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Steps to Take to Keep Your Website Secure

How to keep your website secure

Your website could be a valuable asset for you or your business. You might be using it to sell products, promote your brand, or connect with your audience. Whether you think your website is valuable or not, it is paramount to ensure that it is secure. Your website can be used as a gateway to compromising your other online platforms, or even your device.

If your website is the foundation of your business, an attack can bring your business to its knees. As such, you need to take all the precautions needed to secure your website. Below, we discuss a couple of elaborate steps that you can take to keep your website secure.

Before we get into those though, let me introduce to you WPStrike. We protect your website by manually, going through it every single month, updating, scanning and checking for issues and making sure the website is live so you don’t have to, so you can focus on your business! Click Here To Find Out More

How To Make Your Website Secure?

  1. Install an SSL certificate on your website
  2. Use secure passwords
  3. Keep your software updated
  4. Use web firewalls and anti-malware software
  5. Manually approve uploads or have them analyzed

Read along and learn some safe web browsing security tips.

1. Install an SSL Certificate on Your Website

You’ve probably tried to visit a website and your browser warned you that the site wasn’t secure. Such a site does not have an SSL Certificate and could be vulnerable to attacks. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a web security solution that encrypts data and information as it is transferred between visitors, the website, and the server.

Installing an SSL Certificate on your website is a simple measure that will protect your website, your device, and your website’s visitors. SSL security is paramount if you will be collecting users’ data and accepting payments through your website. Hackers can easily access sensitive data if your website does not have SSL encryption.

Websites that have SSL Certificates on them have the “HTTPS” pre-tag on their URLs. They also have a padlock symbol appearing on the address bar when you open the website. SSL certificates are only valid for some time and need to be updated when they expire.

Cyber attacks caused by neglect

2. Use Secure Passwords

You know we had to talk about good old passwords. You might not like them that much, but they are absolutely necessary. You’d be surprised at how many people use simple passwords like 1234… on critical logins. Using such passwords on your website’s administrative or server side is recipe for disaster. Make a habit of creating complex passwords. Modern password conventions recommend mixing letters, numbers, and special characters while creating a password. Make sure your passwords have no discernible pattern.

You should not use the same password for all your logins. Remembering many complex passwords can be difficult though. You need not worry though. You can use password-management apps like LastPass to store your passwords. The apps will suggest secure passwords for you when you are creating logins as well. They store the passwords for you and autofill the passwords for you when you want to log in on any of the saved platforms. You won’t have to memorize any of the passwords.

3. Keep Your Software Updated

You need to make sure any software you are using on your website stays updated at all times. This includes every software that runs on your server and CMS platforms. Most people build their websites using CMS platforms such as WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace. Make sure all the themes and plugins you install on such platforms stay updated.

Out of date software is prone to security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. If you are paying for managed hosting, your hosting service provider will take care of security updates for the server. You only need to worry about the CMS platform you are using. CMS platforms usually notify you when updates for a particular software are available. Avoid installing software from sources that can’t be trusted. If you are using any third-party software make sure you apply security patches to ensure they don’t create attack gateways.

4. Use Web Firewalls and Anti-Malware Software

A lot of people find it hard to deal with all the technical stuff that comes with securing a website. You can save yourself from all that hassle by using anti-malware software and firewalls. Firewalls analyze all the traffic to your site and separate trustworthy traffic from malicious traffic. All the malicious traffic is blocked and hacking attempts are foiled. Cloud-based firewalls are the most recommended although they might come at an upfront cost.

Anti-malware software does all the hard work for you. They can carry out the following tasks;

  • Scan your website for vulnerabilities
  • Detect and remove malware and any malicious files
  • Vulnerability patching
  • DDoS protection
  • PCI compliance

You don’t even have to know what any of these jargons mean. Just make sure you have an up to date anti-malware software and it will take care of everything. There are plenty of anti-malware tools online. Most will ask for a subscription but you can also find free ones.

Top web security threats

5. Manually Approve Uploads or Have Them Analyzed

If your visitors have permission to upload files on your website, you need to very careful about the files that are being uploaded. Even a simple upload such as an AVI can be used to upload malware into your website. You can choose to manually check and approve uploads if you have a small site that does not have a lot of visitors.

Manual approval is nearly impossible for big websites that receive a lot of traffic. In such a case, you’d need to use malware detection tools to analyze the uploads before they are allowed into your database. You can also have all the uploads stored on a separate database.

Finding the Best Website Security Tools

We’ve mentioned above that you need tools such as anti-malware and firewall software to protect your website. There is a ton of such tools available and it is easy to get confused. You need to make sure the tools you go for can provide the level of security you need.

Below, we explore the 4 best website security tools. These tools will help you to check how secure your website is and recommend the best course of action.

