In light of recent data breaches, website security or the lack thereof have been at the forefront of our minds when it comes to our personal data, how they are being used and whether or not they are protected.
These troubling thoughts can only be put to rest when website owners (businesses) and users alike understand the implications of poor web security. For business owners, an unprotected site may invite hackers to tamper with your website functions, extract, modify or delete data or obtain total control of your site, locking you out then demand a ransom.
For website users, entering your personal information such as name, birthday, National Identification / Social Security Number, address, or banking information, into an unsecured site creates the risk of having your identity stolen or your information distributed to unknown parts of the world.
This article aims to highlight the best practices for building a secure website to protect your business as well as the personal data of website users.
Industry Standard for a Secure Website.
2. Change the Database Default Password
3. Create a New Admin Account.
4. Update Your Website Regularly.
5. Back-up Content Regularly.
6. Manually Select On-Site Comments
Purchase an SSL Certificate
Secure Sockets Layer or SSL is a security certificate you can install onto your website to encrypt data such as log-in credentials and visitor’s passwords. There are different SSL levels, so you need to assess your website’s purpose to determine the best SSL for you. For instance, e-commerce sites that handle payments and store card information would use a more advanced SSL certificate. Without it, customer data is left vulnerable to hackers.
You can identify SSL-protected websites by the padlock and the “s” at the end of “HTTPS” in the address bar. This status immediately informs visitors that your site is secure and safe to use. Otherwise, users will be prompted by their browser that your site is not secure and redirects them away from your platform.
To prevent this, install an SSL certificate now! Here is how.
Select a hosting provider such as WIX or HostGator that includes SSL.
Choose a reliable website builder that offers SSL.
Change the Database Default Password
We create passwords for so many reasons that it is easy to forget the significance of it altogether. So, look at it this way, Your Personal Data – Passwords – Hacker. Get it?
Your password is the easiest protective layer that you can manipulate to increase security on your site.
Create A New Admin Account
Creating a new admin account ensures that only you have access to the back end of your website. In the event your site was created by an external developer, creating a new account, and changing the default settings prevents unauthorised persons from accessing your website.
When creating a new admin account, do not use the username “admin” or “administrator.” These are the first usernames hackers will try. Do not fall for it.
Update Your Website Regularly
Update your site regularly, not just with content and products but ensure that your website software is up to date.
If your hosting provider offers web management services such as WIX, they will handle all updates and security measures required for your site to function smoothly. However, suppose you are using an application such as WordPress or a hosting platform that does not offer website management like HostGator. In that case, you are responsible for running updates when necessary.
Failure to run updates will leave your site vulnerable to glitches, bugs, and malware from hackers.
Depending on the application you are using to host your site, you may have the option to set automatic updates. If you cannot, keep a close watch over your site’s performance to ensure all updates are pushed with necessary.
Back-up Content Regularly
A backup refers to a copy of your website data such as media, files, and content. Running regular backups ensures that you have the most recent version of your website ready to be launched if:
You are unable to maintain the site and decide to bring it down until a later date.
The hosting provider is no longer secure, and you wish to move to a safer provider.
The hosting platform goes down (out of business).
You can back up your site by utilising any of the following:
A hosting provider that offers backups services.
Backup your site after each update made. There is no such thing as too many backups.
Manually Select On-Site Comments
There is nothing like seeing the comments under your posts. Knowing that your content is attracting leads and sparking engagement is thrilling. Comments are the best way to get to know your users, connect with others in your industry, and receive constructive criticism from time to time. Those are great.
What is not so great are trolls, and fake accounts, posting harmful comments and links. This can discourage your guests from continuing with or returning to your site if they feel unsafe.
To combat this issue, you can control the comments that are featured on your website by screening them as they come in. This way, fake fans and bots cannot directly spew their malicious words or links onto your website to compromise its security and the safety of your valued guests.
Manually approve comments before they are posted by changing the settings of your website. Doing so enables you to delete any spam or harmful messages.
This will definitely make your comment section more fun and fulfilling for you and your users.
These six steps are the most recommended methods of keeping hackers out and valuable leads rolling in. Do not take your site’s security for granted because it will absolutely affect your bottom line in the end.
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