The internet has become one of the best forms of marketing your business online.
Not only because you can reach a global audience 24 hours a day, but you also have the ability to effectively track every visitor to your website with Google Analytics, providing you with information that is critical to your marketing.
The web is now the most important marketing tool you can possibly have, and smart businesses are now using it as an integral part of their business to manage bookings, automate client responses, provide online courses and of course, sell products online.
But one thing many people tend to forget is that if your website runs on a content management platform such as WordPress, you are actually running an operating system.
Even your website hosting is basically a computer server, and like any operating system such as Windows of Mac OSX, and as they are connected to the rest of the world, ensuring the security of your website is extremely important, yet overlooked by many website owners.
WordPress is a great operating system for a website and a very secure system in it’s own rite, however it’s not uncommon to hear of websites being compromised and basically destroyed by hackers, and in most cases this could have been voided with a few simple steps taken by the website owner.
How to improve your website security.
1. Ensure Passwords are secure.
Lack of a secure password is the most common reason websites are compromised.
I recommend ensuring both your hosting and website password be a minimum of 20 characters, and a mix of numbers, letters and symbols, to ensure it is virtually impossible to be cracked.
It is also advised to change your passwords every 6 to 12 months to ensure the best possible security.
If remembering your passwords are hard, a handy little App called 1 Password by AgileBits can manage all your passwords from your computer or mobile device, and it’s very secure.
2. Ensure your computer is free from viruses.
If you connect to your website or hosting from your computer, ensure that your own computer is free from viruses and trojans, as it’s not uncommon for keystrokers to be implanted by viruses. These keystrokers copy the strokes you make on your keyboard, and then relay it to the hacker, allowing them access to your website.
It is recommended that you run anti-virus that also checks for trojans at least once a week. To be really sure, run two different packages, as sometimes not all anti-virus apps pick up all issues.
Ensure you always have your anti-virus updated to the latest Definitions before running it to ensure it picks up on any new bugs.
3. Limit your access to other operators.
In come cases, web developers or website managers outsource the website operations to third parties, giving them access to make changes to the site. This potentially opens up the opportunity for others to compromise their login details. So as mentioned in the first point above, make sure you regularly change passwords and ensure only select people have access to the latest, secure password.
4. Ensure your hosting and and website operating platform is up to date.
Your hosting and website is like any other operating system, which needs to be updated regularly. We often hear about Windows and Mac updating their systems with patches when any holes have been found in security. Your website is no different, so ensure that you are always running the latest updates of WordPress and any plugins to ensure you limit the changes of your site being compromised. WordPress and most plugins are free to update, but ensure you always backup the entire website and database first before installing. If you are unsure, ask your web developer to assist.
5. Plugins that can assist in security
Wordpress has many free plugins available that can assist in ensuring your website is secure from attacks.
The first that is recommended is Updraft, which is a free backup plugin. This can be set up to backup your website every week, month or even day, saving a copy on your hosting or Dropbox, so if anything does happen to go wrong with your site you can simply reinstall the latest backup of your site and database and limit any downtime or expensive maintenance/redevelopment costs.
Another free App that is great to ensure security of your website is Wordfence. This handy app blocks any attempts to hack into your site either through your hosting or WordPress login, and notifies you automatically if an attempt is made, if any files have been added or removed and more. It also provides you details of the attackers IP address, making it very easy to track them down.
It is recommended if you’re not running something like this to ask your web developer to install it for you.
So, now that you have your website nice and secure, you can get on to doing what you do best in your business, without having to worry about about your website security.