How ‘healthy’ is your website?

by Andromeda Booth
Published on July 2019

What’s the secret to a healthy website? It needs to be built well, secure, thoroughly tested, prepared for the worst and well maintained.

Here are Just After Midnight’s top tips to help make sure you have a healthy, reliable website that is always on.

1. Implement basic security procedures

SecurityInstall an SSL certificate – Do you have one? Without this, your users may not feel safe to make any online purchases from your platform. An SSL certificate provides an encrypted connection which means any sensitive data can be shared securely. These certificates need to be renewed regularly, so make sure you have a plan to manage this.

Get DDoS protection – DDoS (denial-of-service attacks) is a malicious flood of traffic directed towards a server from multiple systems, with the aim of bringing the system down. You can get protected from these malicious attacks by simply subscribing to a DDoS protection service such as Cloudfare DDoS attack protection.

Passwords – This goes without saying, but always use a secure password for anything related to your systems. Passwords must be strong and unique. Never recycle a password. Also, make sure all your passwords are stored safely in an online vault which is well protected through two-factor authentication.

2. Test, test, test

Penetration testLoad, performance and stress test – Testing will ensure you have a website that can handle both standard and out of the norm traffic levels. If you haven’t tested, your infrastructure may not handle traffic coming to your website/application well and your system may fail at key times.

Penetration test – another security measure to protect you. A penetration test will identify any security vulnerabilities your website or application may have. Once you are aware of these vulnerabilities, make sure the changes are implemented to avoid problems.

You can learn more about all the different testing options here.

3. Set up the right infrastructure

Cloud – moving your website to the cloud is the best solution to ensure that you have a website that can handle your traffic and deliver the best experience across geographies to your customers. It’s a flexible and scalable solution to ensure that your website will be ready for anything. To learn more about cloud, read our previous piece on How to: get started with cloud.

Content Delivery Network (CDN) –  if you are worried about the speed of your website, a Content Delivery Network will help give your users an optimal experience. CDNs use networks across the world to distribute cached web content, using the nearest server to the end-user to deliver the requested page.

Environment set up – If you want your website to be perfect for your end-users and avoid any major errors, you need to make sure that you have a Staging/UAT environment for you to test any code changes before pushing to the live environment. As this environment is essentially a replica of the production one, it’s an excellent base to test functionality before pushing out to your audience.

4. Prepare and test a disaster recovery plan

disaster recoveryDo you have a plan? If the answer is no you are risking both revenue and reputational damage. Often times you get one chance with an end-user. If they can’t find what they need quickly enough, they very quickly move on. If you risk people’s data, you can face much worse consequences.

A few things that should make their way on your technical disaster recovery plans are:

  • Back up schedule
  • Monitoring procedures
  • Recovery processes and who is to be involved
  • How to recover issues
  • Communications planning
  • Testing

5. Ongoing Maintenance

Vulnerability patching – whatever application you are using, you need to make sure you patch for any vulnerabilities and updates. This will avoid any security holes and also most times provide you with functional updates for the systems.

DNS certificates and renewal – an expired DNS will mean that your domain becomes inactive and your website no longer accessible. If no one takes ownership of this, it’s actually very common to end up with an expired DNS and a website that can’t be accessed. So keep track of renewal dates!

support24/7 support – if you want to make sure your website/application is always available for your users, then having a 24/7 support function is critical. This means having eyes-on-monitoring and resolution service, ensuring that even if your website is facing issues, there is someone ready to fix the problem immediately. At Just After Midnight, our unique service provides support not only at the infrastructure level (i.e your cloud) but also for the application your website is built on.

By ticking off all of these criteria, your website will be in the ideal position to ensure it is healthy and secure no matter what. If you want to learn more about how Just After Midnight can help you reach 100% for your website’s health, get in touch now.