. Without proper security, hosting platforms can also be hacked. Do your research and find a platform that does regular audits and has security built into their software and hosting. Some hosts protect portals and sessions with encryption, advanced protocols, and 2,048-bit keys. Others dynamically and automatically block attacks.
If you are using a content delivery network (CDN), you’ll also want to be sure that it has multiple data centers. There are physical servers storing your data and if one is compromised, you want to know there are others with backups.
Back it Up
Of course, you don’t want your website hacked, however, should it happen, you want to be prepared. Website backups will help you recover your site should a major breach occur. While backups are not replacements for security solutions, they can help recover damaged files.
To begin with, a good backup solution must be off-site. Storing backups on your website’s server makes them as vulnerable to attacks as your other data. Off-site, just as with your hosting platform, your backups will be protected from hardware failure and hackers.
In addition, backups should be scheduled automatically. Use a backup solution that you don’t have to remember to do.
Finally, be sure you have a recovery system that works before you need it. Test your backups and create backups of your backups. The last thing you want is to find out, after a breach, that your backup didn’t take. You want to create a fool-proof system that will recover files from before the hacking point.
Follow these guidelines and you will boost the security of your website. While there is no guarantee you will never have a breach, you can reduce your risk and do quick damage control should one occur. Have questions about the best ways to beef up security on your site? We can help.