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Five tips to make your website more secure

17-10-2016, 10:52

Five tips to make your website more secure

Security is an critical element of any site so it’s important to ensure it’s 100% secure. Once you have purchased your web hosting account and set-up your new blog or website, then comes the challenge of making your website secure.

On average, more than 30,000 websites are hacked on any given day around the world. It’s big business and so all webmasters have to be on their guard and make the hacker’s job as tough as possible.

Here are five ways to secure your website and your web hosting, helping to keep those cyber criminals at bay.

1) Keep any software up-to-date
If you’re running some sort of software to build your website, such as a Content Management System (CMS) along the lines of WordPress or Magento, then make sure that it is kept up-to-date. Not only should the main software be kept updated, but make sure the modules and plugins you use are regularly checked for updates.

With many open source platforms, automatic updates can be turned on, ensuring you never miss those vital security updates.

2) Make sure your web hosting platform is fully patched
If you are using a managed web hosting platform, you will not need to worry about this as the web host will manage all of this. If, however, you self-host then you will need to ensure all patches and updates are applied as and when they come available for the software you run on your server. This is likely to be cpanel, or similar.

Security holes occur frequently in software and will very quickly be capitalised on by hackers, so it’s vital that your server technology and software is fully secured.

3) Always use an SSL when transmitting sensitive data
A major risk with operating an online business is the theft of users’ personal data. This could be login details, personal information and even banking or payment information. Data of this sort can change hands for big money on the black market, and so taking steps to minimise this risk is vital.

On any form that transmits sensitive data, and on payment pages, always ensure that you purchase and implement and SSL certificate. This encrypts all of this sensitive data, meaning it is much less likely to be useful to any cybercriminal.

4) Password strength and security
Having strong passwords is a given, but you’d be surprised by just how many people around the world still use parts of their name, address or data of birth for account passwords. Make sure any password you use on your website is as secure as possible – you can get online generators to help you create these. Include numbers, special characters and a mix of upper and lowercase letters.

It’s also recommended that passwords are updated at least every three months. Furthermore, you can put safeguards in place with many software applications that will limit login attempts before a user automatically becomes locked out. This makes any tool used by a hacker to generate hundreds of thousands of password variations a little pointless, as the system will lock them out once they have tried a small number (e.g. three). You can secure your CMS with this too.

5) Utilise web security tools available
Our final suggestion would be to take advantage of the tools available which can test just how secure your website is. You can use tools which will test whether it is possible to inject SQL code, for example, in to your site which can be used by hackers to take control of your website or even to infect visitors to your website with malware.

There are also tools available to check open source content management systems for known security flaws and risks.

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