With the creation of CMS sites such as WordPress, building a website has become easier to do. Whether you’re setting a blog, an e-commerce site, or portfolio to showcase your work, and attract clients, WordPress has a theme for it. While you’re setting up your WordPress site, make sure to set up security measures so that hackers can’t breach your site and steal your data.
Website security is not just important for those with e-commerce sites, but for anyone with a website. Hackers or malicious bots routinely searches through websites looking for vulnerabilities it can take advantage of. Once your website has been breached, hackers can either ransom your site or display messages which can destroy your sites reputation.
There are several ways to increase your website’s security. We’ve rounded up a few common ways to do so.
1. Update Often
Make sure you keep you software updated, whether it’s your servers’ operating system or any third party applications such as a CMS. Delaying necessary updates only exposes your website to potential security risks. If you’re using WordPress as a CMS, you’ll be notified once an update is available. Ensure you update as soon as possible. This also applies to any plugins you may install on your WordPress site. Regularly check whether an update for the plugin is available, and install the update once it appears.
2. Get An SSL Certificate
Most consumers know to look out for the ‘https’ in front of the url of sites where they’ll be entering sensitive information. The ‘s’ is an indication that the site has been secured. This is essential for banking and online shopping sites in particular, that asks for consumers banking details.
The ‘s’ indicates that the site has an SSL certificate, which encrypts the data being sent between a website and the browser. While the site can still be hacked, the data would appear incoherent as it would still need to be decrypted for it to be of any use.
The certificate also proves to customers that your site is verified and they’re thus more likely to trust it.
3. Make Use Of Complex Passwords
This may seem obvious, but it’s a very important point to take note of. Ensure that the passwords you use for your site are long and complex. While we all know not to use 1235, we often use words that relate to us in some way. Don’t use your mother’s name or the name of your childhood pet as your password as a simple search through your social media can quickly divulge this information.
Don’t use passwords with complete alphabetical strings such as ‘puzzle’ or ‘popcorn’. It may seem random to you, but automated scripts built purely to uncover passwords, would quickly be able to determine what it is. Instead use numerical values in between letters and symbols, and make sure they’re arranged in a completely arbitrary way.
If your site allows for users to create profiles, insist they use good practice when it comes to creating passwords. Then use a hashing service, which will encrypt these passwords.
4. Rename Your Admin Account and Enforce Sensible User Access
The easiest way for someone to hack your site is through the admin account. By gaining access to this account they can take control of your site. Your first step should always be to change the name of your admin account to something else so that it’s harder for hackers or malicious scripts to find the account which has total control.
Once you’ve sorted that out, create logins for different users. This makes it easier to spot which person is performing specific tasks on your site. You’re thus able to monitor and keep track of users’ login behaviour, including which browsers they login from and from what time. Thus if a login occurs outside of the users general pattern it’s easier to spot if an anomaly has occurred, and someone else may have gained access to your site.
For this reason restrict the amount of access you give each user. Make sure the access they’re given is specific to the task they need to perform – anyone who doesn’t need to make changes to your site shouldn’t be given permission to do so. In this way you restrict the numbers of ways hackers can breach your site.
5. Limit File Uploads
If you do allow users to create profiles on your site, restrict the amount of uploads they’re able to do. Uploading images may seem harmless enough but any file uploaded to your site provides hackers with a way to insert a bug into your system, regardless of how thoroughly your software checks them. Files may contain script, which once saved to your server, opens up your site to hackers. One way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that these files do not have direct access to your site and are instead saved outside of the root directory. You then need to create script that will fetch the files when they need to be used.
6. Protect Your Site With A Strong, Secure Layer of Defence
This can be done in several ways. If you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, you can install security plugins which protect your site from malicious threats. You can also install a Web Application Firewall. These are designed to inspect incoming traffic and provide protection against malicious threats such as SQL Injections, SPAM and Cross-Site Scripting. Your Web Application Firewall can be either hardware or software based.
7. Be Cautious With The Information In Your Error Messages
Ensure that your error messages don’t contain information which can be used to hack your site. Only provide users with minimal information, while keeping things such as database passwords or API keys a secret. Providing this only makes SQL injections easier. Instead only record detailed accounts of your errors in your server logs.
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