Keeping your website safe is a top concern for most bloggers. There are things that can damage the integrity of your site and harm your livelihood, and the chances of being affected by a harmful security threat can be staggeringly high. Anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time online can probably recount a horror story involving a computer virus or a hacking incident. It can be a frustrating experience.
While safeguarding your website can be a chore, you don’t have to do it alone. A reliable web hosting service can provide you with the help and security you need to keep your website running healthy. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, and things happen. No matter how proficient you may be in running your blog, viruses and data-breaching programs are always evolving and changing the game. You don’t need to be a tech junkie to prepare yourself for all the possible risks you may face, but you can at least buff up on some easy ways to master several safety techniques that can be beneficial to the health of your website. Below is a list of things to consider when looking to maximize your websites security:
Strong Password: The first step in securing your website starts with crafting a reliable password. I encourage you to think hard about this one, as it can be tempting to settle for something that is simple and easy to remember. Setting up your password as “password” or “1234” is an easy way to put yourself in a vulnerable position. In fact, it’s one of the first things a data hacker will look for. Don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk for the sake of convenience. If you have a hard time remembering the password that you’ve painstakingly created, you can always write it down on a notepad or a piece of paper.
Remember, a passwords strength comes from a combination of its length and composition. It should be on the longer side (8-9 digits minimum) and contain a random mix of numbers, letters and special characters. You can fit these out however you like and find a password that works for you. For instance, if you want something that’s easy to remember but still complex enough to never have to guess it, try going with something you like and change it up a bit.
If you want to incorporate your favorite animals, locations or people into your password, you can always do that. Be creative! If you like owls, create a password along the lines of “@WleR571” or whatever combination is appropriate for you. This can be helpful in remember your password while not having to worry about its complexity.
Regular Maintenance: Providing regular upkeep over your website will help keep it consistent and lessen the amount of errors, bugs and hiccups that are bound to appear. You’ve most likely experienced your fair share of these over the life of your blog. Not only is it good work ethic, but it will allow you to be more alert and informed of any suspicious activity or problems facing your website. WordPress frequently releases updates that are created to improve the experience and security of your website. If you end up ignoring these updates, you won’t be able to access them. Also be sure to update your plugins and delete old ones. Always look to make sure that your plugins come from an official source and not a third-party host or file from an unknown or unreliable location.
Combating Malware: Possibly the most odious repeat offender that will target your website, malware represents a wide range of harmful programs and viruses intent on mucking up your computer and stealing your personal information. Not only can it inject hostile foreign codes into your website, but your entire computers database and content can be targeted as well. The host of damaging viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, scripts and many more can be a tough adversary. Luckily there are several options available to you should you look to protect your web content against these plagues.
- Securi Security services offer a WordPress friendly plugin that will monitor and safeguard your WordPress blog, free of charge.
- Using an application like Malwarebytes, a proprietary anti-malware program designed to help combat the effects of malware. You can scan, identify and remove unwanted programs and files from your computer. It is simple to use and can save you in a pinch!
Reliable Backups: A backup will create a carbon copy of your existing web content, from its plugins and theme down to its database. If your website has been irreparably damaged by a virus, having a system backup will provide you with an opportunity to restore your website to its most recently secured form. This can be an important cure-all for websites or databases that have been heavily compromised and cannot be entirely fixed. I’ll note that while it’s greater to have, it can’t prevent your website from being infected again. You’ll need to back it up again should this occur. Always check in with your hosting provider to see if they offer backups that are frequent and available for your needs.
Shared Server Risks: If your website is being hosted on a shared server, the risk of infection could be high. This is because you’re lumped together with many other sites that all share the same server space. So the security risks facing your website will be multiplied by the security risks facing all over websites held on that server. You may trust yourself in securing your content, but can you trust a large group of random strangers to do the same?
You can always purchase a VPS (Virtual Private Server) for yourself if security is your top concern. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid shared-servers all together. If money is tight and you’d prefer to use a shared server for your needs, you can look into whether your hosting provider offers maxed shared server or specialized shared servers. There’s a big difference between hosting your website in a shared server managing 100 different websites versus one that only manages 10 hosted websites.
SSL Protection: Commonly known as Secure Socket Layer, SSL protection is a technology that allows encrypted data to be transmitted securely between a web browser and a web server. Many business’s and popular shopping networks use this as a method of securely allowing clients and customers to input and transmit private data (such as credit card information) whenever information is exchanged. This provides a safe standard for handling online payments or sending out private contact info. If you intend to host a website that will handle a lot of online transactions, then this service would be a great and long-lasting addition to your sites security features.
Installing a Firewall: Another great security feature you can add to buff up your website is a cloud-based firewall, or web application firewall (known as a WAF). Once installed, a WAF can read all incoming traffic to your site and block any traffic that seems suspect. Malicious codes will be turned away and will be unable to enter and damage your website. Hackers will have a much harder time attempting to break into your site, Taken alongside other important safety measures, you can build yourself a strong and secure web presence.