How to Protect Your Website from Hackers, Crashes and Catastrophes

Posted on May 13, 2022 | Updated on October 10, 2022

The average website takes time, money and consistent effort to create something powerful enough to convert browsers into buyers. Unfortunately, your site might be at risk from a number of catastrophes you don’t foresee. Taking the time to ensure protect your website is good business for you and your customers. 

In a study by Positive Technologies, researchers found skilled hackers can breach company networks 93% of the time, getting around protections even large corporations put in place. Fortunately, many hackers are amateurs or less skilled, so adding a few safeguards can save you a lot of potential headaches. 

With new regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act of the European Union (EU), it’s more vital than ever for companies to ensure data remains secure. If you serve even one customer who is a citizen of an EU country, you fall under potential fines from GDPR rules. Learning how to protect your website is vital in the digital age.

Top Tips for How to Protect Your Website

Protecting your website from hackers keeps your customer data safe and prevents lost time while your store sits hacked. You also should put a few safeguards in place against web server crashes. Here are our top tips for protecting your digital asset. 

1. Keep a Backup

Even if your hosting company keeps backups of your site, you should still install software that sends a copy to a secure location to a different server. Whether you use WordPress or some other content management system (CMS), you can automate the process and create backups daily to better protect your website.

In the case of your entire site going down, a hosting server suddenly going defunct or a hacker taking over, you’ll have a clean copy of your site backed up. You can always restore what you had before the incident. 

Backups are smart business sense. You can easily automate most backups and even use programs such as If This Then That (IFTTT) to send files from your server to another location for safekeeping. Protect your website by ensuring you always have a current copy of files.

2. Add Plugins

There’s a pretty big chance you use WordPress or some other popular CMS platform. Approximately 39.5% of all websites use WordPress, and it being open source software means there are constantly new plugins being released. You’ll find a number of ones for adding firewalls and protections to your site to protect it from hackers. The great thing about using a ready-made plugin is that it will likely be updated frequently, so you don’t have to worry as much about hackers finding a way around the system. 

3. Use Secure Socket Layers (SSL)

If you aren’t already using HTTPS, you should start today to protect your website assets. Not only does it keep your website more secure, but some web browsers won’t pull your site up or will throw up a warning if you don’t use SSL. 

SSL ensures any information sent via a form, for example, is encrypted. If someone sends personal information to you, it is much harder for cyber criminals to intercept it. 

4. Use Anti-Malware

Scan your site frequently for malware. Catching issues early prevents extreme problems. You can get rid of the offending software and clean your site so no one else gets infected. If you have multiple people working on your site, it’s far more likely one might have a virus on their computer and accidentally create some vulnerabilities for you.

In addition to scanning your site, train employees to keep anti-malware and virus protection on their personal devices and scan frequently to protect your website. In today’s remote worker world, it’s common to have people all around the world accessing your site and databases and working on them. Ensure safety by training your workers in best practices. 

5. Make Passwords Complicated

One way hackers gain access to websites is via simple passwords. For example, if the software comes with a default username “admin” with password “admin,” and you don’t change it, a hacker will get in nearly every time. Protect your website with complex phrases and hard-to-guess passwords.

Google conducted a study and discovered around 52% of people use the exact same password on multiple sites. Around 13% use the same password for everything they do. If even one site gets hacked, you’ve now compromised your password on every site out there. 

Force frequent password changes for any user on your site, preferably at least every 90 days. Yes, it’s a bit more work, but it also protects your site from an employee having a compromised password and a hacker getting in via a backdoor. 

Set rules around password creation that force users to add capitalization, numbers, special characters and vary things.

6. Update Software Frequently

One of the reasons software developers release updates is to circumvent hackers. If they see a potential security flaw, you can be almost certain a hacker already knows about the vulnerability.

Whether you’re on WordPress or some other platform, take the time to update releases to your software as soon as you see them. Set reminders to check once a week or set them to update automatically. 

7. Disable File Uploads

If you run a business where you have to accept file uploads from clients or remote workers, consider third-party solutions instead. It’s far too easy for someone to inject an infected file via upload. 

Not only will using a third-party project management platform protect you from such threats–you can run scans before downloading files–but you’ll save space on your own servers and likely pay less for storage on a PM platform. 

Prevent Lost Time and Money

Beefing up your website’s security protects you from hackers and crashes. The last thing you want to experience is costly downtime or damage to your reputation for allowing your clients’ information into the wrong hands. A few extra minutes of securing your site will protect you from unwanted attacks. Protect your website and protect your business investment.

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About The Author

Cooper Adwin is the Assistant Editor of Designerly Magazine. With several years of experience as a social media manager for a design company, Cooper particularly enjoys focusing on social and design news and topics that help brands create a seamless social media presence. Outside of Designerly, you can find Cooper playing D&D with friends or curled up with his cat and a good book.

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