Your business website or blog is part of your brand. If you have spent so much time and resources to build it, then you would not want it to get hacked. To avoid getting hacked, you have to secure your Joomla website from hackers.
Moreover, to make Joomla site secure from hackers, there are Joomla security best practices that you have to follow.
In this JovialGuide, we’ll show you the Joomla security best practices – how to secure your Joomla website from hackers in 2020.
Note: There’s no website that is completely secure, including Joomla. Nevertheless, you should always follow the best Joomla security practices to secure your Joomla website to some extent.
Is Joomla Secure?
If there’s any Joomla security question that comes to your mind, it is is Joomla secure?
Joomla is a very secure Content Management System. However, it has its own security flaws that opens it up to hacking attacks.
Most interestingly, among all of the CMSes, Joomla is the most secure of all.
Inasmuch as Joomla is secure, the most important thing you should do is to give your Joomla website the best Joomla security practices, which we’ll show you shortly.
Joomla Security Issues
Despite the fact that Joomla is a great and secure CMS, there are Joomla security issues that it has.
Joomla security issues are the vulnerabilities, or loop holes, that causes the websites running the Joomla software to be hacked.
Every website or software has it own security issues, whether it’s a CMS like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, etc., they all have their own security issues!
Since there are security issues in Joomla, it is a very good practice to always secure your Joomla website from these vulnerabilities, basically because they’re well known security problems, and can be easily exploited.
Let’s take a look at some of the Joomla security issues:
- SQL injection
- RFI (Remote File Inclusion)
- Bruteforce attacks
The above are a few examples of Joomla security issues.
Let’s take a look at the Joomla best security practices in 2020.
Joomla Security Best Practices: How to Secure your Joomla Website (2020)
1. Choose the Right Joomla Hosting Company
Joomla hosting contributes on its own to the security of your website. A poor/improperly configured webserver, give room for your Joomla website to get hacked easily. However, choosing the right Joomla hosting company is the step you should take to secure your Joomla website from hackers.
A secure Joomla hosting provider is the most important thing you should consider when choosing a Joomla hosting company for your website. Running your Joomla website on an improperly configured webserver, would expose your website to vulnerabilities, making them absolutely easy for hackers to get into your Joomla website.
Furthermore, you have to understand the differences between shared Joomla hosting and managed Joomla hosting. Shared Joomla hosting is cheaper and less secure, while managed Joomla hosting is expensive and more secure than shared Joomla hosting. Moreover, there are more to them than cost. See our shared vs managed Joomla hosting comparison to learn more.
In conclusion, when you choose a Joomla hosting company, be sure:
- It is secure – if the Joomla hosting company you are using is not secure, your website will always be exposed to different web application vulnerabilities, which possibly could result in a hack!
- It runs the latest version of PHP – since Joomla is written in PHP, then the Joomla hosting company you choose should run the latest version of PHP. The latest version of PHP is v7.x. It is the most secure version of PHP so far!
- It is budget friendly – of course, you have to choose a Joomla hosting company that you can pay for its renewal fee. Obviously, at first, Joomla hosting plans are always available at discounted prices. Moreover, these discounts are only applicable, available or valid for the first year purchases alone. However, on subsequent renewals, you’ll pay something higher than the initial discounted price.
See our best Joomla hosting post for features, prices, and many more.
2. Use SSL Certificate (HTTPS)
HTTPS is an abbreviated form of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The S in HTTPS stands for Secure. The work of an SSL certificate, basically, is to transfer your data over a secure connection.
Usually, if you just created a website, your website will have the HTTP protocol. However, if your website deals with sensitive data, like credit card details, you’ll need HTTPS to secure your connection, in the sense that; no third party user would be able to see the details.
So, to secure your Joomla website, an SSL certificate is strongly recommended for all types of websites, not just the ones that deal with credit card details!
3. Backup Your Joomla Website Regularly
After spending so many years and resources in building your Joomla website, then attackers from nowhere, launches an attack on your Joomla website and succeeds. Now, how are you going to recover your website?
This is where backup comes in! You’ll need a backup or reserved copy to recover your website. However, in the case that you never made any backup, your Joomla website may be completely gone!
We always tell you to backup your Joomla website regularly, in order to keep it safe from hackers.
When it comes to backing your Joomla website up, it consists of: database backup and your Joomla files & folders.
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4. Use Smart Admin Username and Password
Your Joomla website becomes pretty easy to hack if you use weak password for your admin account. Most of the successful hacking attempts in Joomla, are as a result of the use of weak admin username and password.
Many people use their names, date of birth, pet name, etc., as their admin password. This is a very poor Joomla security practice, because it is very easy to get, using trial and error method, bruteforce method, guessing method, etc.
Avoid using admin or administrator as your admin username, and also avoid date of birth, birth month, pet name, and other easy-to-guess names or words as your admin password.
So, to secure your Joomla website from hackers, we highly recommend you use unguessable admin username and password.
5. Implement Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two Factor Authentication is also called Two Step Verification or 2FA. It is another way of securing your Joomla website from hackers.
When you use 2FA to secure your Joomla website, it adds an additional security layer that has to be verified before entry into your Joomla website.
