How To Stay Safe Online

Both webmasters and domain investors have significantly more property online than your average internet user. Between the hosting company where all of our website files are stored and the one (or sometimes, multiple) domain registrars used to hold our collection of names, falling victim to scammers or hackers can lead to horrible consequences and lots of headaches when something like our email and password gets cracked, hacked or guessed. I’ve been doing this for a long time and have read dozens of stories over the years. Trust me, if someone with bad intentions can get into your email account (and it’s the same password used to access your domain registrar), it won’t take very long for every domain you own to be transferred out and into their possession. Although many of these might seem like common-sense, listed below are several tips you can apply to stay safe online.

Use Strong Passwords – This is my number one tip for a reason! Password security is vitally important to staying safe online and protecting both your personal information and data. Also, noticed how I used the word passwords. You should consider using different passwords between your email account and hosting or registrar accounts. This way if someone does manage to get into your email they won’t be able to use the same email/password combo to get into your registrar account. Remember a few things: The longer your password is, the harder it is for a computer to guess. A random mix of special characters, numbers, and letters are typically much stronger instead of easy to guess words like family names or dates like birthdays, graduations, etc.

Install An AntiVirus Program – When you want to stay completely safe online it’s often recommended that you have multiple lines of defense. AntiVirus programs can be very useful to help identify and catch threats that you otherwise may have missed or didn’t even see coming. These programs won’t just keep your computer safe, they can also warn you about websites that pose a potential threat or contain things like malware.

Refrain From Careless Clicking – Avoiding careless clicking is regarded as one of the easiest ways to stay safe online. It’s advised that you be sure and know where you’re going when you click on any link across the web. Spam emails, free offers, Nigerian scams, and other scammers or hackers will commonly ask you to click a dangerous link where the webpage will either infect your machine or ask for personal information. One easy way to check a link before clicking is to paste it into Google search rather than your browsers bar.

Back Up Your Data – In the unfortunate event that your data, documents or information are compromised, it will be a lifesaver to have those files backed up and accessible. There are several different services out there that will let you back up your data remotely, and it never hurts to have things backed up on something like an external hard drive as well.

Use Two-Factor Authentication & Login Notifications – Two factor authentication will tie your accounts to your phone number or email address, giving you an additional layer of security against hackers. Login notifications will alert you when your account has been accessed at a new location from where you typically log on. These can also help you detect potential attacks right when they happen. Thankfully, almost all domain registrars offer two-factor authentication these days!

Keep Software, Scripts, And Plugins Updated – This tip is specifically for webmasters and developers. Keeping the software and scripts you’ve installed up-to-date is key to protecting your website online. If you run a WordPress website then don’t just disable plugins you aren’t using, uninstall and delete them completely. Also, don’t forget to also back up your data before updating software like WordPress so you are safe in case something goes wrong during the update.