In an age where hacking is proliferating at unprecedented rates, website security matters more than ever. But often when building a website, security is at the bottom of a developer’s priority list. And it can be difficult to understand how to build a strong website which stands a higher likelihood of resisting hacking attempts, malware, and viruses. And unfortunately, regularly running antivirus protection is rarely enough to keep your website safe!
We put together an easy, comprehensive guide for building a more secure website from the ground up, offering practical tips and suggestions which can make your website a harder target. According to published statistics, as many as one in three websites on the entire internet is vulnerable. Don’t let yours be one of them!
Pick Your CMS With Security In Mind
Most websites are built on a CMS framework like Jooma or WordPress, these days. But the CMS you choose can have a dramatic impact on your website’s security. For example, most hackers will opt to hack more popular CMS-based websites, simply because they represent a larger pool of popular targets. But the offset to that is that more popular CMS frameworks are generally patched and updated more frequently to correct vulnerabilities than less popular frameworks.
With this in mind, select a framework based on your expected website management schedule. If you think you’ll be able to regularly check for updates to your framework and install them, than a more popular option like WordPress might be technically more secure. If you intend to have a more hands-off approach, and might check in on your website every few weeks or months, you might be better off using a less popular framework, which will make your website a statistically less likely target.
Secure Your Hosting Plan
Most website developers are aware that they can purchase additional security mechanisms for their hosting from their hosting provider. But the type of hosting you have can also influence your security. For example, shared hosting is generally less secure than dedicated hosting. And keeping your databases and cpanel regularly updated (just as with your framework) can also help implement security patches and updates to improve your hosting security.
Install Plugins Judiciously
If you’re utilizing a CMS for your website, chances are there are dozens, if not hundreds, of potential plugins for you to install on your website. These plugins can help your website do anything from capture leads to display parallax images to integrate with social media. But we caution developers against installing too many plugins, simply because every new plugin is another element of coding which might have an easy loophole for hackers to gain entry into your website.
A good rule of thumb is to find one or two plugins which do many of the tasks you need, rather than finding plugins which each individually specialize. You should also have an aggressive update regimen, to ensure that all plugins are updated to their newest versions as often and as easily as possible.
Protect Your Login Credentials
Always ensure that the names of user accounts never display on a website; and for that matter, ensure that no administrator account to get into your website is named ‘admin’. The ‘admin’ account name is among the most popular on the internet, and unfortunately, this fact makes it all the easier for hackers to crack into websites. Using novel, long user names and passwords, with complex characters, can add a substantial layer of protection to your website.
Other Security Tips
It can sometimes happen that your own machine might help to spread viruses and other problems to your website. Always have a rigorous security suite installed and active on your computer, and use your antivirus protection to conduct regular scans. Try to avoid using public networks where possible, and clear your browser cache regularly.