How To

How to Make My Site Secure: 7 Site Security Best Practices

Creating a website is a great way to increase your visibility online and promote more sales, but customers should feel safe shopping with you. When customers feel that your website offers a safe shopping experience, they will buy your products over those of a competitor whose site is less secure. 

If you want to improve your website’s security, free and paid options are available to keep your site functioning right for your customers. Read on to learn about security solutions for your website, and subscribe to Revenue Weekly for more online marketing tips.

1. Use an SSL certificate

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate contains data files that encode any information users type on your site. These files also protect the data you send back to users from your server.

An SSL certificate makes it much more difficult for hackers to access sensitive information that consumers type over the web. There are several varieties of SSL certificates available. 

Some offer robust protection for a fee. You can also find free SSL certificates through various providers. Once you have obtained an SSL certificate, you should install HTTPS on your site because these two website protection measures work together for online safety. 

2. Install HTTPS on your site

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) transfers website data. HTTPS is the secure version of this protocol. HTTPS encrypts any information that customers submit on your site, offering more security. 

HTTPS also provides data integrity — meaning that data cannot be modified during transfer — and authentication — ensuring that users communicate with the intended website. 

If you need to update your site to HTTPS, Google has a guide for best practices. Mainly, updating your site requires redirecting users from HTTP to HTTPS pages. You also must purchase an SSL certificate before enabling HTTPS.

You will want HTTPS on website pages that request usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive data. 

3. Train your staff for security threats

HTTPS and an SSL certificate provide a layer of protection for data sent between browsers and servers but cannot prevent users’ free sharing of information

Phishing emails are the most prominent example. You may receive emails telling you to reset your password or provide other sensitive information. If shared, this information will help hackers access your site. 

Web security training is one of the most effective ways to prevent security threats because many breaches happen due to simple mistakes like sharing information. 

If you are looking for a cheap way to increase security for your website, host a meeting or seminar about website security. Educate your employees about common security threats so they will avoid them in the future. 

4. Use strong passwords 

Another way to improve your website security is through strong passwords. While a password like “123456” is easy to remember, it’s also easy to hack. 

If you’d like to create strong passwords for your site, you can use a free password generator tool. You can customize passwords based on the required length and the number of required digits. 

When creating a website, store your customers’ passwords securely. One method to safeguard passwords and other sensitive information is to avoid saving them as plain text. Instead, use an algorithm to store the data as an incomprehensible string of numbers and letters. 

When you create strong passwords and store them securely on your site, your website security increases because hackers have greater difficulty accessing private information.

5. Back up your website

When you perform regular maintenance on your website, you can conduct periodic backups. Having these available is beneficial because, if your site experiences problems, you have a recent version that you can restore. 

A downed website will mean many lost sales when you do business online. Backing up your website increases security and allows you to function better as a business. 

If your server crashes, someone hacks your site, or other issues arise, a site backup is the quickest way to restore your website and ensure it functions properly again. 

6. Update your site regularly

Site updates will correct problems that cause security vulnerabilities on your website. Content management systems (CMS) release updates regularly to fix security issues. 

If you use a CMS, install updates as soon as they are released to protect your site consistently. 

Some platforms allow for automatic updates, but if yours does not, consider adding an update notification plug-in or setting reminders to check for updates regularly.

7. Scan for security threats

In the same way, you install cameras around your brick-and-mortar business building to watch for security threats, you should do the same with your website. 

You can watch for security threats in various ways. The first is using a website security analysis, which is a website scan that checks for viruses, spam, malware, and more. You can do this using a tool or enlist security analysis services from an agency.

Another way to protect your online business from security threats is to use website security tools. Depending on your needs, these tools will look for weak spots on your site, guard against password hacks, and more.

Various free and paid tools are available to scan for threats. You should also consider installing web application firewall (WAF) software. This security solution will assess all incoming traffic to your website to determine if it’s legitimate.

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