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Blog – Website Security

The hacking of websites is nothing new. It can happen for a number of reasons, some ideological, some downright illegal. Overnight, the original site can be erased and replaced by advertising, religious messages, pornography, loans, practically anything.  When it happens, the owner is usually shocked, with a strong feeling of being personally violated.

However, it is usually nothing personal, just a hacker taking advantage of weak website security. A bit like a burglar looking for a house without an alarm system.

As access passwords are nearly always changed by the hacker, taking back ownership can often be difficult, sometimes impossible if you don’t take the right precautions.

Website owners can minimise their risk by following these 10 important guidelines:-

1) Change your website access password frequently, at least once every 2-3 months.

2) Use a long cryptic password with a mixture of upper and lower case letters and numbers, even certain symbols if allowed by the hosting company.

3) Keep your password as private as possible.

4) Use a reputable and reliable hosting company with a verified postal address based in your own country.

5) Try not to use free hosting companies as they tend to be less secure and less reachable in an emergency.

6) Check your website at least once a day. Don’t forget to refresh your browser window at the same time, otherwise you may be viewing the cached version stored on your computer each time.

7) Back up the whole website frequently, preferably once a week, to a local computer. If you are hacked, your site will be erased and if you have a recent backup, restoring it will be more straightforward.

8) Don’t abandon a website. It could be hijacked for criminal purposes and if it is still in your name, you’ll be the one getting into trouble!

9) Make sure you verify your identity with the hosting company, so that if you are hacked, you can recover the site quickly by being able to prove ownership.

10) It’s imperative that hosting and/or domain fees are paid promptly. If you leave it too long after expiry, you may find that you’ve lost your website and the domain name! You have been warned!