How to Build a Website That is Safe

Today more than half of the world’s population is online, and security is really important. Learn how to build a website that is safe.

By Claudio Pires
Updated on July 25, 2022
How to Build a Website That is Safe

Today more than half of the world’s population is online. What does this mean exactly? The figures are grand, to say the least. Over 5 billion people use the internet daily, across over 30 billion devices including; computers, smartphones, and other internet-enabled devices. Even some means of transportation like electric cars are now on the internet and receive regular updates. If that isn’t futuristic enough, entire smart cities are going to be up to the internet, let alone just cars. In this article, you’ll learn how to build a website that is safe.

How to Build a Website That is Safe

There is no end to the possibilities, and we’ve just begun. This new on-everything paradigm is an exponential evolution for humanity, but on the other hand, this is also a formidable security threat because without security awareness every online company would be doomed. An entire smart city could be down by cybercriminals at the touch of a button. What would happen to smart air transport in that case? Even the thought of it sends shudders down the spine.

Without security awareness, your medical and financial transactions likewise would not be secure. The economy is slowly being digitally on every front, be that; from the fact that more online shopping (e-commerce) takes place than mall shopping, the fact that today you do not even need to visit the doctor physically to get an opinion or prescription (or the bank for that matter for any financial transactions), human lives have fully digitized in the past decade alone. This is all the more reason to think about safety than anything else.

The Digital Transformation to Build a Website That is Safe

As far as the digital transformation goes, business and critical infrastructure, as well as public services, are key in our society. These pillars are what make the world go around. With that in mind, we also know that the new address for most of our interactions today is of course the internet too. What is the key point here though? What is the common point for all of these pillars? Websites.

Because, without the ability to host, build and maintain websites, as well as digital financial services, there would be no online business, services, or anything else of any use online as such. The size of the internet at present can only be roughly estimated, and that number would have so many zeros at the end of it, it would be difficult to comprehend. However, we do have a rough estimation of how many websites are online today, and how many are being created daily to build a site that is safe. 

As of January 2021 alone, the official number is around 1.2 billion (which has been far surpassed at present.) Of course, not all of these websites function or are legitimate for that matter. It is estimated that approximately 200 million websites (of the 1.2 billion in total) are active. Over 250,000 websites are created every 24 hours, which means over 10,000 crop up every hour somewhere on the internet. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, almost 400 million domains have been registered online. These domains are mostly in the .com and .net space, which is high-level domains and are often used by critical infrastructure, government, businesses, etc. 

Why The Economy Needs Websites

So, we’ve looked at a lot of numbers and observations. How does this relate to building a safe website, though? It correlates directly. We’ve said just how many websites there are online, and how much everyone relies on the internet from the average citizen to the largest organizations. About 65% of small businesses around the world have websites now, and the need to have a website is now standard in practically every industry (and the demand is only going to grow.)

Even still, most organizations also have a presence on multiple platforms such as social media to benefit from the invaluable marketing boost and connection to customers. Having an online presence means increasing lead generation, traffic, and ultimately brand reputation and recognition. All of the former are essential for the survival of an organization. There is no need to even mention sales, as leveraging the internet for customer purchases leads to immeasurably more profit as well as financial opportunities for any business.

Elephant in the room to Build a Website That is Safe

But, we need to address the elephant in the room. That is, naturally, safety. Websites are fine and dandy, and the internet is amazing and designing these portals we call websites has become child’s play today with all of the tools and services available online. Furthermore, hosting a website is no problem due to the capacity of cloud servers and the technology and speed involved. Even the costs involved are relatively affordable.

Naturally, this is economies of scale in action. But, the big issue is that safety is not something that takes place automatically, nor is it focused on enough. It is also not that simple to pass the security test with flying colors. Securing a website is the number one priority, especially because a website that caters to people almost always holds sensitive personal information that can be vulnerable as a result of weak security.   

Why Website Safety is Paramount

Unfortunately, cybercrime is everywhere today on the internet in the form of everything from phishing scams to ransomware. Criminals now leverage the internet on an enormous scale, simply because it is profitable and digital crime requires much less effort to orchestrate in order to build a safe website.

Trillions of dollars in damage by cybercrime alone and countless customer records have over the years. Likewise, countless organizations, businesses, and institutions have completely wiped off the map due to insufficient or non-existent security measures at the first point of contact, the website itself. You would think that high-profile organizations would have the security element sorted out, but that is far from the case and is a complex topic in and of itself.

On average, between 30 and 50 thousand websites compromises (hacks) daily. A large portion of these are organizations that hold sensitive information that, if compromised, not only affects the business but the entire customer portfolio. The effects can be catastrophic for all involved. A lot of times, websites are not with safety in mind. Similarly, sometimes the web host is to blame. One thing is for sure: it is most often human error and not the software itself that is at fault. To that end.

Ways websites are vulnerable;

  • Automated hacking tools are a big pest
  • The threat of SQL injections, cross-site scripting, malware, brute force, and DDoS
  • Unsecured usernames and passwords
  • Compromised customers
  • Compromised CMS (website building software) like WordPress and others
  • Website misconfigurations
  • Lack of HTTPS 
  • Lack of proper security certificates
  • Improper access and privilege practices
  • Black-hat SEO trick bots and automated crawlers
  • Server abuse

As you can see above, there are more than enough vulnerabilities to worry even the laxest website owner/operator. The problem is that very few people are aware of these vulnerabilities and most believe that they are not important enough to hacks. That, of course, is a grave mistake. For cybercriminals, even a small profit or even still of information is enough reason to hack into a domain. So, what can ensure a healthy level of website security?

Key points to take into account to Build a Website That is Safe

  • Complying with payment regulations like PCI-DSS
  • Considering a defense-in-depth approach for security
  • Complying with cybersecurity frameworks like the NIST framework
  • Engaging a security team to take care of threat detection and risk assessment
  • Training employees in the organization in cybersecurity
  • Making the customers aware of the potential dangers and requirements

Simply taking the time to think about security as the most critical pillar of any website first will solve a lot of problems by itself. In a highly volatile internet environment like today’s, strict controls and scrutinizing every element of security are paramount. Before an organization can transfer its data and business operations to the digital domain, security has to be look at first.

Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.