The more sophisticated hackers’ tools become, the more important it becomes to ensure that your website is secure. Even if you use a content management system to build your site, you can still be vulnerable to hackers. Be lax on security and the next thing you know your site is down for an extended period of time, some radical organization is using your website to proclaim their dubious agenda, or your personal information has been compromised.
Not every hacker wants to steal from you, although many do. Some are malicious people who want simply to disrupt your site, thereby causing you downtime and a considerable loss of income. Their “victory” is to prove to themselves that they can cripple your organization. To boost your website’s security, realize that although your hosting service might itself be secure, it cannot protect you from all outside attacks. It is up to you to add that extra layer of web hosting security.
Among the ways you can make your website more secure is by following five steps that experts recommend you take.
1. Improve Your Password Protection
It might be easy to remember a single password when you use it on all your accounts, but you risk exposing all your personal information when you do so. The data in all of them becomes vulnerable should the password be broken and a hacker uses it to gain entry to all the sites. The answer clearly is to avoid using the same password for more than one site. Each should be unique. Make sure, too, that your passwords are not obvious. Using your birth date, your address, your favorite sports team, or even your pet’s name are not good ideas. The best kind of password is one in which the letters and figures are totally random and, within reason, the longer the password the better. Most experts suggest you use at least 12 characters. A number of sites offer password-generating software. It makes sense to use it.
In addition to making sure that your passwords are not easy to break, it is also important to change them regularly. The longer you keep the same password, and particularly if you use it across several sites, the greater your chances that it will fall into the wrong hands.
2. Check Regularly For Updates To The Software You Are Using
When companies find a bug in their software that could cause it to be less secure, they generally set about fixing it as soon as possible. It makes sense therefore, that you should continually check for updates to ensure that you are protected. Some companies will inform you that a new update is available, but others do not do so and it is up to you to ascertain whether they are available. Checking every week is a good idea. This advice applies also to scripts and tools you might use on your website. You should find out if patches or bug fixes are available for them, too.
3. Conduct Regular Checks On Your Websites’ Health
Visit your own sites regularly to make sure they are looking and acting as they should. Doing so might sound obvious, but many people who operate blogs or small websites tend to leave them for weeks and even months without checking if they are even still there. Obviously when you see something wrong you should take steps immediately to correct the situation. Not only should you make sure your sites are up and running, it also is a good idea to look regularly at the folders and files that contain your data on your hosting service.
If you do not change your site often, you might think it is unnecessary to examine that information regularly, but you need to be aware that some hackers may place viruses into your files or add files into your folders. Subtle changes might be made to the data that could slowly cause your site to deteriorate and even collapse. Should you notice abnormalities, and particularly if you notice files that should not be there, set about correcting the damage and immediately change your passwords to prevent more penetration of your data.
4. Use Secure Forms Of Transfer Whenever Possible
Web hosting security is not only important for your files that reside on the hosting service’s server. It makes sense to maintain security when you transfer your files to the server, too. When you use regular FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software, the files that are transmitted are clear data and can be compromised during the transfer. If this aspect is a concern to you, it makes sense to use SFTP, a secure form of transfer that encrypts your files while you are uploading them. Ask your web host if this service is available. If it is not, look for a program you can download that supports SFTP.
5. Back Up Often
Should your website fall victim to hacking, it can all disappear in an instant. It is a gut wrenching feeling to realize that, in a worst-case scenario, all the data you so carefully built up over months and even years is gone and you cannot go back in time and recover it again. Restoring the data you added after your most recent back-up is almost as bad.
Clearly, the answer is to back up your data as often as possible. Once a week works for many people, but an even better suggestion is to back up your site every time you make a change to it, no matter how small it may be. Some hosting services provide back-up services, but even if they do, it is often up to you to make sure that the files are backed up.
Sleep More Soundly
Of course, it seems that nothing is invulnerable these days, but these steps will go a long way in boosting your web hosting security so that you will not need to have sleepless nights worrying about it.