Internet safety is incredibly important, especially on your website. Let’s go over a few tools you can use to inspire engagement and customer loyalty by creating a safe, secure site.
1.Let’s Encrypt – SSL Certificate
Secure Sockets Layer certificates (SSL) are small data files that create an encrypted, secure connection between a website host and an individual’s browser. An SSL ensures that any data shared between the two parties is secure and private, protecting information from hackers.
Websites that use the SSL protocol have a domain that starts with https:// (instead of http://). Having this certificate on your website is essential, especially if users exchange sensitive information with you, like credit card numbers or secure file downloads. SSL shows visitors that you’re taking steps to protect their information.
Google also prioritizes websites with https:// URLs in its search rankings, and the Google Chrome browser will notify browsers of its presence with the lock icon in a URL bar:
Google will immediately let users know if they have landed on a site that is not secure and recommend that they navigate to a different site, as shown below.
If you’re hoping to use an SSL certificate for your site, they can usually be purchased from your hosting provider, if not provided for free. However, there are a number of external tools available to get certificates from, like Let’s Encrypt.
Let’s Encrypt is a free certificate authority, owned by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). Unlike other services on this list, Let’s Encrypt doesn’t have an extensive list of features; it simply issues SSL certificates to businesses for free. Anyone with a domain name can use Let’s Encrypt to get a free, trusted certificate.
If you’re weighing multiple SSL certificate providers and skeptical because Let’s Encrypt is free, not to fear — it is trusted, sponsored, and funded by well-known businesses like Shopify, Cisco, and GitHub. Below, we’ve listed pros and cons to help you make your decision.
2. Cloudflare – Web Application Firewall
A web application firewall (WAF) analyzes your incoming site traffic for suspicious activity and blocks browsers based on a set of predefined rules. A WAF can protect against overall targeted attacks like DDoS, cross-site scripting, and structured query language (SQL) injections. There are hundreds of WAF tools available, and Cloudflare is a great option.
Cloudflare is a WAF service that will filter incoming traffic and protect your site from malicious actors. It uses powerful machine learning tools to learn from hacks against the 25 million sites it protects, so the scanning process is automated and doesn’t require any additional input from you. However, if you notice that there are repeat, specific attacks against your site, you can define your own set of rules and block specific IP addresses.
Cloudflare’s stand-out feature is the I’m Under Attack mode, which gives users with compromised sites immediate access to additional protections. In terms of pricing, costs range from free to $200 for business accounts, and Enterprise costs on a case-by-case basis.
3. Google CDN – Global Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of connected servers that make your site accessible and quick to load for users across the globe. From a security standpoint, a global CDN on your site is important because it ensures that your central servers aren’t overwhelmed by traffic. Overloaded servers can, in turn, make your site more vulnerable to spammy attacks.
You can think of it like this: if you’re a site owner that users a server based on Florida, that same server will need to accommodate browsers in Washington D.C., Paris, and Singapore. That server won’t be able to manage an influx of traffic from all over the world, but a global CDN can do so through a globally-distributed network of servers. Instead of slower load speeds, a global CDN improves page performance for all browsers, regardless of location.
If you’re already using a hosting provider, they probably handle CDN or offer a CDN bundle, so you won’t need to do additional research. If not, Cloud CDN by Google is a viable third-party solution.
Cloud CDN is a fast, reliable service that quickly and securely delivers your site content to users across the globe. It does so through a globally recognized anycast IP that cuts down on-site load speed and optimizes last-mile performance, so all your site content is available, not just the first loaded elements of your site.
4. LogicMonitor – Website Monitoring Service
One of the simplest ways to ensure security on your website is to use a website monitoring service (WMS). These tools monitor site performance, like page outages, as well as vulnerabilities that threaten site security. Essentially, a WMS proactively identifies issues so you can address them before they get out of control.
LogicMonitor is a well-rated WMS tool. It is a hybrid SaaS, meaning that it lives and operates in the cloud and as a lightweight tool within your site networks. As its name suggests, the service monitors your site and creates analytics dashboards (shown below) that explain site performance and notify you of present or incoming threats.
LogicMonitor is extremely highly rated, and has been given the titles of “Most Implementable’” and “Best Usability” by G2, and dubbed “Editors Choice” by PCMag. The service is priced by volume, and a quote is required.
5. Duo Security – Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple security solution to protect against targeted attacks like brute-force login. While other tools on this list focus on site safety, 2FA ensures that those who can access your site security tools, like administrators, are the only ones to do so.
2FA protects secure files and sensitive data by using two sources to confirm the identity of users logging in to your site, like a chosen passcode along with a push notification to a personal device.
Duo Security is a two-factor authentication service that ensures secure access for any administrator or user on your site. It uses multi-factor authentication, remote access with secure VPNs, and adaptive access policies to grant and deny access based on user roles.
In short, you can use Duo Security to ensure that any administrator or user with editing capability on your site is who they say they are at login, not a malicious hacker or spammy bot. Pricing options range from free to $9 per user, per month. Let’s go over some pros and cons of Duo Security, as reported by customers.
6. GoDaddy – Secure Site Hosting
Hosting is the backbone to your website, as it’s how you can have a live site in the first place. Without it, your site wouldn’t exist.
GoDaddy is one popular website host, an all-in-one service that keeps your site up and running and offers customer support, 24/7 network security, DDoS protection, and an easy-to-use cPanel. GoDaddy offers hosting for personal sites, WordPress sites, eCommerce businesses, as well as high-power VPS hosting for designers and developers. Additional features include domain certificates and SSL security, and set-up video walkthroughs, as shown below.
7. Dropmysite – Website Backup
Another critical element to your site is having backups of your site files should any hacks occur, or if you plan to switch hosting providers. Backing up your site is a way to ensure that your files remain secure and available when necessary. While it’s possible to back up your files manually or possibly through your host, Dropmysite offers an automated process.
Dropmysite is a reliable backup and recovery tool that uses SFTP, FTP, or RSYNC credentials to securely backup and store your site files into a cloud database. The process is fully automated, and features a one-click restore option for files and site content that becomes compromised or accidentally deleted.