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Securing Your Joomla Install

Staying on top in the world of internet security can be a challenge, particularly as new technology seems to emerge on a constant basis. However, if you want to make sure that your company has everything it needs to thrive online, then you'll need to take steps to protect your website.

As a form of open-source application for website building, Joomla is subject to a range of hacking attacks. That's why it's so important to take various messages in protecting your Joomla site and ensuring you know how to boost its security. Here, we'll look at just some of the steps you'll need to take when securing your Joomla install.

1. Keep your Website and Extensions Updated

Potentially the most important thing you can do when it comes to keeping your Joomla site secure is make sure that you've got everything updated to the latest available version. In almost all new version releases, you'll find that security issues from previous options have been fixed and patched.

Keeping your Joomla extensions updated is equally important to keeping your website secure. In fact, there are generally more attacks involved with security issues in Joomla extensions, than there are around the 3 core files of the web application itself. For more information on keeping your modules and components updated, you can visit the Joomla site.

2. Choose Strong Log-In Details

First of all, you'll need to make sure that you avoid using standard and easy-to-guess usernames like "admin". After all, that's one of the first words a hacker is going to try when they're attempting to gain access to your website. Once you've got your username figured out, you'll also need to ensure that you choose a great password for your website too. Many attackers will attempt to brute-force open your website, using common passwords.

With that in mind, try to make sure that you avoid any common words, and keep personal information out of your password. This includes the names of loved ones. You should also avoid relying on password generators, as they use an algorithm which can sometimes be hacked by an attacker.

3. Focus on Keeping Permissions Proper

Another important thing you'll need to keep in mind when you're trying to keep your Joomla website secure is that permissions are key to protecting your files. Ideally, you should follow these basic rules when it comes to setting your ownership and permissions on your website:

  • Never use full access permissions (This is identified as 777 permission)
  • Set the permission on your configuration file to 444
  • Keep the permissions on your Joomla core files at 644
  • Set the permissions on your Joomla folders to 755

4. Make the Most of Security Extensions

Using security extensions is important when it comes to improving your Joomla website security. There are plenty of different extensions or "plugins" out there that have been built specifically with internet safety in mind. For instance, you could try jSecure, or jHackGuard. Before you download your security extension, make sure that it's frequently updated, and be careful to look for any negative reviews that might indicate the extension isn't as effective as it should be.

5. Keep your Joomla Site Backed Up

Keeping your Joomla site backed up is a good idea from a security perspective. It's always worth keeping a backup of your Joomla database and files on your local computer, as this will keep you covered if something unexpected happens. That way, you can make sure that you don't encounter any long-term problems with lost files.

6. Protect Administrative Pages

You can significantly enhance the performance of your Joomla website by restricting access to the admin area on your site. The best way to do this is by password protecting the /administrator folder on your Joomla site. To do this, you can simply follow the instructions in the Joomla tutorial for password protecting folders.

7. Use a Web Application Firewall

Finally, a web application firewall can be a great way to protect your website against external threats after you've already taken all the measures outlined above. Firewalls are designed to defend your website against known vulnerabilities, malware, and other concerns that might be floating around the internet just waiting to attack your Joomla website.

Depending on the type of hosting you're using for your Joomla website, you might find that your decision of what kind of firewall to use will change. For instance, if you're hosting your site on a VPS, then you could use the free ModSecurity system. On the other hand, if you're using a shared hosting platform, then you might consider using a cloud-based application firewall.

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