5 Tips for Keeping Your Website Safe and Hacker-Free
By Small Screen Producer. Publish on October 7, 2013.
Nobody likes to wake up and find that their website has been taken over by an online pest. These days, it's all the more common to find that websites are frequently being taken over by these foreign hacker bugs and SPAM. Google has even taken action steps to protect searchers from these sort of spammy sites, which, if your site ends up becoming one, can hurt your rankings and SEO. Whether it's spammers, hackers, or general web violators you're trying to avoid, here's 5 important steps from our web services team that will help you take preventative measures to making sure your website is secure.
1. Update Content Management System and Plugins
Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Wordpress, Drupal, or Joomla are great and very popular, and because they're very popular, end up attracting a lot of violators and hackers who discover little vulnerable areas in your site to inject bad code into. To avoid this, it's important to keep your CMS software up to date with the latest plugins and themes. Usually, the CMS will let you know when your system needs an upgrade through email notifications. Make sure someone on your staff or on your web services team is in charge of this and is taking steps to update your site regularly.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are like the doors to your website fortress, so it's important to keep them strong to prevent web strangers from creeping in. Have strong passwords for your CMS, webhost's admin login, webhost's billing login, and other digital widgets and plugins you may use and have added onto your website.
Try not to use the same passwords over and over again. Often, the best passwords are the ones that are random and are long phrases. If you know you're going to have trouble remembering passwords, consider a good password manager to save you time and headaches with recovering passwords. Make sure that when you're putting in passwords anywhere that it's over an SSL (https) connection. Check with your webhost or just take a look the next time you enter private information - the web address of the page you're on should have 'https' in the beginning of the address.
3. Get Good, Professional Web Hosting
Speaking of webhost, a good webhost will attempt to help you avoid malicious online attacks instead of shutting you down and marking you as SPAM. Take the time to get to know your webhost and make sure that the company is well-established, taking care of their servers, and providing you with the tools and support necessary in case problems arise. Good web hosting services will provide security features such as:
- Strict registration policies and procedures
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) protection
- Intrusion Detection Software (IDS)
- Secure POP3 (ensures secure email and passwords)
- SSL (good for online credit card transactions)
- SSH/sFTP (secure file transfer)
4. Delete Redundant Extensions/Files
If your website is running on Wordpress, for example, deleting any unnecessary files you aren't using can prevent hackers from getting through these and ruining your site. This includes any inactive plug-ins as well. It's always a good idea to go through a "clean up", especially if your website has gone through a recent update or redesign.
5. Back Up Your Website
Backing up your website is like giving your website web life insurance. If your website gets destroyed or gets shut down, without a backup, you will lose everything. With a backup, it'll be a temporary inconvenience, but you'll be able to salvage your web content and files.
Many webhosts will provide you with backup tools and services, but it's ultimately up to you to back up your things. Wordpress has plugins you can install that will automatically send a full backup to your Gmail or Dropbox account, which is pretty nifty. Good backup saves not only the code, but all the photos, attachments, and themes as well.
Content management systems offer these backup services too, but will usually require the knowledge of a techie to restore.
Online spam and hacking is inevitable nowadays, but remembering to take these easy, preventative steps to keeping your website safe can help you avoid any costly cleanup in the future. In addition, you'll be avoiding a total shutdown by your web host, or worse, Google blacklisting your site. Take the time to talk to your team and include some time for preventative action regularly. Read up a bit on the latest tips and be sure to ask some techie friends (like us) if you have any questions for keeping your website happy and healthy.
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About Small Screen Producer
Small Screen Producer is a full service, marketing firm located in Houston, Texas that specializes in online digital media marketing through a 4-step process. Step 1: WE PLAN a custom web presence strategy for your business through website design and development, mobile development, social media account creation and branding. STEP 2: We then POSITION your brand through Pay-Per-Click advertising and search engine optimize tactics that include on-page and off-page SEO that are Google and Bing approved. STEP 3: We then PROMOTE your brand using an Inbound marketing strategy or a content marketing strategy to help you accomplish your marketing goals. We do this through blogging, video production, infographics, call-to-actions, landing pages, and free educational offers. We help you build trust and rapport with your customer base. STEP 4: We then PROTECT your brand's web presence with a reputation management program that monitors social media and on line reviews. Get started today with a free online marketing assessment of your company's web presence. Your company deserves it.
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