Once you have setup your Joomla website, security should be one of your primary concerns. The number of threats lurking around the corner has been increasing rapidly over the past several years, which is why keeping your Joomla-based websites secured is a must. You wouldn’t want to wake up one morning and find that your site has been hacked, would you?
Fortunately, securing Joomla is not as difficult as you think. You only need to complete a few simple routines to keep your site secured at all times.
A Strong Admin Password
It pains me to say this, but the main cause of security breach among Joomla sites is still weak passwords. Admins often use the same password as their other accounts, or simply choose a weak password that is easy to guess. This is definitely not the best approach when you want to keep your websites protected.
Choosing a strong admin password is not as difficult as you think. If you don’t want to remember a complicated password, you can actually use apps or software to help you generate a strong password. A lot of security experts are also suggesting writing your password down; the chances of a written password being stolen is much lower than getting your account hacked because you use a weak one.
Another thing to keep in mind about passwords is to use a different password for each sensitive account. Using the same – or similar – password for multiple accounts is acceptable when they are non-essential accounts, but for something as critical as a Joomla admin account, unique password is a must.
Keep Your Scripts Up to Date
One of the reasons why Joomla is so popular is because it has a very strong developers’ community behind it. The Joomla core itself gets frequently updated whenever a security problem is discovered. All you have to do is update the core Joomla modules to the latest version and your site should be okay.
Extensions and plugins are also updated regularly. Security patches and bug fixes are often released in a matter of hours after a problem is discovered. To avoid getting hacked or suffering from malware attacks, be sure to keep plugins up to date. You can also expect your site to perform brilliantly with all plugins updated.
Don’t forget to check the Vulnerable Extension List. This list contains all of the extensions that fail to meet Joomla’s security standards and are deemed vulnerable. Avoid using the listed extensions if you want to be extra sure about the safety of your site. The list itself can be found at https://docs.joomla.org/Vulnerable_Extensions_List.
Keep It Clean
Other sources of potential security problems include unused extensions and abandoned scripts. We have this almost all the time. I tested an extension to improve my site and forgot about it completely. Even though I no longer use its functionalities, the extension was still running as part of the site. This is definitely the wrong approach to take.
Keep your Joomla installation clutter-free. Delete unused extensions and be sure to find suitable (and updated) replacement for extensions that are no longer maintained by their developers. Not only will you be protecting your site from security problems, you are also improving the overall performance of your site at the same time.
Let Security Tools Help You
Security Joomla and discovering potential problems before they happen are not that difficult to do. There are extensions and tools designed specifically to perform these tasks for you. One of my favorite tools is the Akeeba Admin Tools, a very handy set of tools that will help you keep up with updates. The tool will also remind you of possible security problems before they occur.
You may also want to add a firewall to the site – or the entire server. The RSFireWall from RSJoomla is a good extension to check out for the job. It is known as the most advanced security extension for Joomla, offering anything from protection against RCE vulnerabilities to the ability to block IP addresses and specific countries.
The latest version of Joomla now supports two-factor authentication. If you haven’t been using this feature already, now is the perfect time to start. Whenever you want to log into your admin account, a two-step authentication is needed. Hackers and malwares tend to avoid sites that use two-factor authentication or 2FA, simply because they are much harder to crack. This means your site will be much safer with this feature activated and set up properly.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to keep a complete backup of your site offline for better safekeeping. You never know when you are going to have to do a complete restore of the site after a security breach. An up-to-date backup will save you a lot of time and hassle for sure.