The process of making a website secure isn’t as complicated as many people assume. It comes down to decisions made in the design stage of a new site development, although some aspects can be retrospectively added. Any incurred costs will be nominal and hugely outweighed by potential revenue increases, especially as secure websites perform more strongly in search engine results. Google and Bing aim to provide high-quality results in response to searches, and they regard secure sites as more trustworthy. That makes them more likely to be recommended ahead of insecure competitors.
These are some of the ways to create a secure site, even on a restricted budget:
Incorporate security software.
A quarter of the world’s websites are constructed in WordPress, which offers thousands of security-based plugins. Many of these are free (and some can be installed with just a few clicks), and they can restrict unsuccessful login attempts and constantly scan for malware infections, for example. Others create a firewall to reduce the likelihood of hacking, or DDoS attacks designed to take a website offline and prevent anyone from viewing it. Non-WordPress websites are also easily protected using a variety of dedicated and multipurpose software tools.
Obtain an SSL certificate.
Also known as TLS certificates, they establish an encrypted connection between host servers and recipient devices, preventing anyone from observing any confidential data transfer. WestHost includes SSL certificates in each Business and Unlimited Business hosting package, helping customers to apply and install this valued certificate. Search engines love SSL certificates, and so do consumers – research has suggested only 3% of customers would supply card data to a website without a padlock icon or green address bar (both signifying the presence of a secure HTTPS connection).
Thoroughly beta test the site prior to launch.
Security extends beyond transaction encryption into areas like robust ecommerce platforms. If a customer attempts to navigate back to a previous page midway through a checkout process, is the site robust enough to protect their data and preserve the basket contents? Streamlined code gives glitches less room to hide while reducing add-ons and plugins lowers the risk of inadvertently creating vulnerabilities. Contact forms are notoriously prone to weak spots, so consider replacing non-essential forms with a hyperlinked email address.
Keep the site and its contents updated.
New malware is released into the wild on an hourly basis, so a WordPress plugin or antivirus database updated last month could be vulnerable. Plugins are notorious for ceasing to function or for not automatically updating, meaning that website security requires ongoing attention. Check content management system portals for software updates, and always approve installation requests to ensure that adequate protection is being provided against new or evolving threats.
Establish 2FA logins.
Two-factor authentication was pioneered by online banking services, typically requiring a desktop computer and a mobile device to add new payees or set up regular payments. On a solitary device, 2FA might include a password on one login screen followed by a PIN code on the next, with the latter supplied via the post or SMS. Two-factor authentication is valuable for site administrators, preventing unlawful access to databases or client information documents. However, it’s also beneficial for consumers, as it reduces the likelihood of their data being acquired and used by criminals.
Finally, it’s always advisable to choose a web hosting company that prioritizes security to ensure retained data isn’t misplaced or somehow susceptible to hacking. WestHost prioritizes security and the provision of SSL certificates, but web hosting firms don’t always invest in military-grade security or 24/7 technical support. These ought to be factors in any decision about a long-term hosting partner for your website.