By the time your site is infected, it’s usually too late. Hackers and other tricksters typically have ready-made programs they can use to harvest users’ personal data in seconds. Some attacks are obvious; your site is down or stops working. Others are more subtle and could be spying without you knowing if you don’t take proper precautions, which is why security is such a crucial component of website development.
Playing it risky with your site and ignoring security precautions is like leaving your car unlocked in a busy parking lot with open suitcases full of cash. Sure, most people won’t break in to take what isn’t theirs, but if just one decides otherwise, it can leave you in serious trouble. It’s worth a few dollars and a little bit of time to protect your site!
HTTP + S
Once people started to understand how computers connect through each other through HTTP it opened up some opportunities. Naturally, sneaky knaves twisted their thin curly moustaches while they thought of ways to use their knowledge for evil. To stop them absconding with digital bags of data, the HTTPS protocol was established—literally “HTTP Secure”.
Both involve a lot of complicated technical jargon, but the difference basically comes down to how information is shared. With normal HTTP, someone can intercept the information as it’s transmitted between two places. HTTPS encrypts the information so that only the sender and receiver has the key. This means that even if someone can intercept the data, it will be nonsense because they won’t have the secret code to understand it.
How do you make your site more secure?
The simplest and easiest way is to make sure that your site is HTTPS. Many new sites use this as the standard, but it’s easy to check to make sure. Go to your site and look at the address bar. If it starts with https:// you’re all good. If the s is missing and it’s just http:// then you’re in trouble. You can purchase an SSL certificate for an HTTP site to make it HTTPS, and it’s a good idea to have regardless of whether you have an online store or not.
Depending on your site platform, you might have other security features included automatically or may need to do them on your own. Wordpress.org is one of the most popular platforms and choosing well-reviewed security plug-ins through the plug-in tabs can stop spam commenters or people trying to hack their way in from another country. But many template builder sites now include HTTPS and any website company worth their weight in bytes wouldn’t build you a custom site without it.