Do you have a website? It could be a business website where you promote and provide all the details of your business. It could be a personal website where you teach a skill to students. It could even be a blog where you document what you are eating right now! Who knows?!! But the point is that if you have a website, it must be protected against hackers. You might think your website is generally secure on the internet but there are actually many vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Although they might not be interested in hacking if all you post is what you are eating! But if you have an important website with useful content, then it’s necessary to protect it.
That’s why this article provides the best tips to protect your website from hackers. These tips are generally very useful even if you don’t think your website is important enough to be hacked. That’s because websites are regularly hacked not just for their content but also for using it as a temporary web server or sending spam Emails or to spread illegal files. So check out these tips and make sure your website is not hacked.
1. Obtain an SSL certificate
It is extremely important that your website should have an SSL certificate. SSL or secure sockets layer creates an encrypted link between a browser and a server which ensures that data remains private. If your website has an SSL certificate, then your users will be able to see the green lock image and https for your web address in their browser bar. SSL certificate has become even more necessary in current times as web browsers alert users to the fact that your website is unprotected and urge them to turn back if you don’t have an SSL certificate. This means you may lose visibility and traffic to your website even if it is a legitimate and safe website. Google may even rank your website lower in its search results if you don’t have an SSL certificate. All this just goes on to show that you need an SSL certificate not just to provide an extra layer of protection to your website but to also make it legitimate in the eyes of potential customers.
2. Create secure passwords
Passwords are critical for any website as they are all that stands between any hackers directly accessing your people. And yet, people are stupid when it comes to passwords. Everyone knows that passwords should be strong with alphanumeric and special characters, yet people would still choose “qwerty” if they had a choice! So if your website requires a login and a password, you should ensure that people are not able to just save any password. There should be some minimum requirements such as having at least 8 characters and a mix of both upper case alphabets, lower case alphabets, and special characters. You should also store your passwords in an encrypted form, using hashing for example. This will ensure that any hacker that steals passwords from your website will not be able to use them as they cannot decrypt hashed passwords.
3. Install security plugins
There are 2 main methods for creating a website. You could either make your website from scratch or use a content management system to easily create and manage your website. If you have created your website using a content management system like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. then there are many security plugins for each of these CMS that you can use. For example, WordPress has Sucuri, Wordfence, iThemes Security Pro, Bulletproof Security, etc. Similarly, Joomla has security plugins like JHackGuard, RSFirewall, etc. It doesn’t really matter what content management system you use but the important thing is that your website should be adequately protected. This is important because there are some vulnerabilities in these CMS’s that could allow a hacker access to your website if you don’t have these security plugins installed.
4. Update your website regularly
It is very important that all your software related to your website is always up to date. This seems like a pretty basic fact but it is often neglected by people with the result that hackers can easily exploit the vulnerabilities in your software to hack your website. This step is even more critical if you are using a content management system. These CMSs are developed as open-source projects which means their code is easily accessible to any malicious hackers that can analyze it to find its weak points. So you should ensure that any software including the security plugins that you have installed are always up to date to prevent any breaches in security. On the other hand, if you are using a professional company to host your website, then you don’t need to worry so much about this as the company will take care of any security patches and latest fixes.
5. Handle website uploads carefully
Files uploaded by users can be very dangerous for your website and even lead to its downfall. These files could contain viruses or even trapdoors allowing hackers access to your website. So always try to avoid accepting uploaded files from your users on websites. However, if it is absolutely necessary for your business and you need files uploaded by users then you can make this process as secure as possible. Always scan uploaded files for viruses and other malware before you open them. Also, ensure that you provide a specification of allowed file types so that any other types of files are not able to be uploaded to your website. You should also keep a size limit on the files uploaded so that files above a certain threshold size are not allowed at all.
6. Use website security tools
There are many free website security tools that you can use to check how secure and protected your website actually is. These website tools imitate hackers and try to find all the openings on your website so that you can patch them up and prevent and future hacking attacks. Then they provide you with a list of all the vulnerabilities on your website and how you can rectify them. Mostly, these tools pinpoint multiple vulnerabilities on a website but you only need to focus on the important ones that can actually be dangerous. There are some low-risk vulnerabilities that you can ignore as there are very few chances of those actually being exploited on your website. Some of these free website security tools include Netsparker, Acunetix, Nessus, Comodo cWatch, OpenVAS, etc.
7. Backup your website
If all else fails, and your website is hacked with all your data lost, at least you should still have backups that allow you to recover your content. Now, the main aim of protecting your website is to make sure that this never occurs, but sometimes the hacker might be smarter than you! In such situations, you don’t want to sit and cry because you haven’t even backed up your website and all the information is lost. So to prevent this absolutely worst-case scenario, it is important that you regularly back up your website as a schedule. And if you want to avoid this hassle, you could even avail of automatic backup services for your website. These are offered by CMS platforms such as WordPress and also other web platforms such as GoDaddy.
Follow these tips so that your website is secure against any hackers. All of these are just basic tips that you can easily use to protect your website even if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. So if you have a website or are planning on having one in the future, make sure has an SSL certificate with the latest security plugins. It should also have secure passwords and only specific uploads with regular backups. All these will keep your personal or business website shielded from hacking attacks.