Website Security & Protection: How to Secure a Website


Website security can be a complex (or even confusing) topic in an ever-evolving landscape. This guide is meant to provide a clear framework for website owners seeking to mitigate risk and apply security principles to their web properties. Before we get started, it’s important to keep in mind that security is never a set-it-and-forge-it solution. Instead, we encourage you to think of it as a continuous process that requires constant assessment to reduce the overall risk. By applying a systematic approach to website security, we can think of it as an onion, with many layers of defense all coming together to form one piece. We need to view website security holistically and approach it with a defense in depth strategy.

What is Website Security?

Website security refers to the measures taken to secure a website from cyberattacks. That may include protecting a website from hackers, malware, scams or phishing, and errors. In this sense, website security is an ongoing process and an essential part of managing a website. Maintaining a secure website is critical to protecting your website visitors and users from attacks, data theft, and bad actors.

Why Is Website Security Important?

Website security can be challenging, especially when dealing with a large network of sites. Having a secure website is as vital to someone’s online presence as having a website host. If a website is hacked and blocklisted, for example, it can lose up to 98% of its traffic. Not having a secure website can be as bad as not having a website at all or even worse. For example, client data breach can result in lawsuits, heavy fines, and ruined reputation.

1.1 Defense in Depth Strategy

A defense in depth strategy for website security looks at the depth of the defense and at the breadth of the attack surface to analyze the tools used across the stack. This approach provides a more accurate picture of today’s website security threat landscape.

1.2 How Web Pros see Website Security

We can’t forget about the statistics, which make website security a compelling topic for any online business—regardless of their size.

Why Websites Get Hacked

There are over 1.94 billion websites online in 2019. This provides an extensive playground for bad actors. There is often a misconception about why websites get hacked. Owners and administrators often believe they won’t get hacked because their sites are smaller, and therefore make less attractive targets. Hackers may choose bigger sites if they want to steal information or sabotage. For their other goals (which are more common), any small site is valuable enough.

2.1 Automated Website Attacks

It has become easier for the average site owner to get online quickly with the use of an open source content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Magento, Joomla or Drupal. While these platforms often provide frequent security updates, the use of third party extensible components – such as plugins or themes – lead to vulnerabilities that attacks of opportunity can easily exploit. We have developed detailed website security guides for each popular CMS to help website owners protect their environments and mitigate threats.

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