Your website is one of your key business assets. It’s the online face of your business, a portal to connect with your customer base, a platform for collecting and storing information and performing transactions and a base for your digital marketing.
Being such an important element in your business, keeping your website safe and secure should be an integral part of your online management. It’s an unfortunate reality that there are a number of threats online, from hackers attempting to steal your information to malicious attacks designed to wipe your data or take your site down entirely.
With some careful management and regular maintenance there are effective strategies you can put in place to protect your WordPress website and stay on top of your online security.
1. Choose Reputable Hosting with Good Support
It may be tempting to choose a cheaper hosting option but hosting your website with a good quality provider can go a long way in ensuring the security of your site. Look for a hosting package that includes inbuilt security measures, a local support desk and daily backups of your site. A hosting provider that specialises in WordPress websites is a great option as their systems will be optimised to support the WordPress framework.
2. Ensure Your Website is Regularly Updated
Your website is built on a core WordPress engine, with added themes and plugins to build out the design and functionality. These elements are being constantly updated to introduce new features and to address any vulnerabilities that have been identified. The catch is that while some of these updates can be automated, many of them require a manual update process. Overlooking these updates means you are not implementing the latest security updates, and this can result in your site being open to attack.
3. Run Security Scans for Vulnerabilities
4. Take Regular Backups
5. Install an SSL certificate
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a means of encrypting the data sent between the user’s web browser and your website server so the data transferred between the two cannot be easily read by a third party. Initially, SSL certificates were only required on a site that processed financial transactions but are now considered necessary on all websites – in fact, Google will penalise your site in search results if you don’t have one.
There are several SSL options available, depending on the level of information you are collecting and sending via your site. Basic SSL certificates are often included free with your hosting package, sites that send sensitive user information like payment details or personal data will require stronger protection that may incur an additional yearly charge.
You can quickly tell if your site is protected by an SSL certificate by looking at the URL bar on your browser – your URL should start with https rather than http and you should see a small padlock icon to indicate that your site is secure.