Keeping Hackers Out – the Basics Hackers are the enemy of the online world, and can destroy everything you’ve worked on with the click of a button. Whether it’s an entire website of content, or accessing and destroying your client database, a breach of your website is a horrible blow to your hard work and can often feel like a very personal attack. Protecting your website from hackers is one of the most important investments you can make into your online security, and not all of them require a tech-whizz – some of them you can employ right now. So, without further ado, read on for our top ideas for keeping hackers out. Security Plugins We talk a lot about plugins – some can help improve your SEO and some may make your developers life easier. Security plugins do a different job; actively preventing hackers from breaking into your website. Content management systems are designed with a number of built-in plugins that do just this, and each one addresses the most vulnerable areas of security on the different platforms; whether you use WordPress, Magento or Joomla. Another thing you can do to further tighten your online security is looking into SiteLock, which acts as a daily monitor across your website; identifying everything from a virus to active attempts to break into the site. Picture the online version of a burly bouncer on the door of a nightclub – that’s SiteLock, and it’s well worth the time spent on installing it. HTTPS If you’re inputting personal information into a website, for example, payment details during an online transaction, chances are you know to look for the green padlock at the beginning of the website address in the browser bar. Next to the green padlock, you will see the letters HTTPS – these five letters show you that the website is safe from hackers and that you can safely input your personal details without risk of theft. Historically it has always been important for eCommerce websites to hold an SSL certificate because it secures the transfer of important and private information and ensures the safety of your website visitor’s data. Since July 2018 however, Google has taken to informing website visitors of every site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, no matter what your website provides or does. If you want your visitors – and Google – to trust your brand and your website, investing in an SSL certificate is a valuable investment as it will ensure your site is ranked highly on Google and will make visitors feel safe when visiting your site. Keep your content management system up to date This applies to everything. From the content management system to your plugins, apps and any additional scripts. If any of these are left outdated for too long, a hacker can get in. Checking that your website is up to date is easy enough on WordPress, by checking directly through the dashboard. The dashboard will instantly tell you if the version you’re running is up to date. Keep your passwords new and unique Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as recalling the name of a favourite pet. Passwords are there for a reason, don’t make it easy. If it’s too simple, it’s going to lead the hackers straight to you. When choosing a password, make it long and use a mixture of letters, characters and numbers to create something that really is unique. And it’s not just you. If you work within a team who all have access to your website, making sure they all have strong passwords. This is just as important as your own. After all, the website is your business. Something as simple as a bad password can allow hackers in to quite literally destroy your business and livelihood. Don’t take the chance! Automatic back-ups One of the worst things that a website hacker can do is erase all of your work. This is easy if you have no back-up. Making sure you have a recent back-up of everything you do is super important. An automatic backup service will enable you to do this without even having to think about it. There are a handful more ways in which you can secure your website from hackers. But these require a more technical skillset and understanding of how the backend of websites work. For now, we suggest employing the above techniques in order to keep your site safe from hacker harm and will explore the more technical tips in a future post.