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Website Security Checklist for Web Developers

When building a website, one of the most important things to consider is online security. Cybercriminals will use any means necessary to steal your personal information and data. Hence, it is crucial to have a cybersecurity mindset and build a solid security infrastructure.

In this article, we will dive deep into what web developers need to do to keep websites safe. We will cover everything from basic security hygiene to the web development security practices you can enforce to prevent a site from being used for malicious purposes.

1. Switch to HTTPS. HTTPS encrypts user data in transit and in storage, and prevents attackers from accessing confidential data, such as passwords and credit card details. It provides encryption and authentication that prevents man-in-the-middle attacks. It also gives users a sense of security, which increases trust and improves your brand image. Installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides this encrypted protection for websites and guarantees a safe online experience for users.

Related: HTTP vs HTTPS

2. Practice basic security hygiene. To build a secure web application, web developers must first focus on web development security hygiene. Essentially, you should be proactive about security instead of reactive. It includes keeping software and web browsers up to date with the latest security patches and security-related bug fixes, using complex and unique passwords for each account and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) when possible.

Related: 6 Tips to Protect your Website from hackers

3. Keep software up to date and avoid dangerous plugins and extensions. Keeping your operating system, web browser, and other software up to date is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you have the latest security fixes and features to protect yourself from cyber threats. It is necessary to reduce the attack surface and protect against known vulnerabilities. Plus, use plugins and extensions sparingly and stay away from those with negative reviews or are known to contain security vulnerabilities.

4. Scan your site regularly for vulnerabilities. Web developers should continuously apply security patches to web applications to ensure they do not have any known vulnerabilities. It is also a good idea to use a vulnerability scanner to find vulnerabilities in web applications before attackers have a chance to exploit them. It will not only improve the security of the site, but also help developers prioritize security patches more efficiently.

5. Enable web application firewalls. Web application firewalls (WAFs) help to detect and block malicious web traffic that could attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in your website. They are one of the most effective ways to protect your website and software from the latest cyber threats. They can also help to reduce the attack surface and mitigate the effects of a vulnerability. WAFs block suspicious JavaScript, prevent access to known malware domains, and block any attacks designed to exploit existing vulnerabilities.

6. Maintain a secure database. Data security is one of the most important aspects of data storage and management. It not only protects databases from unauthorized access but it also identifies unauthorized changes to data. Without solid security practices, attackers can utilize weak spots to access sensitive data. Software updates frequently contain security fixes, and attackers often leverage known vulnerabilities to target websites. If data is compromised, the damage can be significant.

7. Restrict access and user roles. Web developers should limit user access and restrict the user roles to those needed to fulfill the intended purpose. It helps to minimize the attack surface and reduce the impact of a security breach. User roles should be clearly defined and access permissions limited accordingly.

8. Use a quality web host. A reliable web host is vital to the security of your web application and data. A good web host will continuously monitor site activity to ensure it is secure and perform regular audits to check for potential vulnerabilities. Make sure that you use a web host that is known for its ability to provide a safe environment and optimal performance.

Related: Does your Web Host affect your Website’s Security?

Security is a critical aspect of website safety, but it does not have to be a daunting task. Since website security is a continuous process, you need to be vigilant and check your website for security vulnerabilities regularly.

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