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7 Best Practices for Site Security In 2024

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A cyberattack is when someone gains unauthorised access to a network, digital device, or computer system with the intention to steal, expose, alter, disable, or destroy data. Particularly in websites, attackers or hackers can run code, install malware, and steal or modify data.

39% of UK businesses identified a cyber attack in 2022. The most common cyber threat is phishing, which is when someone purporting to be from a reputable company sends fraudulent emails, texts or other messages to get an individual to reveal their personal information, including passwords and credit card details.

The cybersecurity field is constantly evolving to make computer systems more secure against unauthorised access, including by learning from white-hat computer hackers. White-hat hackers are paid to prevent security vulnerabilities by finding them and secretly reporting them to software creators.

Conversely, black-hat hackers are the ‘bad guys’ who sell the vulnerabilities they find on the black market, violating laws or ethical standards for criminal purposes, such as cybercrime or malice.

Here are seven best practices to secure your website from cyber threats and black-hat hackers in 2024.

1. Your Site Needs An SSL Certificate

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a digital certificate, shown as a padlock in the search engine’s URL address bar, that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.

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(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

An SSL certificate ensures your website is encrypted as it travels over the Internet, so even if it is intercepted along the way, passwords and personal details will be concealed and indecipherable to hackers.

In addition to protecting this sensitive information, an SSL certificate will stop your site viewers from getting a web browser’s warning about unsafe websites and help your search ranking for increased search engine optimisation (SEO).

80.5% of sites which use an SSL certificate use a domain validation (DV) certificate as it is the cheapest and the easiest to set up. This is followed by organization validation (OV) certificates which have a 17.5% market share and then extended validation (EV) certificates with just 2%.

2. Choose A Secure Host 

Every website needs a web host, and these providers offer different hosting services. The main four are virtual private server (VPS), shared, cloud and dedicated hosting.

A VPS, which is a virtual environment, is an affordable hosting solution as one physical machine is divided into multiple servers. The resources are allocated individually, which means the server performance is excellent despite being cheaper than a dedicated server that operates entirely on one machine.

VPS hosting also provides a higher security level than other hosting solutions such as shared. Ensure your chosen VPS hosting platform, such as Hostinger, offers security measures such as firewall protection, SSL certificates, DDoS filtering, and automatic weekly backups.

3. Choose Secure Passwords

A secure password comprises uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (! + #). 

Internet users who don’t use password managers are three times more likely to be affected by identity theft. So, businesses should consider using password managers like LastPass to generate secure passwords for their employees and store passwords for their websites and files.

62% of people surveyed always or mostly use the same password or a variation but it is essential to avoid this, as it makes it easier for hackers to get access to other sites with the same accounts and profiles.

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4. Install A Web Access Firewall

A web application firewall (WAF) helps protect a company’s web applications by inspecting and filtering all the traffic heading towards a site, filtering out any malicious activity or attempted attacks before they arrive.

(Image Source: Cloudflare)

You can use plugins such as Sucuri to add firewall functionality to your site, which will help block hackers, add DDoS mitigation and prevention, and prevent Zero-Day exploits.

5. Regularly Scan For Malware

Of the 39% of UK businesses who identified a cyber attack in 2022, around one in five identified a more sophisticated attack such as a denial of service, malware, or ransomware attack.

Malware is malicious software created to harm or exploit any programmable device, service or network. Cybercriminals typically use it to extract data for financial gain.

A malicious code uploaded to your site can have disastrous consequences. For example, a harmful piece of code in a comment on your blog can cause significant damage to a user who views it. When the comment loads, that code can trigger a pop-up window, a malicious redirect, a stolen session or password, and even the complete compromising of the viewer’s computer.

If you have a WordPress site, you should regularly scan your site for malware and errors using the Security Check feature in your ManageWP dashboard. Security Check is free, but there are also paid upgrades which allow daily and weekly scheduled scans.

For other sites, you can also use other anti-virus software to find and remove any problematic codes before they cause significant problems.

6. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Often, the first thing to get stolen from a website with poor security is its user databases, which contain all the usernames and matched passwords of a site’s account holders.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method which requires two types of identification to gain access to resources and data. For example, an employee may enter a password to access company files and then receive a code via text message or smartphone app. Entering the second code when promoted on the login page confirms it is them trying to enter the files.

(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The⁣ most ‍used 2FA method is text with a 73%, followed by email with 64% and smartphone ⁣apps, which are quickly ‍becoming the preferred option, with 35%.

The benefit of the 2FA approach is that even if your databases are hacked, and someone discovers a user’s password, they cannot log in unless they also have access to that user’s mobile device to get the authentication code.

To protect your website, consider enabling 2FA authentication to sign in to WordPress using the plugin Google Authenticator for WordPress. Once you’ve set up 2FA, WordPress sends a code to your device whenever you log in with your password.

7. Use Login Lockdown Plugins

Another way to make it harder for someone to access your website is to limit the number of times they can enter a wrong password before automatically blocking their access for a certain period.

A plugin such as Login Lockdown records the IP address and time of failed login attempts. If the selected number of attempts are detected within a set time period from the same IP, the login is disabled for all requests from that IP address.

In addition, you can also use the WPS Hide Login plugin to quickly and safely change the URL of the login page on a WordPress website to anything you want. The usual login page URL (yoursite.com/wp-login.php) becomes inaccessible, so hackers can’t even gain access to the login page in the first instance.


By putting one or more of these comprehensive security solutions in place, businesses of any size can protect themselves, their websites and their customers from hackers.

Keeping your site secure prevents hackers from gaining access to important details, and it ensures your visitors have the best possible user experience without malicious pop-ups and viruses on their end.

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