Joomla is a free and open-source CMS platform used for creating websites. Apart from being mobile friendly and SEO friendly, it has unlimited extensions, designs, templates, modules, and plugins that can motivate a layperson to design a website.
Since customization of a website is an easy process in Joomla and provides a multilingual facility, i.e., can be used in multiple languages, Joomla is preferred by thousands of users worldwide.
But Joomla’s popularity has attracted hackers who tend to find security loopholes in its installations, extensions, plugins, etc., and thus Joomla websites become infected.
Research indicates that Joomla CMS has more than 2.5 million active websites, making it the 2nd largest CMS platform. It is also one of the most infected platforms, and hence Joomla website security becomes essential.
Let me share a few tips to keep your Joomla website secure from unwanted intruders.
Tips to Improve Joomla Website Security:
- Use Strong Login Details:
Hackers trace login behavior and try to penetrate networks. Login ids and passwords are the site’s entrance gates, and hence they should be adequately secured.
The first and best step is: Never use the default admin name or password to simplify hackers’ work.
Even, easy to guess passwords pose a risk to website information and customer data.
Set up strict password security for your site, to keep it safe from prying eyes.
A strong password is a good combination of upper- and lower-case alphabets, numbers, symbols, special characters, etc. You can also take Password Manager’s help to manage your passwords stored on Google or other devices.
Online Password Generator tool helps to create a secure and random password.
- Delete Unwanted & Unsecured Extensions:
Extensions help improve the functionality of the website. While creating a website, you may have installed many extensions, but sometimes a compromised extension may cause a significant problem. Even obsolete extensions or inferior extensions may cause issues. There may be many unwanted extensions that may no longer be needed.
A timely audit of extensions regularly may help pinpoint those which are unwanted. Please remove them and keep your Joomla site secured.
- Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF):
Hackers try to send malicious traffic to genuine web applications to compromise them and steal data. A Web Application Firewall protects these applications from such evil traffic by monitoring the traffic. It also filters and blocks all the bad traffic which can harm the applications and hence it is necessary to install a WAF for application security.
WAF’s give Protection against:
- SQL injections
- DDoS attacks
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
- Other Application attacks
- Implement Two- Factor Authentication (2FA):
With the increase in cyber-attacks every year, one more security layer always acts as an added advantage. When one layer fails to protect the site from unauthorized entrants, the 2nd layer acts as a shield and secures it.
In Two Factor Authentication, the user needs to provide two different details as asked by the computer for security purposes.
Example: Apart from entering a password, the user is also asked to enter an OTP number reflected on their mobile for accessing an account.
Joomla has a built-in 2FA for securing your website.
- Install an SSL Certificate:
Encryption of communication is essential for securing sensitive information. Hence, SSL certificate installation on the Joomla site becomes necessary, especially when you are into the e-commerce business, banking, finance sectors, or healthcare industry.
Sites having payment gateways need SSL encryption security to keep customer information safe. SSL displays HTTPS, and hence HTTPS sites are termed as secure by all browsers. These sites also help increase customer trust, which in turn improves your digital business.
Cheap SSL Shop can fulfil your SSL security requirement. These shops have all popular SSL brands like Comodo, Thawte, DigiCert, GeoTrust, etc. Various SSL products of these brands like Wildcard SSL, EV SSL, Domain Validation SSL, Organisation Validation SSL, etc. secure your digital empire in different ways.
Choose the best one required for your online business and install the same to secure your Joomla site.
- Monitor Your Website:
Early detection of any suspicious activity can minimize the damages and its effects. Many tools can help you monitor your Joomla site.
Example: Pingdom (performance monitoring tool) helps to check the uptime of your site.
Uptrends come with a 30-day trial period.
Mail catcher helps in monitoring emails received on the Joomla site.
Using monitoring tools regularly can help detect suspicious activities, and instant action can prevent intrusions and losses.
Even auditing tools help monitor user activity, whereas File integrity monitoring tools notify you in case of modifications done in files or records. Use these tools to secure your Joomla website.
- Keep Joomla and Its Extensions Updated:
Be it any software or any CMS platform, using the latest versions benefit your digital business. The latest versions have new security features and patches which resolve vulnerabilities.
Always keep your Joomla updated to the latest version, so the security loopholes are fixed, and your site is secured.
It is also essential to keep the extensions updated regularly to improve site performance and user interfaces.
Please keep them in auto-update mode so that they are regularly updated.
Login to your Joomla dashboard > Go to Extensions > Manage > Update.
This will update all your extensions.
- Choose a Reliable Hosting Company:
Cost is a primary concern for many small businesses. Hence, they don’t invest much in a web host. Joomla has its own set of web hosting plans on which there are attractive discount offers and is offered to web owners at reasonable rates.
You can also opt for a genuine and reliable web hosting company that keeps your site’s PHP (Joomla’s language) updated.
Many hosting providers offer stock securities at an additional cost but invest in such a hosting company that fulfils your needs in a budget-friendly way.
Some qualities of a good web host are:
- Site Speed
- Ample bandwidth
- Advanced features
- Budget-friendly plans
Ensure that they address some of the critical issues like:
- What security measures are taken to protect the site?
- How will malware be identified and what necessary actions will be taken?
- What to do next if the site is hacked? How to approach other parties?
HostGator, GreenGeeks, WP Engine are some excellent web hosting providers.
- Restrict File and Directory Permissions:
File and directories should be kept protected for Joomla site security. Only necessary files and directories (cache) should be granted writing access. Incorrect file permissions may post as a threat to the Joomla website.
Ensure that the configurations to upload directories are outside public-facing folders. Keep a check on the third-party extensions which allow directory edits.
Never use “777” permissions, since they allow all the users to read, write and execute commands in the directories, which is a considerable risk. Even on shared hosting, ensure to restrict file and directory permissions for the safety of your Joomla site.
- Take Backup Regularly:
Backups are live savers. They come in handy when you are exhausted of all ideas to retrieve your site in case of contingencies.
Regular backups of the website and data should be done as a precautionary measure. In the case of human errors or server crashes or any other unwanted contingency, having a mirror copy of your website gives you peace of mind. Many hosting providers also provide good backup plans.
Apart from this option, Akeeba backup, a prevalent backup component of Joomla, can also be used. This open-source backup solution is straightforward to use and quite reliable. Some other Joomla site backup extensions can be viewed on Joomla Beginner.
All the above solutions help in hardening your Joomla site security and keeping it safe. Embrace these tips and secure your Joomla site against cyber-attacks.