Online security is built from the ground up. As you create and develop your website, there are several steps you can take to ensure maximum protection.

Crucially, users and potential customers need to be aware of the security measures in place. Visitors are more likely to spend time browsing a site that feels reputable. When it comes to personal details, payment information and other confidential data, it’s vital to establish trust by demonstrating that your site is a safe place to do businesses.

Here are some key pointers for building a secure website and reassuring your customers.

SSL certificate

Secure Sockets Layer or SSL (also known as Transport Layer Security or TLS) is the technology that prevents unauthorised access to data sent between a visitor’s web browser and a website.

With an SSL certificate, data sent from the visitor’s browser is encrypted as a code that can only be decrypted using a key held exclusively by the website owner. This ensures the security of online transactions, while also showing a reassuring padlock icon and “https” – the secure version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol – in the visitor’s address bar. Most providers also offer a trust seal that can be displayed on your site to build confidence even further.

An SSL certificate is essential for any website that allows the submission of sensitive data such as payment details, usernames and passwords. Following recent changes to web browsers such as Google Chrome – which now displays all sites without HTTPS as “not secure” – an SSL certificate is also recommended even if your website doesn’t collect user information. With Fasthosts, you get an SSL certificate from trusted provider DigiCert, free for one year with selected Web Hosting packages and all Dedicated Servers.

Secure payment provider

When processing payments through your website, a secure and trusted payment provider is critical. Customers will be far more inclined to enter their payment details when they recognise an established, widely known and trusted payment provider such as PayPal or Sage Pay.

Maximise your chances of converting website visits into sales by selecting a payment provider with a proven track record for safe online transactions.

Virus and malware scans

You’ll find a range of third party antivirus products that can be used to protect your website from malicious attack, perform regular scans and safely remove any malware.

As with SSL, many antivirus providers offer a trust seal to be displayed to your users – ideal for highlighting your commitment to website security.

Website vulnerability testing

Prevention is better than a cure, so in addition to virus scans you should make use of tools available to check your website for existing weak spots. Some security providers will even carry out a penetration test that simulates a hacker attack.

By detecting and eliminating vulnerabilities, you can deprive attackers of the unauthorised access they need to upload viruses, deface your site, redirect your traffic to another URL, and various other malicious activities.

In some ways, building your site is far easier than building trust with users and customers, which is a long-term process that requires developing your brand and strengthening its reputation. However, with these points in mind you should be in a great position to create and maintain a website with a strong emphasis on security, and an online space where visitors feel safe. Visit the Fasthosts website for more information on the secure platforms we provide for businesses and web professionals.