With over one billion websites being online there are scores of website hacks every single day, yet only a small proportion gain any significant media attention. However, that doesn’t make the damage that a hack can do any less devastating.
Even if none of your customer’s data is actually stolen and used, a hack can shut down your site, costing you reputation and profits. It can show your visitors and customers that you don’t take security seriously, and they may go to your competition for peace of mind. And if customer data is lost, you could be sued, and the reputational fall out will be far worse.
A single hack, even if it’s just to show off a hacker’s prowess, can devastate a small business.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the safety of your website. Hackers are often opportunists, and if getting into a small or mid-sized website is too difficult, they’ll move on to easier targets. With that in mind, here’s some of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to increase the safety of your site today:
- Don’t try it yourself: Unless you are very experienced, leave the security of your website to professionals. With a fully managed and automatic hosting solution like what BlueHost offers, the chances of being hacked are slim to none.
- Update your software: This means the software on your server, and also your WordPress software, including its plugins. Again, a managed hosting service will take care of the server software for you already, and WordPress also has the ability to auto-update itself and its plugins, so make sure it’s turned on. Even then, if you ever notice a message in your WordPress admin area that something can be updated, you should always investigate further and look to upgrade the relevant component asap (which can be done with the click of a button).
- Change your passwords regularly: This one can be annoying, especially if you have trouble remembering your passwords, however software like LastPass (which I use personally) can make it a whole lot more secure and convenient. Passwords get old and can be leaked, and it’s important to regularly swap them out for new ones, least the old ones become compromised somehow. Random passwords including capitalized letters, number and special characters are best.
- SSL: SSL stands for secure sockets layer and is an encryption protocol that allows data to be securely sent around the internet. If you look in your browser address bar you will see a padlock next to the URL of this site, that means that all the information transmitted by Hostt to you is encrypted, and if you send any information to the server, it will be encrypted and secure also. As you can imagine, SSL is particularly important when entering things like credit cards details into an online store.
There’s no way to absolutely protect your site from hacks, attacks and viruses. However, following best practices will get you 99.999% of the way, most importantly by using a proven web host and keeping your WordPress software up to date. Then as long as you have secure passwords for everything, there is an extremely good chance that you’ll be fine.