How to Secure a Website: 7 Best Strategies For a Safe Online Environment [2022]

An average website is exposed to up to 94 cyberattacks every day! Possibly as a result of this, 68% of business leaders think their cybersecurity risks are on the rise.

Securing your website against the rising number of online threats is absolutely essential for preserving the integrity of your business and the trust of your customers.

In this article, we will discuss how to secure a website using 7 tried and tested methods and strategies that efficiently repel the most common types of cyberattacks.

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Why Make Your Website Secure? 6 Most Common Cybersecurity Threats

All businesses, especially eCommerce and those dealing with sensitive user data like payment methods, should be aware of the potential threats in the cybersphere.

The six most common types of cyberattacks come from these malicious sources:

  • Ransomware: If a ransom is not paid, the hacker may threaten to publish your data or deny visitors access to your website.
  • Malicious code and viruses: Your website might go down or you might not be able to access it if malicious code or a virus is injected into it. It's possible that all of your hardware will also be impacted.
  • Phishing: Scammers approach your clients while posing as a part of your company and using your branding in an effort to collect personal data.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): Hackers use bots to flood a website with requests, causing the server crash.
  • Gibberish hack: Plenty of automatically generated pages that are stuffed with keywords and random text in an effort to rank on Google for relevant terms. When clicked, they will direct you to a dubious website.
  • Cloaked keyboard hacks: Similar to the above, but a little more sophisticated; at first glance, these will resemble the pages of your website because only the written content has been changed.

How to Secure a Website: 7 Essential Strategies

The below seven website security methods are efficient against the above-mentioned types of threats as well as against human errors.

1. Claim and Install an SSL Certificate

Installing an SSL certificate is among the simplest things you can do to safeguard your website and your users. Although you may not be aware of it, SSL is frequently encountered online. It is the "s" in "https" and the lock icon in the address bar.

Information passing between your website and visitors is encrypted by SSL. In addition to alerting users when they enter a site without SSL, Google now "discriminates" against non-SSL websites in its search results.

If you're accepting payments, requesting login information, or transferring files through your website, SSL security is especially crucial. Without it, users’ sensitive data is exposed to hackers and is not protected.

There are various methods for installing SSL. We propose three main approaches.

  • Select a reputable website builder that offers free SSL.
  • If you're building your website using a content management system like WordPress, pick a hosting company that offers a free SSL with all plans.
  • Install a free, basic Let's Encrypt SSL

You must pay for an advanced SSL certificate if you want a significantly higher level of security. You can purchase these for a range of prices from hosting companies or domain registrars.

2. Update and Backup Your Site Regularly

By making backups of your website, you can be sure that in the worst case scenario, you'd still have a current version of the site safely stored and prepared for relaunch.

A backup is essentially a copy of the files, content, media, and databases that make up your website. You will require more backup storage to store all of your data if your website is large or complex.

How do you backup your website so that everything continues to run smoothly? There are a variety of ways to backup your website, for example by using a:

  • Paid backup service like CodeGuard or Sucuri to handle the work for you
  • Web host that offers backups as part of its plans. Some hosts come with built-in backup software or offer it as an add-on.
  • WordPress plugin like VaultPress or UpdraftPlus. Users of WordPress can easily manage their own backup preferences and install the plugin of their choice.

If you don't update the scripts, security, and software on your website, malware and hackers will have no trouble exploiting your website.

This also applies to patches from the hosting provider for your website. When a website update becomes available, install it as soon as you can.

The certificates for your website should also be kept current. While your website's security won't be directly impacted, doing this will keep it visible in search results.

3. Opt For Secure Hosting

Web hosting service are a big consideration for making your website secure. Pick yours carefully.

Inquire about their security platform prior to building or transferring your website to a host. The best hosts collaborate with or employ professionals in the area of internet security. They are aware of how crucial it is that their clients' websites are secure from attacks.

Make sure a fallback is offered. You might lose important data as a result of hack attacks. Rebuilding your website from a backup is simpler than starting from scratch.

4. Use Anti-Malware Software and Other Tools

There are numerous anti-malware options available. Some have free plans while others require payment.

Different levels of security with these programs imply that you can customize your security to meet both the needs of your website and your budget. It offers a variety of security services, such as:

  • Vulnerability patching
  • DDoS protection
  • PCI compliance
  • Web scanning
  • Malware detection and removal
  • Web application firewall

You should trust a reputable website builder or hosting company to take care of your site's security. Anti-malware software is frequently a part of hosting providers' plans.

Another set of tools is integrated by other providers, such as:

  • Unfree SSL
  • Hack protection
  • Automatic backups
  • DDoS defense

These are the fundamental security requirements for your website and the features you should search for when choosing a hosting company. Anti-malware software provides you with a welcome additional layer of protection, whether your provider includes built-in tools or offers supplemental freebies.

5. Implement Multi-level Login and Strong Passwords

There is a lot of ground to cover in terms of login security. But with just two straightforward implementations—strong passwords and multi-factor authentication—you can achieve a lot in that regard.

This is due to the fact that strong login security is built on a minimum of two layers. It’s usually a strong password and a code send to email or a phone.

Create multi-factor authentication logins once you have a secure password. This simply means that whenever a user wants to log in to your website, they will have to enter a code, which is typically sent to a device.

A strong password is the first step to the best website security. Every website's backend (the developer side) has a password-protected area. Although it may be tempting, resist the urge to use an easy-to-remember password.

Choose something that is extremely secure and difficult to decipher for anyone other than you. Use a combination of capital letters, punctuation, and numbers when creating passwords, or use a secure password generated by a password manager. Never use anything that is simple to deduce. This applies to every employee in your company.

6. Use a Web Application Firewall

Because it relies on pre-established rules to recognize and stop attacks, a web application firewall is comparable to the firewall on your computer. This makes them particularly effective at stopping widespread attacks and IT issues like SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site forgery.

Even with the constantly shifting threat landscape, a WAF is a crucial tool. You'll notice that the majority of contemporary WAFs can quickly modify and deploy rules as new vulnerabilities are found.

The three main types of WAFs that serve as the first line of defense are:

  • Host-based firewall: Included in the application itself by way of a plugin or application.
  • Cloud-based firewall: The easiest to integrate option and, therefore, most popular.
  • Host-based firewall: Included in the application itself by way of a plugin or application.

7. Educate and Train Your Employees

95% of online and network security breaches are caused by human error.

Smart hackers can trick even the best cyber security firms, but occasionally the guilty party is identified as an untrained employee. Even if your staff members are the best in the business at what they do, they are still capable of making simple errors that invite viruses and attacks.

You must teach your staff to be alert for suspicious activity and cautious when clicking any dubious links or emails from unknown senders if you want to prevent these kinds of errors. Employees may give unauthorized access to sensitive data, including email addresses, phone numbers, login information, and credit/debit information, as a result of phishing attacks in particular.

Run a cyber security awareness training program within your company to instruct your staff on how to safeguard the information of the business and its clients.

How to Secure a Website Takeaways

Websites and their users are most commonly exposed to ransomware, malicious codes and viruses, phishing attempts and Denial of Service. Enterprise cybersecurity is a crucial consideration when running an online business.

To effectively put a stop to these attempts, you should cover these website security grounds:

  • Install an SSL certificate
  • Make regular backups
  • Update your website
  • Choose secure hosting
  • Use two-factor authentication and strong passwords
  • Use anti-malware software
  • Opt for web application firewall
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