How to Secure your Website – A Security Checklist

How to Secure your Website

Website security is one of the major concerns for business owners. But as a business owner do you know how to secure your website?

Securely owning and operating a website does not have to be a daunting task. There are some specific things you should know when owning a website to help keep it secure. As hackers get more and more advanced you may have to change and adapt the way you secure your site. However, the things we will mention here in our blog are the most up-to-date security measures that you can take as a website owner. 

No matter what type of website you own there are hackers out there waiting to break in and take control of your site. With a few easy steps, you can secure your site to ensure that your business and customers are not affected by malicious malware. 

So, do you know how to secure your website? Advanced technology has made it increasingly easy for the average Joe to create and run a website. Platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, and Joomla allow users to create a fully functional website within a few minutes. However, what a lot of website owners forget is securing their site. 

If you have taken on the task of creating your website, you now have to ensure it is secure. This can be difficult if you are running an eCommerce site that processes payments. You have to ensure your customers’ data is safe when entering it into your site. Otherwise, they are at risk for identity theft. 

A report by Google Registry and The Harris Poll showed that while a majority of people can create a website, most do not have any knowledge about online security. Website security should not be handled as a guessing game. There are some essential steps that you need to take to ensure the security of your site. 

10 Steps To Follow For Efficiently Securing Your Website

So, you should now be ready to learn how to secure your website? In this section, we will go over all the things you should do to help keep your website a secure place for your customers to visit and buy from. Some will be as easy as just clicking a few options, and others may require you to download a plugin. All will be essential to the security of your site. 

#1 Keep Software And Plugins Up-To-Date

You always want to make sure you are running up-to-date software. These updates are vital to the health of your site, as well as the security. If you are running outdated software then your site is not secure. Remember, potential hackers and bots are always scanning the web for vulnerable sites. 

 Be sure to take all updates seriously. This goes for software, as well as plugins. A lot of times updates will contain security enhancements to help repair vulnerable software or plugins. WordPress and some other platforms will allow you to opt for automatic updates. This will save you time and ensure your site is running the news software. Be sure that you make updating your site a top priority. 

#2 Add HTTPS and an SSL Certificate

How to secure your website? For your website to be safe you need to make sure you are using a secure URL. Google now requires sites to use an SSL. If your site does not, it may contain a screen telling customers that they are entering an unsecured site. 

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This is a protocol that ensures security. HTTPS will prevent interceptions and interruptions while content is in transit. For your website to have a secure online connection you will also have to have an SSL Certificate. If you are asking customers for personal information then you need to ensure you are using an encrypted connection. 

 People will know that your site is secure when they look at the URL and see HTTPS in front of the web address. 

 What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is a must-have nowadays. Google took the steps back in 2018 and if your site does not have an SSL they will put up a splash screen warning customers that they are entering an unsecured site. 

An SSL will transfer your customer’s information between your website and database. It will encrypt their information to prevent others from being able to access it during transit. SSL also denies anyone access to this data if they do not have the proper authority. 

Once you have purchased and set up your SSL Certificate the URL to your website will contain HTTPS at the beginning of the web address. 

#3 Choose a Smart Password

Every website we go to seems to want a username and password. It can be hard to track them so a lot of people will use the same username and password across the board. While this makes it easy for you to remember it is not secure. 

This is a huge security risk. If a hacker gets ahold of your username and password they will have access to everything you log into. Think about that for a minute! For this reason, you want to come up with a unique password for each login. You want to create passwords that are random and difficult to guess. 

You can then store your passwords offline so that they will not be easily accessed. You do not want to use personal information in your passwords. This is a huge mistake that a lot of people make. Do not use your birthday or pet’s name. These things can easily be found with a quick search on social media. Go with something that is completely unguessable. 

It is best to change your passwords every 3 months. You should always use a combination of numbers and symbols. Be sure to also alternate between uppercase and lowercase letters. Never use the same password that you have had before, and be sure you do not share it with anyone. 

#4 Use a Secure Web Host

Let us break this down for you so you can get an understanding of what hosting is. Your website can be thought of as a street address. Your web hosting would be the real estate where your website exists online. Just like you do when you hire a contractor to build you a house, you need to research hosts and see which one suits your needs. 

