Do you want to ensure that your website doesn’t end up in the large stockpile of awesomely designed but poorly safeguarded sites? If yes, follow these simple tips and tricks.
1. Get an SSL certification
This is a non-negotiable for any website designer. The lack of an SSL certificate simply means that you are not serious about your site’s security. The first impressions about your site’s security are always revealed via this certificate. Seeing a green padlock alongside the address bar makes users believe that you are not an average website, and you genuinely care about protecting their data and your business. Some browsers can often display active warnings that a site is not secure before redirecting users to your address. No matter how good a website you create, this warning can instantly drive the users away from you.
Therefore, getting an SSL certification should always be your top priority. Ideally, your web hosting provider should be able to provide you with the SSL certificate. Some hosting companies will also offer discounts if you buy in bulk.
2. Never use the defaults
It is easy for website admins to leave logins as system defaults. This means that the site administrator tends to login using the username “admin” and with generic passwords like “admin1234”. If you have a habit of doing this, stop right now. An attacker wouldn’t have to spend any time even guessing your password. He would hit generic passwords and will gain access to your website easily. Make sure that you make your username and password more intricate.
Another important part of the login process is to rename your login page to something different and unique. If an attacker can visit your website’s login using its typical log screen, he will be one step closer to hacking or exploiting it. Therefore, changing the login address from www.abc.com/login to www.abc.com/user-login will be a much better idea. It is a nifty little trick used by smart designers everywhere to ensure their safety.
3. Show preference for strong passwords
If your website allows users to log into their personal dashboards, you should always ask them to feed complex passwords. Some websites will allow users to keep any password as long as it is 5 to 8 characters long. Such simple passwords are very easy to crack. An attacker, just like the previous case, will only have to make a few easy guesses to login to any user’s account. Of course, this cannot be a good situation.
Ask users to feed in complex and strong passwords. Make the passwords longer than 8 characters and ask for an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a special character too. This will be much more helpful to your users. Though it might make them create passwords they can’t easily remember, it will also enhance their security and safety.
4. Download plugins from WordPress only
Even if you are getting a WordPress template free, make sure that you are downloading it from an untrustworthy source. It is vital to find a template or a plugin only on the official WP storefront. Some scrupulous websites could sell you manipulated templates which could then compromise the security of your business as well as your users. To maintain their safety, download and install templates and plugins only from the WordPress storefront or a verified and trusted source.
5. Get a decent antivirus for your system
While you are trying everything to keep your website secure, don’t forget to install and use a decent antivirus on your PC. If your computer is compromised, your website can be compromised too. It will be operating on an infected system which could be a major security threat. Therefore, keep your network firewall, and your antivirus program updated and don’t forget to do scheduled scans. Also, ensure that you don’t install unnecessary software from unverified sources on the system on which you manage your website.
6. Two-factor authentication is a must
If you allow user logins, prefer to go for two-factor authentication. This is usually done by sending OTPs to the registered email addresses or phone numbers of your users. As soon as they fill the right credentials for their account, they will use the OTP to log in quickly. This small step helps in providing an additional layer of security to the users.
Some websites will ask you to reduce the number of steps for the user to the minimum possible. However, when it comes to security, the user would not mind spending an additional 30 seconds to get into their account safely. A good way to allow simpler and easier 2FA to users is to ask them to connect their accounts to Google Authenticator. Premium WordPress themes should allow you to connect the user accounts with the Google Authenticator app.
This application sits on your phone and allows you to log in via 2FA anytime securely. The user doesn’t need to wait for his email or text message. The good thing about Google Authenticator is that it allows seamless access, comes backed with Google’s high-end security and keeps changing the passwords every one minute.
7. Automatically log out idle users
There is a possibility of a compromised user account when you allow login to work for an infinite duration. Though it could be somewhat painful for your users, you should decide a duration after which you will automatically log out idle users. If you find that a user has been inactive for quite some time, automatically log them out and prompt them to log in again. Most banking and financial institutions follow this method to preserve sensitive data from exploitation.
You could user to ask if they are still active on the website before logging them out. While it won’t be an extremely safe way to handle logins, it could possibly remind users to either log out or make some activity on the website. This is what Netflix does. The streaming service often prompts users to ask if they are still watching. It sends the users a gentle reminder. If they don’t respond, the service stops streaming.
Website security is a crucial aspect of web development. It is vital to start creating the security infrastructure of your website right when you start working on it. If security is an afterthought, your website will not just become shabby but will also be compromising on user’s sensitive personal information. It could also become a huge threat to your business.
Fortunately, it is easy to get started when it comes to website security. Just implement the tips we mentioned above, and you will be one step ahead of thousands of website developers who don’t understand security fully and are risking their clients’ businesses and user data.
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WordPress security Tips You Should Know to Secure site
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