How to Create a Safe Website
By Michael Dominick
Websites are amazing. They can do so many more things today than they ever could before, including stream movies, allow users to play games from within the web browser, listen to popular music, and connect with friends. However, these advancements in web development have been matched by advancements in malware and cyber attacks. Hackers now have to ability to infect remote websites and web servers with malware that can then be used to infect individual computers, causing millions of damage in data loss. There is no guaranteed way to completely protect yourself from these hackers, as they are always updating and revising their strategies, but, if you follow these steps, your site will be secure from all but the most cutting edge of cyber attacks.
Create strong passwords for you website's back end, sometimes called the administration page. This is very important because if a cyber criminal can get access to the back end, then he can pretty much do anything he wants, since anything can be done to your site from its back end. Strong passwords include both upper and lowercase letters and numbers and are at least eight characters long. Many website administrators follow a stricter policy when securing their sites' back ends; they make their passwords at least fifteen characters.
Create strong passwords for any FTP, file transfer protocol, accounts that have access to your web server. Follow the same guidelines as you would for you site's back end, but you must also make sure that, if you have given FTP accounts to others, that they do not make simpler passwords for their own convenience.
Update your server operating system regularly. If you are leasing server space from a web hosting provider, then you will not have to worry about this, since your hosting provider will take care of it for you. However, if you are maintaining your own server, then you should check for security updates at least once every two weeks; consult your operating system's documentation for details.
Follow good security practices on all computers that you use FTP to your server from or log into the back end from. No matter how strong your passwords are, a key logger is going to compromise your site's security. This includes having a strong anti-malware suite, including a firewall, and keeping it up to date. Popular anti-malware suites include McAfee, Norton and Vipre.
Trust your users. If you start receiving feedback complaining that there seem to be random glitches on your site or that it is loading slowly or that your site is sending out a lot of spam, then there is a chance that your site has come under attack. Listening to these warnings can save you a lot of time and trouble.
Michael Dominick is an alumnus of Rider University and currently works as a freelance writer, Web designer and software developer. His articles specialize in technology and computing, particularly Linux and open-source.