Making a website can be fun and rewarding, but there is also a lot of stress to it that you need to worry about. While most websites are not going to be the target of malicious actors, even one person who gets the mind to attack your website may do so if you don’t make it secure enough. To help you design the most secure website possible, we have prepared some handy tips and things to keep in mind during the process.
Choose the best host
This should be the first thing you consider, as it serves as the “base” of your website. Not all website hosting services are created equally, and thus, you need to be careful with whose services you pick. Look into the kinds of features and protections on offer from these companies, as these are what make or break a good host. You may consider a host like Bluehost, which offers free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification services, among other security, to help ensure that your website’s users can trust you and your host with their data. You should also make sure that whatever host you work with, they provide a web application firewall (WAF) and denial-of-service (DDOS) protections.
Cloud web hosting is also a solid option, and one any website designer would be well advised to explore. An example of a common cloud web hosting service is Amazon Web Services, which uses the Well Architected Framework system. This framework aims to make your web design process safer, more secure, and more efficient.
Find the most secure Content Management System
If you want to make your website future-proof and able to be easily edited, using a content management system (CMS) is the best approach you can take. But what CMS is the best one? Well, aside from the ease of access, you should also look out for a secure CMS system. The best way to find a secure one is to pick one that updates on a regular basis. The reason for this is because, if the CMS is updated regularly, it means that they are likely updating to deal with any security holes, both potential and actual. In addition to this, a CMS like WordPress that is user-friendly and relatively easy to modify and expand as needed. This is especially good if your website is designed by multiple people.
Don’t go overboard with your website’s add-ons
While the above-mentioned value of expandability is important, there is such a thing as going overboard with adding on too much to your website. The more add-ons and plugins you have on your website, the more you have to worry about with respect to security vulnerabilities. Over time, an add-on or plugin that goes without any proper updates may develop security holes. As such, if you choose to have many add-ons and plugins, make sure that they are regularly updated, and that you be cautious of those that are not. When you find an add-on or plugin that you feel you need, but it’s well out of date and does not appear to be seeing much in the way of updates, you may want to look for a website accessory that is taken care of and has similar functionality. Always unfortunate to have to abandon a certain feature if you can’t find it, but better than making your website insecure as a result.
Make strong passwords
No matter how big or small you are, strong password management is a vital factor to keep things secure. Whatever rules you’ve learned from making passwords in general, apply them here (if not more stringently). Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess, don’t use passwords that are shared with any other website or program you use (no exceptions). When you make your password, make sure that you jot it down in a secure spot, ideally in multiple secure spots. Definitely have a glossary of your passwords in a physical form, such as a notebook. Be sure to double-check that any password you put down in the notebook is accurate; otherwise, you may have to go through some frustration retrieving it.
Backup your website
No matter how much effort you put into making sure that your website is as secure as Fort Knox, there is always the potential that something can go wrong to see your website fall apart. In order to avoid this from happening, and ultimately losing all the work you did, make sure that you use an automated backup system that routinely collects your data.
Test your website
The best way to know whether your website is secure is simple, but seemingly counterintuitive: trying to compromise it. Look for any ways that your website may potentially become vulnerable, and whenever you find something, get it fixed right away. You should also ensure that you try every feature your users will be using, both to make sure they’re secure and that they work.