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How To Improve Your Website Security

John Dion

By John Dion

In recent years, building an online presence has been made easy by the many tools available to the public. From Joomla, WordPress, to Drupal content management online has become easier. You can now build a website and keep it running without necessarily spending years in the learning process. Though this is the case, there are many issues that come with a website and one of them is security. There are many website owners who concentrate too much on what the website does and forget about keeping their website safe. It is important that you understand how to improve your website’s security to protect your interests and those of your visitors.

 

The following are some of the things that will help you keep your website secure from people with unlawful intentions.

Frequent Updates

Updates cannot be emphasized enough. The main reason why most websites are compromised is because they still use outdated software that is unsecured. As soon as a new plugin or CMS version is available, you should update your website. Hacking in the modern world is automated. This means bots will be scanning through websites constantly to find loopholes to attack it. Get notification apps that inform you when there are updates and you can be sure that your site will not be vulnerable due to the software in use.

Passwords

Most web owners have passwords that cannot be considered safe. You cannot just have your username as admin and your password as admin. If you have a password appearing on the list of the most common passwords, you can be sure that your website will definitely be hacked. Why then should you expose your website to hackers? It is import to have a password that is not related to anything about you such as birth date or any other personal information. The best way to get passwords that randomly generated because they are difficult for hackers to find out. Make sure you do not use the same password in different sites. If one is cracked, the hacker might try to use the password on other accounts. If you have many accounts, you might be wondering how you will remember all of them. Well, you do not have to because there are password managements systems to help you out on this.

User Access

It is possible that your site has different users logging in to work on the site. The users should have appropriate permission to access different areas. If there is a need, you can give a user access momentarily and then reduce it when they have completed a task. For instance, if you want a blogger to post a guest blog, you can give them access without administrative privileges. You can check logs to view the activities of the user when they are logged in. This will help you monitor any suspicious activities on the site.

Change CMS Settings

As mentioned, most attacks are automated and some depend on the weakness of default settings. Hackers know these settings and will, therefore, create bots that can manipulate your site from this perspective. To be on the safe side, you should change the default settings as soon as you install the content management system. It is easy to change the settings during the installation process though they can be done later.

Backups Are Important

Website security is about ensuring that the content and data is safe from people with unlawful intentions as well as catastrophic events. Such events can take everything with it and this is why backups exist. You might not see the need for backing up everything but when something happens, you will thank yourself for backing your site. The good news is that there are effective backup solutions that webmasters can use. It is important to have website backups but you should not risk it all by storing it on your web server. This is because the backups will contain information that you do not want hackers to get their hands on.

Server Configuration Files

It is important to understand web server configuration files. For instance, Microsoft IIS servers use web.config, Nginx servers use nginx.conf and Apache web servers use .htaccess file. These files are very important and powerful and are often found in the root web directory. These files will allow web owners to execute rules by servers including the directives that will be upgrading your site’s security. Some of the rules that will help in improving your security include preventing directory browsing, preventing image hotlinking and protecting the sensitive files on your site.

Include SSL In your Security Arsenal

Well, there are many posts claiming that SSL installation will solve all your security problems. This is not entirely true because SSL will not prevent malicious attacks, it will only protect communication between the website server and the browser. This makes sure that there is not interception of this traffic which is important. SSL plays an important role in e-commerce sites and any other sites that involve the submission of sensitive information such as bank account details and Personally Identifiable Information. The SSL certificate will protect your visitors’ information and this will in turn protect you from all the legal issues attached to being non-compliant with PCI DSS.

File Permissions

File permissions determine who can do what to a certain file. Each file comes with 3 permissions that are presented by numbers. There is Read (4) which allows viewing of the contents, Write (2) which allows changing of the contents and execute (1) which allows the running of the script or program file. If you want users to have permission for different elements you can just add the numbers. For instance, 6 means that the user can write and execute.

Conclusion

The above steps are some of the most important steps you need to know when improving security on your website. You now have a clue on how to improve your website’s security and this will help you a great deal in saving money and time. Tight security also gives your visitors the confidence they need to freely use your website.

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