Not all hosting companies are created equally. They will offer you various packages that will include a variety of options. When it comes to security, here are the things you want to look for when choosing a host:

Does the hosting company offer SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)?

  • Do they have a Rootkit Scanner?
  • What type of backup service do they offer?
  • Are they on top of security upgrades?

 No matter what host you choose to go with, make sure they offer the tools you need to secure your website.

#5 Record User Access and Administrative Privileges

If you have employees that need access to the back end of your site you may have to grant them administrative privileges. Only give these types of privileges to people that you can trust. You have to remember that not all employees will be thinking about security when they log on to your site. For this reason alone, you want to be cautious with who you allow having access to your site.  

Educate your employees and make sure they will take security seriously. You want them to be able to update their passwords, and also be sure that they are logging in on computers that are not public domain. 

Employees will come and go so make sure you take away access if an employee quits. You never want a mad employee to have access to your website. They could cause a lot of issues for your business. Just use common sense when it comes to granting employees access to your site. 

#6 Change Your CMS Default Settings

A lot of time security attacks can occur when the website is entirely automated. Attackers rely on website owners having their CMS set to default. You will want to change your default setting immediately. This will stop several attacks from occurring. 

These settings may include changing the way comments are handled on your site. A comment section is a prime place for hackers to attack. Be sure that you go through your default settings and adjust them to secure your site. 

#7 Backup Your Website

You never know when your site can crash. Backing up your website is critical. It is one of the most important things that you can do. A lot of hosting companies offer automatic backups. They are kept for you and you can choose to upload them at any time. 

 Backups are important because if an attack occurs you will be able to roll your site back to how it was before the attack. This step should not be taken lightly. After you go through a major security incident you may have to depend on your backups to get your site up and running.

If files are lost or somehow damaged, you will be able to restore your site with your backups. However, you want to make sure that your backups are not saved on the same server as your website. 

It may be a good idea to keep your backups on a hard drive or a different device. The best option would be to back up your website to cloud base storage. This way you have easy access to your data when you need it.  

Automating your backups is going to be the best and easiest solution for everyone. This means you can backup once a day or once a week. 

#8 Know Your Web Server Configuration Files

You should be aware and know about your web server configuration files. These files are located in the root web directory and allow you to set server rules. This would also include improving your security. 

There are 3 different types and you should learn about the one your server uses:

  • Apache web servers use the .htaccess file
  • Nginx servers use Nginx.conf
  • Microsoft IIS servers use the web.config

This is not something that your average Joe is going to know about. You can conduct a scan through Sitecheck to check your site. This software will scan for malware, viruses, blacklisting status, website errors, and much more. It is important that you take the time to understand these things for the sake of security. 

#9 Apply for a Web Application Firewall

You always want to have a web application firewall, also known as WAF. This will be a secure wall between your website server and the data connection. The main purpose of this firewall is to read all the data that is passing through to protect your website.

Most WAFs will be cloud-based and are typically a plug-and-play service. The cloud will act as the gateway for all incoming traffic. It will block hacking attempts. It will also filter out any other unwanted traffic such as spammers and malicious bots. 

#10 Tighten Network Security

Once you have done all the above, you will need to analyze your network security. Be aware that employees that are using various computers may create unsafe pathways to your website. To help prevent your employees from granting access to your site’s server, do the following things: 

 Set up computer logins to expire within a short period of inactivity.

  • Have your system notify users to change their passwords every 3 months. 
  • Be sure that devices that are logged into your network are scanned thoroughly for malware every time they reconnect to the network. 

How Secure Is Your Website?

So, now you have the answer to the question of how to secure your website? Let’s run a test and see if your website is secured or not?

You want to take the time to evaluate your website and ensure your security is up to par. It’s easy to forget the little things, but those little things can become a big deal when they are paving a way for a hacker to enter your site. 

We know that life is busy and you as a business owner may not have the time to do the upkeep that is necessary for your website. Let us help you evaluate your site and see how secure it is. 

Here at Let’s Design For You, we use the most advanced technologies to check over your site and evaluate its security. This allows us to get to the problems quickly and come up with solutions. Give us a call today to get started.

Final Note –

Hope you have now the answer to how to secure your website and till now you have run a test. Still, if you have questions, you can reach out to us through the comment box.

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