How to Avoid Having your Website Hacked

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to Avoid Having your Website Hacked

If you run a website or blog, then you are likely at risk of being hacked. There are people all over the world that take great pleasure in hacking sites just for the fun of it. Sometimes it is for monetary gain, but most of the time it’s strictly for bragging rights. There are hundreds of ways to get hacked, and no way to see it coming. There are however, many ways to make it difficult to hack your website. Most of the time sites are hacked because the owners have not taken the proper precautions to avoid it from happening.

Effects of Having your Website Hacked

Being hacked is never fun. It is even worse when you are not prepared for (which in most cases, you won’t be). It tends to happen the most when the website owner is not ready. Before you know it, you have lost everything. Different types of hacks can cause a variety of outcomes. Below you will see some common effects of having your website hacked.
  • Loss of data
  • Loss of content
  • Loss of entire website
  • Total control of website taken
  • Malware and spyware injection
  • Sensitive information and data stolen
As you can see above with some of the more common and unpleasant results of a hack, there is nothing fun about this experience. Sometimes being hacked is not as painful as the above. It may just be some files that were changed around just so the hacker can have bragging rights. There are often hacks that are done in the masses that simply change the index file around and result in your website displaying some off the wall content that you are not aware of. For example, a page that says “Ha! You have just been hacked!” could be just that; a simple change in your index file only. You might be wondering the point of this, and there really is no point. Just so the hacker can say they compromised xxxx amount of websites.

The more serious results could lead to your website being destroyed. If you are serious about running a website or blog, then you can already start to imagine how defatting that would be. That’s why it is so important to protect your websites. It really is fairly easy to make sure that you are preventing this sort of thing to happen.

Preventing Security Risks

For starters, you should back up your websites daily. Do not be lazy about this. Make sure you do a full site backup often. If you run a site big enough, you may even want to do multiple backups each day. Doing regular backups will insure that no matter what happens, you can always get back up and running in the matter of hours. Of course, this is not going to prevent you from being hacked. Some of the things you could do to make sure you do not get hacked are as follows.
  • Host your website on a secure and safe hosting solution.
  • Make sure your files and folders have the proper permissions.
  • Make sure your CMS is updated regularly (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Etc.).
  • Keep 3rd party plugins and extensions updated and only use reputable ones.
  • Have an expert look at your site.
Many people throw their sites up on the cheapest and easiest hosting solution possible. This is great at first; until you get hacked. Make sure that you use a reputable hosting company, and stay away from shared hosting if you run a large website or blog. If you are serious about your website, you may want to consider some sort of enterprise cloud hosting solution or a dedicated server. A dedicated server will not be necessary unless you run a very large website, or lots of websites that get a good amount of traffic.

Checking your folders and files permissions is an important step. If you do not know how to do this, then make sure you have an expert check it out. Hire someone that knows what they are doing to look into your website and make sure all of the proper measures are taken on the technical side of things to avoid being hacked. Most web programmers that are tech savvy will do a good job with this type of stuff. Take the time to learn about hosting and servers along with file permissions and .htaccess. There are also a lot of different database related stuff that you will want to look into. Hiring an expert will kill all of these birds with one stone, and this is nothing that will cost you an arm and a leg.

The bottom line, is that being hacked is not fun and you now have the tools you need to avoid this type of security risk. Take the time to implement what you just read. It could save your entire website network.

This is guest post from Anthony's Blog. You can read more here.