5 Easy Ways To Protect Your Website From Hackers

Websites are like houses. They both contain valuable information about important people. You wouldn’t leave your house unlocked overnight and you shouldn’t leave your website unprotected either. This blog post is going to lay out some tips on protecting your company’s information so you don’t end up like Target. We will be going over the highlights from Entrepreneur’s article on web safety.

  1. Passwords: This may seem really simple, but passwords are the first step of protection against hackers and malware. Here are some tips to designing a secure password:
    • Use at least one uppercase letter
    • If your system allows, use at least one symbol like “_”
    • Use a set of non consecutive numbers, 1234 is much too easy
    • Don’t use the same password in multiple places
    • Update your passwords frequently
    • This article provides a step-by-step guide in creating a strong password
  2. Updates: It’s important that you stay up-to-date on the latest hacking techniques and malware technologies. If you don’t know how these things work, then you can’t effectively protect your website against them. Also, updating software frequently is the easiest way to defend against the bad guys. Software updates help to patch up and loopholes and protect your website from the latest technology threats        

    picture of a desktop being protected from the internet by a brick wall
    Firewall
  3. Web Application Firewalls: Like in the picture above, a firewall goes in between your server and the data connection. John Rampton of Entrepreneur explains:

    Most of the modern WAFs [Web Application Firewalls] are cloud based and provided as a plug-and-play service, for a modest monthly subscription fee. Basically, the cloud service is deployed in front of your server, where it serves as a gateway for all incoming traffic. Once installed, web application firewall provides complete peace of mind, by blocking all hacking attempts and also filtering out other types of unwanted traffic, like spammers and malicious bots.

  4. Plugins: HostGator’s article on how to protect your website against hackers suggests using plugins to beef up your web security. Plugins are particularly helpful if you are working with website management services like WordPress. Although plugins are not nearly as comprehensive as firewalls, they can give baseline protection to rookie website owners. There are a host of plugins available. HostGator recommends two freebies for WordPress, Better WP Security and Bulletproof Security. If you are willing to invest some money in a security plug-in, the site recommends SiteLock.  
  5. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): According to SSL.com’s article, SSL can be defined as, “the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers.” Confused? Check out this helpful video, which visually explains everything you need to know about SSL. If you haven’t implemented SSL on your website, check out SSLTools.com for helpful information on your next steps.

 

What is SSL? from SSL.com on Vimeo.

As always, If you have any questions or feedback please let us know in the comments section below!

Google Algorithms: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird

[Image Source, Edited by me on Picmonkey]

Algorithms are intended to make internet searches easier and more accurate. They are intended to give you what you’re looking for without having to comb through five or ten pages of search engine results. You may have recently heard a lot of talk regarding Instagram’s new algorithm, however, the algorithm’s we’ll be discussing today are slightly different. In this blog post I will attempt to explain Google’s algorithms to you so that you will understand how they affect pagerank and search engine results. The 3 algorithms I’ll be discussing are Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.

Algorithm #1: Panda

Panda Update[Image Source]

This program was first released in February of 2011. According to Search Engine Land, this Google update is meant to stop poor quality websites from getting to the top of the search engine results page. Essentially, Panda is a spam-fighting algorithm. Google’s goal in creating Panda was to lower websites that have a lot of spam and raise websites that have quality content to the top of the search results once more. Search Engine Land also reported that it’s very possible Google “baked” the Panda algorithm into their core ranking algorithm in late 2015.  Like the rest of the algorithms we’ll be talking about, Panda did not replace Google’s principal ranking algorithm, it only replaced an outdated part.

 

Algorithm #2: Penguin

Penguin Update

[Image Source]

This algorithm was first introduced in April 2012. Like the Panda update, this algorithm was meant to filter out spam so search engine results would not be affected by low-quality websites. More specifically, this update addresses websites that buy links or unethically obtain them from link networks that are designed to increase Google rankings.  When Penguin was first released, there was a small uproar from website owners about their site traffic decreasing. This is likely because they were hit by Penguin and deemed to be spam. To remedy this, we suggest removing any spam from your website. If your site traffic has climbed back to normal levels even after purging your site of anything spam-related, we suggest using this form to alert Google to your problem.

Algorithm #3: Hummingbird

Anna's_hummingbird[Image Source]

This Google update was rolled out in September of 2013 and it’s purpose was to be “fast and precise”….like a hummingbird! According to Search Engine Land, conversational search is one of the things the Hummingbird update has addressed. In other words, rather than focusing on a keyword by itself, this update takes an entire sentence into account when ranking pages. This means that, theoretically, Hummingbird is allowing Google to assess the meaning behind words, rather than just the words themselves. This is a smart move when we consider the introduction of communication technology like Siri and Google’s version “Google Now”. Siri was introduced in April of 2010 and Google Now followed a few years later in July of 2012. Less than a year later, Google rolls out the Hummingbird update, which would make this technology easier to use. So when you ask Siri or Google Now, “Where’s the closest brunch place to my home?”, Google is now better equipped to provide the answer. If you’ve provided Google with your address, it will understand what you mean by “home”. If you say “place” Google should now understand that you mean a physical location.

This was just a brief introduction to some of the most popular Google Algorithms that have been rolled out in the past few years. Personally, I think algorithms can be highly beneficial to website owners and internet users alike. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.