You’ve gone through all of the trouble, effort, and expense to create a website, from the initial domain registration to the setting up of a webhosting plan to the actual launch of your website. Well, now that your website is up and running and is getting traffic, have you thought about how you’re going to secure it? Website security is a high priority issue for all webmasters, and with these tips, you’ll have better luck with making sure that your website will stay secure:
Know that you’re not invincible: too many webmasters think that because they have chosen a reputable host, or because they have updated their scripts and have stayed up on PHP updates that they are immune to malicious hacking attempts. This is simply not true. Even the best maintained of websites can be brought down by a hacker who is intent on wreaking havoc. It takes persistence and attention to detail on your part, and a willingness to stay on top of things, to make your website as impregnable as possible.
Is your software up to date? Just as Microsoft and Apple routinely release updates for their operating systems, the creators of various content management systems (like WordPress and Droomal) and other scripts often release updates. These updates may be able to be configured to install automatically, or you may have to manually download them and then upload them to your server. Either way, it’s your responsibility to keep your software up to date, and by doing so you’ll be much more likely to fend off intrusion attempts via insecure scripts.
Guard your databases. SQL injections are a popular method of gaining backdoor access to a website. If you have a form that takes the inputted information and puts it in a database, you run the risk of hackers sending SQL injections — malicious code that essentially takes over the database, giving the hacker access to the entire database and possibly other aspects of your website — via this same form. Always use parametered queries for databases, and add a CAPTCHA or another form of spam prevention to your form to prevent automated hacking attempts.
Don’t give away too much info. Even if you’re using a popular CMS like WordPress, you can still lock it down by changing administrative URLs (the popular plugin WP Security can do this for you automatically), removing write access from the .htaccess file (meaning you’ll have to login via FTP in order to make any changes to it), and putting up generic login failure messages.
Enlist a professional to help. If your website has been hacked into several times or even once, consider enlisting the services of a professional webmaster, or those of a fully managed hosting company, to help you get your site locked down.