There are many ways through which hackers can steal a company’s data, infiltrate the company network, hack the website and use the website for illegitimate purposes. You cannot always be sure that your website is safe until you perform a security check. Regular website checks will help you in avoiding any unnecessary and unfortunate hacking situation.
Here is a 7 point checklist that will reduce the chances of your website getting compromised:
#1 Enable HTTPS
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) secures the online communications. It encrypts the traffic and information shared between the user’s browser and your website. This is such an important encryption and safety technology that Google also incorporates the necessity of having an SSL certificate installed on the website into its SEO formula. Any website that is not using an SSL certificate is determined as potentially unsafe for use. In order to secure your website completely and to rank better, it is essential to have an SSL certificate installed on your website.
#2 Update All Plugins And Software
If your website works on WordPress or Blogger, you might be using a lot of plugins, extensions and other software. Updating the plugins and software being used on your website is also an important security check. Plugin updates are usually provided as they are better and they have more security levels to prevent the hackers from barging into your website. By using the older versions of plugins and software, you are making yourself vulnerable to hacking attacks. Delete all the plugins that you are not using or if they have no new updates available.
#3 Keep Website Backups
You might have put years and years of hard work into your website, and getting it compromised or destroyed is the last thing you would think of. You can prevent the loss of your important website data by scheduling regular website backups. Preferably, you should opt for a separate backup service that safeguards all your website data in case something goes wrong. You can also talk to your web hosting company for website backups. Select a website backup service that is easy to configure and restore.
#4 Monitor File Integrity
Pay attention to the additional files that you put on your website and include then in your website security check as well. There are chances that Excel files, Word Documents and PDF files might get corrupted by the hackers. You can use any file checker in order to establish a baseline for your file status; this status will then be compared to the scans done in the future for checking website security.
#5 Protection Against Brute Force Attacks
Hackers might try to get to your login credentials – username and password or they might make use of some software to hack the login box. This can be prevented in the following ways:
- Make use of a complicated password that comprises of letters, numbers or a string of random words.
- It is preferable to use online auto password generators as they provide a complicated and unique combination of letters, numbers and characters that is hard to hack.
- If you are using WordPress, you can use this plugin – Limit Login Attempts, to block the brute force attack and to ban the IP addresses that source the brute force attack.
Hackers usually try to break into your admin account; therefore you must also consider changing your username. A quick solution to this is – instead of using the same username, create a new admin username whenever you set up a new website, and then delete the user – Admin. In this way, if someone tries to search for the username ‘Admin’, they will never get to your Admin account.
#6 Scan Your Website’s DNS And WHOIS Records
Once set, you might not be paying attention to the DNS and WHOIS records of your website; however, it is important to do this. You can either check these records manually once a week or you can also install a plugin for this purpose. If you are using WordPress, you can use the plugin – Sucuri security plugin. This plugin enables you to have a 2-factor authentication turned on for your emails and social networks.
#7 Run An Online Website Security Check
You will come across many online malware checkers for your website and a few WordPress plugins to scan your WordPress website. These online checkers provide you with a basic website security report, you might have to subscribe to a paid version of these checkers if you want more information. While you use an online website checker, be cautious and avoid any random pop-up boxes that offer to scan your hard drive as that can be malware!
There are hundreds of things that you can do to protect your website from hackers, obviously you can’t do all of them but you can surely take some necessary steps mentioned above. Many of the website security features are built into your web hosting platform and web software; however you have put in a lot of hard work in creating your website and some do-it-yourself steps will certainly do good to your website. Irrespective of where your website is hosted and the kind of web software you are using, performing some basic website security checks will go a long way.