Starting a new website is a great idea. It signifies our online presence for an audience beyond the geographical barriers and enhances our visibility everywhere. However, such websites are often at risk of being exploited by people with malicious intents- or, let’s call them, hackers. To avoid the same, some steps need to be taken to fortify our defenses against attackers and ensure a peaceful time while being present online. This article talks about measures to secure your website with these easy hacks. Read on to know more!
Get a Reputed Hosting Provider
A good hosting provider can provide:
A hosting provider with standard security measures can keep your website and database safe. Besides that, good customer support, maximum uptime, lesser downtime, high-performance metrics, and affordability are more factors in selecting a good hosting provider.
Tip: SiteGround, IONOS, Hostinger, and GoDaddy are some of the reputed hosting providers with good features and add-ons.
Get an SSL-certified
An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate often comes from the hosting provider itself; however, if not, there are great free options for the users. However, having one is mandatory. Ensuring your website runs on HTTPS instead of HTTP will encrypt all the user interaction with the website. This can eliminate the man-in-the-middle threat, where sniffers can read and manipulate sensitive data.
Tip: If your hosting provider doesn’t provide SSL, you can opt for free SSL for 90 days from ZeroSSL, LetsEncrypt, and Cloudflare.
Update All the Plugins to Their Recent Versions
A set of good plugins can do wonders for our website instead of writing codes manually. However, outdated plugins can bring security issues that hackers can exploit. Plugins generally come with an auto-update feature, or one can regularly update their plugins as soon as a new version is announced. This can help fix the bugs promptly and protect your website from cyber-attacks.
All the Customized Elements Should Be Checked for Vulnerabilities
If a custom code or element is added to the website, it should be checked for vulnerabilities through scanning and manual pentesting. Potential weaknesses such as invalid inputs or accidental processing of malicious scripts can be mitigated early before they can cause damage. A source code reviewer and analyst can help if you’re unsure, or you need clarification on critical vulnerabilities.
A website can go offline and become unserviceable immediately when it fails to respond to a huge volume of requests. A massive surge in requests crafted to take a website down is a DDoS (Denial of Service) attack. Various plugins and hosting providers can be simultaneously implemented to provide anti-ddos solutions, which can ensure that the website doesn’t go offline and comes back to normal quickly after the attack.
Spam might often come with malicious requests in your website’s comment sections or the forms. Spam can cause two hazards: either can lead to mass flooding, leading to denial of services, or it can lead to illegitimate redirects. If placed in comments, other readers might become a victim to malware infection by clicking on the links. Thus, it is advised to approve the comments after thoroughly inspecting its content.
Some Plugins to Ensure the Website’s Security
Akismet: All the human-enabled input, such as comments, forms, and trackbacks, are checked for spam with the help of Akismet. This is the best spam protection and control plugin to be enabled by default.
Sucuri: Sucuri protects from hacking across multiple CMS and customized websites. It also has a “Scan My Site” feature to detect and eliminate malware.
Wordfence: Wordfence provides security for WordPress-based websites at no cost. It provides a web application firewall and alerts the user for any vulnerability detected on the website.
Google Authenticator: A Google Authenticator is a time based OTP provider to ensure multi-factor authentication when a user is trying to log into the website. This can help prevent account compromise and time-based factors can overcome brute forcing for OTP to bypass. This is a better alternative that websites should implement for developers and consumer logins.
Jetpack: Jetpack provides a complete bundle of backup, scanning, and anti-spam solutions. The plugin can be installed for free to get performance updates on the website and ensure security.
WPScan: WPScan checks for various security misconfigurations such as configuration and repository files, tokens, secret keys, weak passwords, HTTPS status, etc.
These are some of the plugins to get started with whenever you’re planning to launch your website. In the future, one can add or subscribe to premium services provided by the above plugins as per requirement and threat analysis.
Secure Your Website With These Easy Hacks (From the Website Owner’s Point of View)
While the plugins and software do their work, as a website owner, here are a few things you should do to secure your website:
- Ensure there is more than one way to authorize a user. If multiple people contribute to a website, the backend panel should be accessed only after Google authentication or mail/SMS OTP.
- Once a contributor completes their job, remove their access from sensitive files and privileges.
- Verify the traffic to get an idea about the spam bots or legitimate users and only engage with the actual users.
- If your website has many users, safeguard their access database and passwords by encouraging them to MFA and regularly alerting them about the password policy.
- Keep regularly checking for anomalies in the website and hosting logs to see hidden threats.
- Keep your customers informed about any website with different TLD trying to impersonate you and report for a takedown at earliest.
Towards the Conclusion
We have listed some plugins and safety factors to consider if you want to start your own website. It can be exciting to be on a new venture but secure your website with these easy hacks. With this, we wrap up. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Author Bio: This article has been written by Rishika Desai, B.Tech Computer Engineering graduate with 9.57 CGPA from Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology (VIIT), Pune. Currently works as Cyber Threat Researcher at CloudSEK. She is a good dancer, poet and a writer. Animal love engulfs her heart and content writing comprises her present. You can follow Rishika on Twitter at @ich_rish99.