Security of a website is of utmost importance to keep hackers and cyber-thieves from accessing sensitive information. Even though you might feel that a hacker might have no interest in your website since the site has anything worth being hacked for, but the hard truth is that websites are compromised all the time. Therefore, without a good security strategy, attacks on websites cannot be avoided. In this article, we will discuss how to make a website secure from hackers in PHP.

PHP is a lightweight yet very powerful backend programming language. It powers around 80% of the global web applications, making it one of the most commonly used languages in the development world. One great example is WordPress.

When PHP applications are deployed on live servers, it may face several instances of hacking and web attacks, which make the data on these websites extremely vulnerable to get stolen. And even after implementing best efforts, developers often tend to stay wary of the hidden loopholes that go unnoticed while developing an application. These loopholes can seriously compromise the protection of confidential website information on any web hosting for PHP MySQL apps, leaving them vulnerable to hacking attempts.

How To Secure PHP Website From Hackers

Here are some simple steps that will help you to keep your site data secure from online thefts. Implement these simple steps for how to make a website secure to have peace of mind. 

Secure PHP Website

Use Strong Passwords

We all know the importance of having a strong password. While earlier 3 or 4 character passwords worked well to keep the information safe, but now, with the advancement in technology, hackers have found links to crack passwords, break into a website, and steal credible data crack passwords.

If you want to make a website secure, it is pivotal to have at least 8 characters password which consists of a mixture of lower case letters, capitals, numbers, and a special character like an exclamation mark, etc. Also, stay away from creating familiar phrase passwords. While it may be easy to remember, it will also make it easier for hackers to get a hold of sensitive information on your website.

Be On A Lookout For SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks refer to attacks made by hackers by using a web form field or URL parameter to gain access to or manipulate your database. If you have a standard Transact SQL, it becomes quite easy for the hackers and cyber-thieves to insert rogue code into your query which could be further used to change tables, get information, and delete data. An easy way to avoid this is by implementing parameterised queries as most web languages have this feature and it is easy to implement.

 It is equally important to bind your sessions to your actual IP address. This practice helps to invalidate sessions whenever an unknown violation occurs and immediately alarms you if someone is trying to bypass your session to get access control of the application. Also, it is best not to expose IDs under any circumstances, as it can compromise your identity with another attack.

Updated Software Is A Must

If you are wondering how to make a website secure, then it is necessary to keep all software up to date. This is applicable for both the server operating system and any software you may be running on your websites such as a CMS or forum. If hackers can locate website security holes in software, it makes it easier for them to abuse them and hack the website.

Beware Of Error Messages

Be mindful of how much information you are giving away in your error messages. It is best only to provide minimal errors to your users as this ensures no secrets are leaked on the server. Also, it is best to avoid providing full exception details as these can make complex attacks like SQL injection far easier. Keep detailed errors in your server logs, and present users only with relevant information.

Avoid File Uploads

Another way to protect your website from hackers is by avoiding users to upload files to your website. This can prove to be a big website security risk as it can contain a script that when executed on your server, completely opens up your website.

In case you do have an upload form, then the best thing is to treat all files with great suspicion. If you are allowing users to upload images, you cannot rely on the file extension or the mime type to verify that the file is an image as these can easily be faked. 

To make a website secure, it is equally important to have a firewall setup, and at the same time, to block all non-essential ports. It is also beneficial to set up a DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) which allows access to ports 80 and 443 from the outside world. Also, have your database running on a different server to that of your web server. This ensures that the database server is not accessed directly from the outside world, and that only your web server can access it, thus minimising the risk of your data being exposed.