10 essential steps to improve your website security

Building a good reputation for your business is a hard-feat. The reputation you made with your blood and sweat, investing money and precious time can go down the drain in a minute if you do not worry about your website security.

Your website is the digital face of your business. It is the direct pathway to build trust and loyalty with your audience. Protecting your users from hackers will get positive points from your users.

Here are 10 actionable steps that you can implement to improve your website security.

    1. Use updated software

Did you know that over 60% of websites are vulnerable to infection due to out-dated software?

(Source: Sucuri)

A whopping 56% of websites use out-dated software and plug-ins that provide the back door for hackers to barge in.

Automated scripts created by hackers peruse the Internet for vulnerable websites. Once an out-dated website is identified, hackers obtain access to your website environment and insert malicious scripts.

Updates from your hosting platform, like WordPress, usually contain fixes to bugs pre-existing in their software.

Software update automation can prevent most hacking attempts and ensure security.

     2. Change passwords frequently

Reusing passwords is a poor practice. 87% of people admitted to reusing passwords despite knowing better. And 81% of data breaches occur because hackers leverage this practice.

Remind your employees to change their login credentials once every three months. Refrain from using personal information such as date of birth and phone number as password.

Use a combination of upper-case, lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters, and make sure to store this password in a separate device. The password should contain at least 14 characters.

     3. Get HTTPS and SSL certificates.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure protocol used to ensure the content cannot be intercepted and read while it is in transit.

When your users sign-up, and give personal information or credit card information, it begins its transit to your database. Avoiding hackers from reading this information during transit is essential, which can be achieved by encrypting the information via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

GlobalSign is a trusted SSL software and security solution provider that aims at securing online communications via automated encryption.

     4. Meticulous testing

Most of the companies are restricted to one region but have a global market.

Your consumers from different regions will see different versions of your website, including the ads associated with it.

It is essential to visit your website using IP addresses from different regions to conduct website testing and weed out spam ads early.

How do we get IP addresses from different regions? Enter: Static Residential proxies

Businesses and individuals use Static Residential Proxies for a variety of reasons. From conducting market research on competitors anonymously to checking their website security in different regions, proxy servers perform various purposes.

     5. Back-up your back-up

You can never have too many back-ups. 

Always back up your database to an off-site location such as your home computer or a USB drive.

Automate your updates and sync them from time to time. Avoid storing your database in the website server as they are prone to hacking and viruses when your website gets affected.

Cloud storage is a perfect space to store your backup database as it can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

     6. Monitor network security

In an unencrypted network, the traffic goes back and forth in plain text which hackers can easily intercept by packet capturing software.

While your HTTPS websites are protected from this, HTTP websites are still at risk.

Therefore it is crucial to ensure your network is secured with WPA2 encryption and a strong passphrase.

There is still a possibility of your website being at risk of brute force hacking, which can easily be avoided by using passphrases that are changed periodically.

Make sure the devices that are connected to your network are scanned for malware. Computer logins should expire within a few minutes in case of inactivity.

     7. Establish firewalls

Firewalls are the first line of defense against malicious bots, spammers, and hackers.

There are multitudes of firewalls for diversified purposes such as network firewalls, cloud, hardware-based firewall, application firewall, etc.

Investing in a good Web Application Firewall (WAF) ensures protection from spammers, bots, DDoS attacks, website defacement, and so on. Most WAF is cloud-based, which you can avail easily by yourself.

     8. Know your website

The majority of web admins ignore the webserver configuration files that they possess. 

The webserver files contain crucial information about server rules and security measures.

Knowing where you stand is the best way to improve. Understand the web server security measures and use scanners like Sitecheck to scan for known malware, viruses, website errors, and so on.,

Better safe than sorry.

     9. Choose your web host wisely.

While it is easy to blame every hack on a web host provider, the truth is far from it.

An encrypted network and a secure web host are additions that provide maximum security to your website. 

Therefore using a secure web host is a must. Here we have compiled a list of WordPress hosting providers that can make your website safe and sound.

     10. Setup 2FA

2 Factor Authentication (2FA) is the biggest enemy for spammers and hackers.

Did you know that 68% of black hat hackers have admitted that multifactor authentication and encryption are their biggest obstacles?

(Source: Thycotic)

2FA uses protocols such as TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password) and HOTP (HMAC based One-Time password). Since you require access to another independent device to login, it vastly increases the security of your website.

To implement this security feature, you can use a variety of free and paid apps. Here is a guide on how to set up WordPress 2FA.

Malicious bots, spammers, and hackers are every webmaster’s nightmare. While the fear of data breaches and loss of sensitive information might be dreadful, some basic protocols such as this can protect you from 99% of attacks.

Let us know how many of these safety measures you have already implemented in the comments below!


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