If you’re concerned about keeping your website secure, then you're in the right spot -- that's what this post is all about. One of the most important issues when running a website (especially an online business site) is keeping everything secure and locked down. Oddly though, this is a topic that's rarely addressed. To me, securing our websites, our businesses, and ultimately our ability to earn revenue online is a huge, huge priority. And the good news is, none of this is too technical or difficult. It just takes a bit of forethought and maybe some planning on our part. In this post, I'm going to outline my four step process to ensure your site is highly secure for a long time to come. Let me show you what it's all about!
Okay, so we're ready to delve into these four steps to ensuring your site is highly secure. You know, running a business is tough enough, so being proactive and knowing how to keep your website safe is critical. Kudos to you for even checking into this stuff! As I say, thankfully keeping your online business safe and sound is fairly straightforward. But, if any of this begins to seem overwhelming, just take things one step at a time. Just slowly work your way through each step and begin implementing them into your site. And remember, your web hosting company and other service vendors are there to help. You are not the first person on the planet to do this stuff, so take advantage of their customer service!
Alright, let's get started...
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your online business's security is to use solid, reliable web hosting. There are plenty of web hosting services available, but you want to make sure that you're using a reputable host who takes your website's security seriously. Never go with a web host based on cost alone. In fact, I've zeroed in on three critical web hosting features a business website needs -- and security is one of them!
Finding a solid web hosting company can be tricky, but here on Ten Ton, I recommend starting with these three: Web Hosting Hub, SiteGround, and WP Engine. I use all three of these web hosts for my various web projects, so I can confidently vouch for their strong security and awesome customer service. If you'd like to see a comparison of these three hosts to find which one might be a good fit for you, check out this video I put together.
Or even better, below I've embedded a video where I walk you through the process for signing up with Web Hosting Hub. I also have videos on signing up with SiteGround and how to set up hosting with WP Engine. Check these out if you think they'll help.
Whether you go with the recommendations I'm making here or are looking elsewhere for web hosting, just make sure you're getting reliable, dependable service for your business website. Alright, let's continue to the second step...
Have you heard of SSL, or SSL certificates? SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. And once installed on your site, it secures information that's passed from your visitors to your website. So for example, if your customer is purchasing something through your website -- a product, signing up for a membership, signing up for your service...whatever it might be that you're selling -- you must make sure that their personal and financial information is secure. This is made possible via an SSL certificate.
In another post I go into much more detail about SSLs (which you can check out right here). In that post, I discuss where you can get an SSL certificate for your site, as well as what's involved in getting it installed and configured correctly.
The good news is, this isn't a technical process at all (in fact, it requires zero technical skills), and in the above post I also tell you about how you can get an SSL certificate for free. Definitely check that post out.
If you want to know more about the various components needed for an e-commerce website (like payment gateways, shopping carts, etc.) and how SSL pulls everything together, then check out this post, where I detail everything out for you.
Now that we have SSLs out of the way, let's move on to the third step...
This one almost goes without saying, but you'd be surprised how lazy people are with their passwords! When it comes to business though, we can't afford to be lazy! So make sure you're using strong, lengthy passwords for all of your website's key components. I'm talking about your website's admin console, your email, your web host's customer area, FTP accounts...everything!
And, be sure to use use unique passwords for each of these components.
So, no pet names, no dates of birth, no "snugglypans78." How about something more like "F63k@7c2xAwXP[MEyyf9" or "dKhSn+cqK`Zh(5Q(RS}g?" Yeah, that's more like it!
In order to create strong passwords, make sure they include a mixture of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters. And make 'em long, too -- 15-20 characters or longer. To help you out, you can use a password generator, like passwordsgenerator.net or strongpasswordgenerator.com.
And if storing and trying to remember all these passwords seems like it'll be too much, just use a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane. These sorts of services will store all of your passwords for you. Or, just store them in a plain text file.
I want to mention too that anytime I hire a developer to help with something on one of my sites, I always (always, always) change all my passwords once their work is complete. It's just extra assurance.
So please, take your passwords seriously and make sure you've locked down your business's various components, services, and consoles with strong passwords. Do you lock your front door at night? Then lock up yer website, too!
Sound good? Okay then, this brings us to our fourth and final step...
Lastly, it's critical to have a backup system or process in place for your website. This is another issue that really should go without saying. I can't stress how important it is to back up your website on a regular basis. At a minimum, I'd suggest backing up your website once a week. But really, even more frequently would be better. Daily is very good.
In order to set up a backup process, you can either do this manually or automatically. An automated back-up system is very nice, because you don't have to think about it. In fact, remember those three web hosting companies I recommended earlier? Each of them offers daily automated website backups...which is one of the many reasons why I recommend 'em.
That said, for your own piece of mind, you may want to pull manual backups of your site every once in a while, too. I suggest you establish some kind of back up process that involves both manual, and automated backups of your website. So, that could look something like taking advantage of your web host's daily automated backup service, and also pulling a manual backup, right to your desktop, every Friday afternoon.
Why are backups so important? Well obviously, if something very bad happens to your website, if you have a recent backup, then you can have your business back online and selling to customers in a matter of minutes. If you don't have a data backup, you'd essentially be starting from scratch, all over again -- you'd be out of business for a month or so until you can get yourself back up and running.
So yeah...back your site up!
In the near-future, I'll be putting together some tutorials on different approaches to backing up your website. But for the time being, know that being able to back up your website is one of the big reasons for making use of FTP.
So, there it is...the last step to ensuring your website's secure -- data backups!
Alright so there are my checklist items for ensuring that your online business remains safe and secure at all times. Once again they where, Make sure you use secure solid web hosting for your business, Install an SSL certificate for your website, Always use strong passwords, and lastly Set up a website backup system.
And, I tried to provide a bit of information and links to other resources for each step to help you along. I hope you found all of this useful.
Definitely put these steps to use on your website to ensure that your business and your ability to earn income online is safe and protected.
See you next time!