Two Factor Authentication uses a verification system to secure your Joomla website, in the sense that; whenever you try to login with your correct username and password, instead of being redirected to your Joomla control panel, over a successful login, a unique verification code will be generated and sent to your Email address. To be able to get access into your Joomla website, you’ll have to copy and paste the correct 2FA code into the verification box of your website, and you’re logged in!
With Two Step Verification, even if your attackers have your correct login details, they will have to get the unique verification code in order to login to your Joomla website.
A great thing about using Two Factor Authentication in Joomla is that; the verification codes are unique, and are randomly generated each time you try to login.
In conclusion, 2FA is recommended to secure your Joomla website from hackers, basically because it adds another layer of security or verification system to your Joomla website.
6. Keep Joomla, Extensions and Templates Upto Date
Updating Joomla, templates and extensions to the latest version is a recommended security practice, to make Joomla site secure from hackers.
As per security, when a software-update is released, it means that there is/are vulnerability(ies) found in the previous version, the vulnerability(ies) have been patch, and this release is the most secure, and recent version of the software. It basically means that; if you continue to use that old version, then your Joomla website will be vulnerable, and could get hacked at anytime!
If this is the case, then to secure your Joomla website from hackers, you have to always keep your Joomla website, template and extensions up-to the latest version, once there’s a release (especially security update)!
7. Avoid Nulled Joomla Templates and Extensions
Nulled Joomla templates and extensions could be dangerous to the health of your Joomla website.
Most nulled Joomla templates and extensions do come with pop up and/or redirection script, that redirects your visitors to another website when it is (nulled template/extension) installed to your website.
Moreover, most of them also come with malicious scripts, which often leave your Joomla website vulnerable to hacking attacks.
In our detailed JovialGuide, we explained why you should avoid nulled joomla templates and extensions.
8. Restrict Certain Files During Upload
This should be considered seriously, especially if you allow attachment/file upload in the comments section, or you run a forum that allows files or attachments to be uploaded. It should be watched closely, as it is harmful!
These files, when uploaded into the webserver, give the attacker the privilege to gain full access into your Joomla website. This could result in; deletion and/or defacement of the most important files of your Joomla website (for example the index.php file inside the administrator folder).
Some of these scripts may render your website weak, such that it can’t withstand further hacking attempts, while some of these scripts give the attacker the privilege to remotely control and gain full access into your website, while some will simply reset/change your admin password.
This script is called a shell or a malicious script.
9. Use Joomla Security Extensions
There are a whole lot of Joomla security extensions that let you secure your Joomla website from hackers. The work of security extensions for Joomla, is to block hacking attempts, show reports on the recent attacks, etc.
Moreover, Joomla security extensions don’t only show you reports on the most recent attacks, but they also help you secure your Joomla website from hackers!
Below are some security extensions to secure Joomla site from hackers:
- Akeeba Backup
- BadBot protection
10. Limit Access to the Admin Directory of Joomla
Limiting access to the sensitive admin directory of your Joomla website is one of the steps you should quickly take to secure Joomla site from hackers.
It is called the sensitive admin directory of Joomla, basically because it contains the core files and folders that make up your Joomla website, and anyone that gets access into it, is actually in the right position to destroy your Joomla website.
The .htaccess file is a very powerful configuration file that is found on webservers. It is a very powerful configuration file, in that; it can be used to secure your Joomla website, make search engine friendly URLS, redirect a page, etc.
.htaccess file is very powerful, that; any improper configuration or misconfiguration in the .htaccess file, can crash your Joomla website.
Restricting access to Joomla admin directory works with the help of an IP address (Internet Protocol address), written together with a code snippet, and then added to the .htaccess file of your Joomla website. Any IP address that is not in the code snippet added to the .htaccess file, won’t be allowed into the administrative directory of your Joomla website.
The administrative directory of your Joomla website is the administrator folder. You see that the backend of your Joomla website is right in there. You may also notice that each time you try to access the administrator (login page), you are always asked to provide the correct username and password before being able to access the backend of your Joomla website. This is because it is the administrative area or folder of your Joomla website, and anyone that gets in there can destroy your website.
11. Use the Right File and Directory Permission
Using the right file and directory permission in Joomla, lets you limit access to certain files and directories.
It is necessary to know that if your file and directory permissions are weak, someone can gain access and cause destruction.
Most importantly, all files should have 644 as file permission, while directories 755. On a serious note, no directory should have
777 as directory permission, not even uploaded directories!
12. Signup for a Cloud-based Web Application Firewall
Cloud-based Web Application Firewall (WAF) are software-based services, that help stop website hacks and attacks.
They’re security services, that specializes in securing your website, basically by stopping attacks and hacks.
Cloud-based firewall helps secure your Joomla website against:
- DDoS attacks
- SQL injections
- Bot attacks
- Brute force attacks
- And many other web application vulnerabilities/attacks
We recommend Sucuri – because they’re one of the most trusted Cloud-based WAF service providers in the business. Above all, as well as security services, they also offer CDN services, and are also one of the best Joomla CDN providers.
If you follow this Joomla security best practices, then you’ll be able to secure your Joomla website from hackers.
In addition, you’ll need a backup extension to backup your Joomla website in case your website gets hacked. See our JovialGuide on the Joomla tutorials for more.