How to Secure Your Website and Keep Hackers Out — For Good

how to secure your website

In the first six months of 2019, hackers gained access to over 4.1 billion records. During the same year, more companies began prioritizing their data to ensure private information remains safe and secure.

Leaving your company website vulnerable to attack will leave your customers and clients vulnerable as well. 

Knowing how to secure your website from hackers is essential in 2020. Otherwise, what reason do clients have to trust you with their private information?

Here are nine ways to secure your website. With these tips, you can avoid hackers and protect your company’s brand. Start protecting your site—and customers—with these tips.

1. Install Security

The first step in learning how to secure your website is to check your plugins. If you’re using a content management system (CMS), you can improve your site security easily and quickly. There are numerous website security plugins available that can help you prevent potential hacks.

Many of these plugins are also free. 

Take a look at available plugins to secure your website, such as:

  • fail2Ban
  • Wordfence
  • Sucuri
  • Bulletproof Security
  • iThemes Security

However, these plugins are ideal for WordPress sites. You might need different plugins if you’re using a CMS such as Joomla or Magento.

These plugins can ensure your site is protected from security vulnerabilities. Each CMS platform is vulnerable to different attacks, so it’s essential to find the plugin best suited for your CMS.

Whether your site depends on HTML or a CMS, you can also benefit from using SiteLock.

This plugin first closes any site security loopholes across your website. Then, it provides daily monitoring in order to detect malware or new vulnerabilities. This plugin also provides daily virus scans to ensure your site remains protected.

2. Switch to HTTPS

Take a look at your browser’s URL bar. Does your company website show a green lock to the left of your site’s domain name? You should also see “https” appear before your site.

“Https” indicates your website has an SSL certificate and is safe for use.

An SSL certificate is essential if you’re transferring information between your site and the server. This information includes:

  • Personal data
  • Credit card information
  • Contact information

If you’re selling products on services on an e-commerce website, an SSL certificate is essential. However, Google released a security update in 2018 that alerts website visitors when your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate. This message can scare off website visitors and discourage them from trusting your company.

An SSL certificate can impact your search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps search engines like Google determine how to rank your website among your competitors. By learning how to secure your website, you can improve your ranking and attract more visitors.

3. Update Your Platform & Software

If you’re using a CMS with numerous plugins, it’s also important to keep everything up-to-date. Otherwise, either the platform, software, or plugins can cause website infections. These infections will cause vulnerabilities to the content management system’s various components.

The CMS, plugins, and other tools are all open-source software programs. This makes their code easy to access for developers as well as hackers. In fact, many hackers look through this code for security vulnerabilities.

Upon finding vulnerabilities such as script weaknesses, hackers can exploit your CMS and take control of the website.

When learning how to secure your website, make sure to keep everything up-to-date. That includes:

  • Apps
  • Scripts
  • Plugins
  • The content management system

Updates will make sure these components are up-to-date with the latest security features.

4. Check Your Passwords

It’s predicted that global cybercrime damages will reach $6 trillion each year by 2021. That’s up from $3 trillion in 2015. Thankfully, many people are getting smarter about using complicated passwords. 

Make sure your password isn’t “123456” or any easy-to-guess birthday. It’s almost important to make sure your password is easy for you to remember. A strong password can prevent login attempts from hackers who are trying to access your site.

5. Back It Up

Even if you use all of these website security tips, a complicated hack can still occur. To protect yourself and your clients, make sure to backup your website. Regularly backups can ensure you have a fail-safe in place just in case a hack does occur. 

If a data breach does occur, you’ll at least have the option of recovering your data when needed.

6. Upload with Care

When someone uploads content to your website, they also have the chance to load a malicious file to your site. These files can overwrite existing data or bring the entire site down. 

Make sure you don’t accept file uploads to your site unless unnecessary.

If you do need to upload files, make sure to use a file type verification. You can also set a maximum file size and use antivirus software to scan for malware. Taking these precautions can help you prevent hackers from getting access to your site.

7. Use Parameterized Queries

One of the most common website hacks is known as an SQL injection. This occurs if you have a web form or URL parameter that lets outside users provide information to your site. 

To protect yourself from a potential hack, use parameterized queries. 

This will ensure your code using specific parameters that prevent hackers. Otherwise, hackers can manipulate the parameters to access sensitive customer information.

8. Add a Content Security Policy

Also known as CSP, a Content Security Policy will protect your site from cross-site scripting, or XSS. An XSS attack occurs when a hacker slips malicious JavaScript code onto your site pages.

A CSP will allow you to specify the domains browsers can consider valid. Then, the browser will only allow those domains to execute scripts on your site.

9. Lock Down Permissions

Your website is really a series of folders and files stored on your web hosting account. To improve your website security, you can control these permissions so no one else can manipulate these files.

How to Secure Your Website: 9 Tips for Absolute Security 

It’s time to step up to your website security! With these tips on how to secure your website, you can protect your company, clients, and reputation. 

Searching for more ways to improve your website? Explore our Website Development tips today!