6 Tips To Secure Your Site

Many people online are good, honest men and women. But, there are some people browsing the internet who derive fun from poking around websites and finding security holes. A few straightforward tips can help you secure your website in the fundamental ways. Now, clearly, the subject of data security is a complicated one and way beyond the scope of this column. But, I'll address the very basics one should do which will alleviate many potential issues that may allow people to find things that they shouldn't.

Password Protecting Directories

In case you've got a directory on your server that ought to stay private, don't rely on individuals not to guess the title of this directory. It's much better to password protect the folder in the host level. More than 50% of sites out there are powered by Apache host, therefore allow's look at the way to password protect a directory on Apache.

Apache takes setup commands using a file known as .htaccess which sits at the directory. The controls in .htaccess have impact on that folder and some other sub-folder, unless a specific sub-folder has its .htaccess file inside. To password protect a folder, Apache also uses a document called .htpasswd . This document includes the names and passwords of all users given access. The password is encrypted, which means you need to use the htpasswd program to create the passwords. To get it, go to the command line of your server and type htpasswd. In the event you are given a "command not found" error then you want to contact your system admin. Also, remember that lots of web hosts give online approaches to secure a directory, so that they might have things setup that you do it that way instead of in your own. Barring this, let's continue.

Sort "htpasswd -c .htpasswd myusername" in which "myusername" is the username you would like. Then you will be asked for a password. Verify it and the document will be generated. You can double check this through FTP. Furthermore, if the document is inside your web folder, you need to move it so it isn't available to the general public. Open or make your .htaccess file. Indoors, include the following:

AuthUserFile /home/www/passwd/.htpasswd

AuthGroupFile /dev/null

AuthName "Safe Folder"

AuthType Basic

Need valid-user

On the very first line, fix the directory path to where your .htpasswd document is. After this is installed, you'll find a popup dialog when seeing that folder onto your site. You'll be asked to log in to see it.

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By default, any directory in your site that doesn't possess a proven homepage file (index.htm, index.php, default.htm, etc.) will instead display a list of all of the files in this folder. You may not want people to see. The easiest way to guard against this is to just create a blank document, name it index.htm and then upload it into that folder. Your next choice is to, again, use the .htaccess document to disable directory listing. To accomplish this, simply add the line "Options -Indexes" from the document. Today, users will find a 403 error as opposed to a listing of documents.

Eliminate Install Documents

If you install applications and scripts to your site, many times that they include setup and/or update scripts. Leaving these in your own server opens up a massive security issue since if someone else knows this particular software, they could find and operate your install/upgrade scripts and so reset your whole database, config files, etc.. A nicely written software bundle will warn you to remove these things before letting you utilize the program. Nevertheless, be certain that this was completed. Simply delete the files in your server.

Keep Up with Safety Upgrades

People who run applications packages on their site have to stay in touch with updates and security alerts concerning this program. Not doing this can leave you wide open to hackers. In reality, many times a glaring security hole is found and reported and there's a lag before the inventor of the computer software will release a patch to get this. Anyone so inclined can find your website running the program and also exploit the vulnerability should you not update. I've been burned by this a couple times, having entire forums become ruined and having to restore from backup. It happens.

Lower Your Error Reporting Level

Discussing largely for PHP here since that's exactly what I perform in, warnings and errors generated by PHP are, by default, published with complete data for your browser. The dilemma is that these mistakes usually contain complete directory paths to the scripts in question. It gives far too much info. To relieve this, decrease the error reporting level of PHP. You can achieve it in 2 ways. One is to adjust your php.ini file. Here is the most important settings for PHP on your server. Start looking for the error_reporting and display_errors directives. But should you not have access to the document (many on shared hosting don't), you could even decrease the error reporting level utilizing the error_reporting() function of PHP. Include this in a global file of your scripts which way it'll work across the board.

Secure Your Types

Types open up a broad hole to your own server for hackers if you don't correctly code them. Since these types are often submitted to a script in your own server, sometimes using your database, a type that does not offer any security may provide a hacker direct access to all sorts of things. Remember. . .just since you've got an address area and it states "Address" facing it doesn't necessarily mean that you can trust individuals to input their address in this area. Envision your form isn't correctly coded along with the script that it submits to isn't either. What's to prevent a hacker from entering an SQL query or scripting code inside that speech area? With that in mind, here are a Couple of things to do and Search for:

Utilize MaxLength. Input fields in type may use the maxlength attribute in the HTML to restrict the period of input forms. Use this to help keep individuals from penetrating WAY too much information. This will prevent most people. A hacker can skip that, so you have to protect against info overrun in the script level too.

Hide Emails When using a form-to-mail script, then don't contain the email address to the form. It defeats the purpose and spam spiders may still locate your email address.

Use Form. I won't become a lesson about programming, but any script that a form submits to must validate the input. Make sure that the fields obtained would be the areas anticipated. Verify that the incoming information is of reasonable and expected duration and of the appropriate format (in the case of emails, telephones, zips, etc.).

Prevent SQL Injection. A complete lesson about SQL injection may be booked for another guide, however the fundamentals is that kind input is allowed to be inserted into an SQL query without validation and, consequently, providing a hacker the ability to do SQL queries through your web form. To prevent this, check the information type of incoming information (strings, numbers, etc.), conduct decent form validation each above, and write queries in this manner that a hacker cannot insert anything into the kind which would produce the question do anything besides you want.

Conclusion

Website safety is a somewhat involved subject and it get a whole lot more technical than that. But, I've given you a basic primer on some of the simpler things you can do on your site to alleviate nearly all threats to your site.