1. Detectify

Detectify is a high-caliber and powerful tool for checking website security. You have to pay for it though. Detectify scans your website for up to 1500 web security vulnerabilities. The Detectify scanner is built using a crowdsourcing approach. The approach involves 150 highly skilled ethical hackers who contribute to the creation of Dectify’s automated tests.

To use Detectify, you have to connect it to your website first. If you have your website connected to Google Analytics, you should not struggle to connect Detectify to it. The two processes are almost similar. This connection allows Detectify to dig deep into every corner of your website and unearth any vulnerabilities that might be there.

Detectify is quite powerful but it comes at a cost. A month’s subscription costs $60. Detectify offers a 14-day free trial though. You can take advantage of the free trial if you intend to scan your site once. You don’t have to add a credit card or any financial details to get the free trial.

Pros

  • Deep and detailed scans that check for thousands of vulnerabilities and recommends solutions.
  • The scans are run through the entire website. Most scanners just scan the URL you enter.
  • You can take advantage of the 14-day trial and use Detectify for free.

Cons

  •  You have to pay to keep using Detectify after the 14-day trial.

If you can’t afford paid tools, you can go for free website scanners. There are plenty of free tools on the market. The scanners described below are completely free.

Data types at risk

2. Sucuri SiteCheck

Sucuri SiteCheck is a simple-to-use free website security checker. All you need to do is plug the URL you want to check in the provided textbox and hit enter. Sucuri SiteCheck will scan your site and check for the following;

  • Common malware that might be plaguing your site’s front-end.
  • Malicious code
  • Outdated software

Keep in mind that Sucuri SiteCheck does not scan the files stored in your server. It only scans the front-end of the URL you’ve entered. That means that it will miss any malware located in the server.

After the scan, Sucuri SiteCheck will return results that will show you the security tests your webpage has failed. It also offers suggestions on how to improve the web page’s security as well. If you’ve built your site using WordPress, you can install the Sucuri Security WordPress plugin.

The standard version of Sucuri SiteCheck is completely free. Sucuri offers paid website security services though. You can go for the paid services if your website needs personalized attention and radical actions.

Pros

  • The scanner is simple to use and the results are easy to interpret.
  • Both the scanner and the WordPress plugin are free

Cons

  • The scan conducted is not very detailed. It will not detect any malware that is embedded in your server.

3. SSL Trust

We had mentioned earlier that you need to ensure your site has an SSL certificate. SSL Trust offers SSL certificates, but it does a lot more than that. It can be used for checking website security. SSL Trust scans your website for security issues, but it uses third-party scanners. It scans your website on a collection of scanners from other web-security service providers.

Some of the scanners it uses include;

  •  Sucuri SiteCheck
  • OpenPhish
  • Google Safe Browsing
  • Opera Blacklist
  • Comodo
  • Avira, and many others.

SSL Trust scans your website using a total of 66 scanners. That means there is very little likelihood that an SSL Trust scan will miss a security issue on your site. Each of the scanners used has a unique strength. SSL Trust combines the strengths of different scanners to conduct one robust scan.

The major downside with SSL Trust is it just runs security tests and shows you where your website is failing. It does not check for the presence of malware or malicious files, or give any recommendations on how you can improve the security of your site.

Pros

  •  Scans your site using 66 different scanners
  • The results presented are easy to interpret
  •  Offers a free SSL security test and certificate

Cons

  • The pass/fail report does not offer much information about how the security issues in your website can be solved.

Time to identify a breach

4. WPScan

WPScan is designed for websites that are built on WordPress. It checks for security vulnerabilities in your admin account on WordPress. It is a product of Automattic. Automattic also owns WordPress and WooCommerce.

Unfortunately, you cannot use WPScan if your site is not built on WordPress. It is specifically built to scan for vulnerabilities within the WordPress platform. However, that makes it one of the best website security checkers for anyone using WordPress. It is perfect for checking for WordPress-related security issues. That being said, you might want to pair it with other security checkers, especially if you have a heavy website. WPScan might not be sufficient by itself.

You need to install the WPScan on your WordPress to be able to scan your website. You can also manually install WPScan on your website by adding the WPScan code to your server. You can get the code from GitHub. A lot of people don’t like dealing with the manual process though.

Pros

  • Checks for security issues within WordPress core as well as your themes and plugins.
  • Easy to install and use.

Cons

  • Only checks for vulnerabilities within WordPress.

Final Thoughts

Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities that they can take advantage of within the sites they are targeting. If you take all the necessary precautions, it becomes extremely difficult for attackers to infiltrate your site. There’s always a chance that attackers can gain access to your site though. No site can claim to be 100% secure. That’s why it is important to keep reviewing the security of your website. Better yet, you can hire website security experts who can provide useful cybersecurity tips or work on your site to make sure it is always secure.

WPStrike makes it easy! We protect your website by manually, going through it every single month, updating, scanning and checking for issues and making sure the website is live so you don’t have to, so you can focus on your business! Click Here To Find Out More

Data Sources:
https://www.comparitech.com/

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