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Developing a Secure Website

Developing a Secure Website

Security is one of the most important considerations to make when developing a website as this one of the primary factors that can affect the confidence that your visitors have in your website. When running an online store or a website in which your visitors or customers are going to be entering their personal information, it is up to you to ensure that you have a high level of security in place at all points in the process; this means that your web pages should be secure for when they enter their personal information and for when it is processed, but also that you are using secure databases for the storage process – this could involve the implementation of encryption, for example.

As an experienced web developer incorporating various security features into your web applications should come naturally as most hackers will do whatever they can to obtain large pools of information that could be used for identity fraud; furthermore, if information was to be stolen from any of your databases then it is important to remember that you will be held responsible for this and this in-turn will have a negative impact on the reputation of your website and/or company. Many web hosting companies will provide you with assistance to ensure that your websites are developed to the highest standard; for example, it is recommended that you use SSL certificates with websites where your visitors are going to be entering their personal information and so many web hosting companies offer SSL certificates alongside their web hosting packages.

What are the best methods to use for developing a secure website?

There are several different methods that you can use when developing your web applications to prevent the chances of them becoming compromised by hackers as well as to ensure the safety of any information that you may be holding on your customers/visitors. These methods include:

  • Encryption – this can be applied in two different ways: the first being on your databases so that the information stored in your databases is encrypted and can only be read if you have access to the correct encryption key so that the information stored can be deciphered properly – this should only really be done to the most sensitive of information, such as credit card numbers and bank account numbers; the second option is to encrypt the source code of your web applications so that even if hackers to manage to gain access to your server, if they do gain access to your web application’s files then it will be impossible for them to extract any useful information from these files such as database connection details and useful file paths
  • SSL certificates – these encrypt the information that is transmitted between your website and visitor’s computers, therefore meaning that if your visitors are going to be entering their personal information into your website, it is recommended that you consider an SSL certificate as this will help to prevent any eavesdropped on the connections to and from your website – SSL certificates are also acknowledged by a majority of modern web browsers and the presence of one on a website is normally emphasized to web users meaning that they are also a good way of boosting the confidence that your customers have in your website, making them more willing to purchase your goods and services online
  • Server-side security – a third point to consider is the level of security that is in place on the server that your website is hosted on because even if you have developed your web applications to a high standard, if there is a lack of security in one of the server-side applications that could enable a hacker to gain access then all of your hard work will be in vein – as a shared web hosting customer then there is little you can do to influence the security of your web hosting environment but to have trust in the web hosting company that you have chosen for your needs, but as a dedicated web hosting user you will have the chance to install the security applications of your choice as well as to secure your server to such an extent that you can be sure no hackers will ever have the chance to gain access.

Why should I develop websites to be secure?

There are a couple of different reasons for developing websites to be secure; it has never been a case that you could just build a website and it’ll be secure from the outset, attention has always been needed on the detail of security, but it hasn’t been until more recently when cybercrime has been on the rise that it has become even more important to have a secure website.

As an e-commerce business being able to guarantee your customers a high level of security will provide you with more custom because it will boost the confidence that they have in your business, therefore meaning that they are more likely to recommend your website to friends and colleagues. Although it is not enforced, it is always recommended that you secure your website and/or server to the PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards as this will boost confidence even further and will show your dedication to the topic. To get confirmed PCI Certification costs money, but for larger businesses it is a worthy expenditure as it is simply another trophy for the cabinet and will improve your business’s image.

In conclusion, developing a secure website in no way has to hinder the performance of your application, but at the same time you may need to budget some extra time in order to guarantee that your application has been developed to the highest security standards possible. Regardless of the platform or scripting language you are using for your website, there should be nothing to stop you from developing a website that hackers will not be able to compromise as both Windows and Linux have a number of native security tools for you to take advantage of whilst most scripting languages have their cores updated regularly to reflect changes in the current threats.

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