Website security is a top priority in the present world. Attacks are deadly and unpredictable, and they come in many forms, including ransomware, hackers and denial of service. Modern business owners know they should secure against these attacks if normal business is to continue.
If potential customers visit your site via Google, and receive a message reading “this site cannot be trusted”, the immediate response is to run as far away as possible. This is true for any security warning.
Have you ever been on a certain site when you are redirected to a different one that looks spammy and shoddy? It is often a sweepstake page which has no back button, and usually means the initial page, ad script or piece of code has been hacked. Worse still, the audience may not give the victim a chance to explain what went wrong with his website.
Wordpress is a great platform with tons of benefits, but it has had many security holes that have been exploited by hackers. With the flexible power of the content management system - that mixes up a number of plugins and themes, - comes the increased potential for mischievous access.
So how can you protect your website from malicious individuals who only care about their own self-interests? Follow this approach that has worked for many others in the past.
Find a host who prioritizes security
The first step in the journey towards a safe website is to select a good web host provider whose main focus is security. Review all the options by asking what security measures the host brings to the table. Your host needs to offer you an integrated environment able to secure your page from the bad guys out there.
The provider should essentially ensure all the steps down below one are well taken care of. You have too much on your plate to start worrying about the security of your website. You need to focus on other key areas, like building good content that builds relationships with your target audience.
Ensure you have automatic updates from WordPress in place
Open source software such as WordPress are fantastic, because not only do they undergo constant changes performed by thousands of people, they also have an equal number of eyes looking for ways to improve security. You should update your WordPress to the latest version to take advantage of such benefits. You need to keep track of new updates, make sure your site is backed up and hope the updates don’t trigger something nasty. Repeat the process in a few weeks’ time when another update has been released.
The process can be stressful, which is why you need a good host who can take care of it for you using an automatic update feature.
Never forget that themes and plugins are risky
You must understand the risk posed by the kind of plugins and themes you intend to install, because some of them add to the security holes of your site. You are safer if your host has recommended themes such as StudioPress Sites.
There are plenty of plugin code leads and shoddy themes that allow hackers to access your site, including killing its performance and speed. Make sure you only use themes and plugins that have passed tests by security-conscious providers.
The Genesis Framework is an example of a good host, loaded with more than 20 child themes and great codes that provide a strong defense against attacks of every nature. It also has an automatic update system, so when an update has been released you can be sure you have a new protection layer in addition to the latest WordPress version.
Plugins are also crucial in this step. You want to also ensure you select only the best plugins in your site’s environment, and track their updates as well. Plugins can either be the best thing that happened to your site, or the worst.
Keep your site safe from DDoS attacks
DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. It is a forceful attack that results from multiple compromised systems such as bots, saturating your website with lots of traffic.
Ensure your host has proactive and aggressive technology that lets it quickly sense and mitigate risks. It should also have the ability to detect and ban repeat offenders accordingly.
StudioPress Sites, for instance, have awesome technology that takes care of DDoS attacks. The “always on” prevention technology keeps your WordPress secure from intrusions, vulnerabilities, and exploitation.
You should ask your host provider how they take care of DDoS attacks. They should be able to explain their mitigation measures in detail, because these kind of attacks are quite serious.
Use a secure password
This may sound unimportant but it has brought many people and businesses down in the past. Many people prefer easy-to-remember passwords such as 123456, or the name of someone or something close to them. This makes it easy for hackers to gain access to your website.
To avoid this, use lengthy, strong passwords. The rule of thumb is to employ a mixture of capitals, letters, numbers and special characters, If you need more detailed information about generation of strong passwords, follow this link.
Become PCI compliant
PCI (payment security card industry) is a security standard. It protects business owners and their customers from cyber-attacks and internet fraud, by offering a baseline documented security for your site. PCI compliant businesses must obey this security standard if major credit cards are part of their operations. Those who don’t adhere to it are faced with serious financial damages, government fines, lawsuits and a ruined brand reputation if a breach occurs.
Put a continuous system in place for monitoring malware
Having a continuous malware monitoring system is not negotiable if you are to stay on top of website attacks. This is necessary because you are not able to monitor each individual file and folder in your website, to ascertain if a hacker has accessed your site and left with something.
Malicious codes and hacks do not always reveal themselves in an obvious and public way. You should be aware of anything strange on your website at all times, so you know what action to take to combat it.
A good host does continuous malware monitoring, remediation and scanning to root out any unwanted malware. If anything unusual is found the host should be responsible for removing it, relieving you of the task. This also covers scanning to discover advanced threats, such as the recent cyber intrusions and conditional malware.
When it comes to cybersecurity, trust a good host provider to offer the entire package. But you need to have all the information available to you in case you need to take the matters into your own hands.
Have you been the victim of a cyber-attack on your website? We would love to know if the steps above helped you deal with the menace, so go ahead and share your story in the comments section below. Do not forget to share the article within your circles as well.