How to Secure Drupal Website

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Internet is not void hackers, virus and malware. Without proper security measure websites can be compromised, which is a loss to the business its customers too. News of cybercrimes is prominent and the only way this nuisance can be kept in check to fortify your website in the best possible ways.

Security is a complex endeavor that needs persistent efforts. Securing a website is completely a different task overall. The website owners cannot be dense. They need to be aware of the digital dangers that lurk the internet and must be aware of the basic security measures they can undertake to keep their website safe.

Amongst the many CMS platforms that are available, Drupal is one of the trusted platforms that is considered to be one of the safest in terms of security. Drupal is now running version 8 and the latest updated version was 8.7.0 released on May 1, 2019. Our article aims to offer the top Drupal security practices that users can follow to maintain a secure and healthy website.

Drupal 8 Security Best Practices You Must Implement

1. Install Approved and Supported Modules – Module is a collection of files that comprise of functionalities written in PHP, CSS files and JavaScript. A module gives you more features and functions to work in a website. Every module may have a set of different functions. Botnets or bots that crawl the internet every day looking out for security loopholes in websites will easily come across your susceptibility if given a chance. Therefore, all the modules that you install should be approved by the Drupal community. If there is a module whose functionality is not quite in use, make sure you know about it in depth before you can go ahead with its installation.

2. Keep Core and the Drupal Modules Updated – Every update released either has a security patch or an additional feature. Updates help in fortifying your software. This is why it is mandatory that you update every released version of Drupal core and its modules to avoid any security compromises. The most recent attack was in the month of February 2019 when the attackers placed JavaScript cryptocurrency miner known as CoinIMP on vulnerable sites. Although the damage done was quite less compared to the Drupalgeddon 2 and 3 that took place in 2018 in the months of March and April respectively where thousands of Drupal sites were compromised. Security patches were released immediately and things were taken care of after the version was updated.

Updating software requires time and can put off a few daily tasks but understand this that without updates, you are risking the security of your website. As soon as the updates are released download and install them. This is one of the most significant Drupal security best practices and you should implement it candidly. Here is how you can check for updates and install them:

  • Sign in to Admin Panel
  • Go to ‘Manage’
  • Locate ‘Reports’ and then click the option ‘Available Reports’
  • Click on ‘Check Manually’. If there are any updates released, you will be able to see them. Click on ‘Update’ if any latest updates are available.

This will fortify your Drupal core and keep your website safe from any cyber-attacks.

3. Give Minimum Permission to Other Users – You might not be the only one that is managing your website. There may be other users whom you may have given the rights to manage the website for you. However, you must be completely sure of the extent to permission that you are granting to other people. There are chances that they may misuse them.

Drupal 8 offers three different types of users:

  • Authenticated Users
  • Anonymous Users
  • Administrators

Web masters can define the set of permission for each of the roles. It would be only wise that just one administrator is present and the others can be granted other roles. Administrators have the power of altering, changing, deleting, uploading, etc. Do not give this permission to random people.

4. Pick a Good Web Host Provider – While speed and uptime are critical elements that a good web host provider will offer, security is something that it should provide upfront. There are several different indicators that show a web host provider is offering reliable security to its customers. Here are some of the points that you should look out for a while picking a web host provider:

  • Frequency of Backups Taken and Restore
  • SSL, Firewalls, and DDoS Prevention
  • Network Monitoring
  • Antivirus and Malware Scanning and Removal If Required

Ensure these features are offered by a web host provider.

5. Modules For Security – Drupal 8 offers several security modules that are totally worth installing. They will help in keeping your website secure.

  • Password Policy lets you define the policy to create passwords. You can have constraints such as numbers, special symbols, capital letter, etc.
  • Session Limit module lets you set a limit to the number of concurrent sessions for each user, for every role. In this way, you can cut down any probabilities of suspicious activity being executed out on your which could lead to bigger attacks.
  • SpamSpan module lets you obscure email addresses so that bots can’t collect them. Email addresses are a sort of gateway to your website if the hackers manage to get them. It uses JavaScript to execute the process.
  • Login Security Module enables the administrator to block access for certain IPs and even define the number of login attempts made.
  • Captcha can easily keep the spambots away. It is old school but makes your website super safe from spammers. Using captcha support for any submissions is a wise decision.
  • Automates Logout lets you define the time limit of auto-logout once the website is inactive for a certain period.
  • Drupal Core Update Module, yes Drupal has a special module for auto-updates, the importance of which we already spoke about. It will keep your Drupal core patched and secure with important upgrades that come their way.

There are many more security modules available for Drupal you can always check it online or ask for the best ones in the community.

6. Block Access to Your Important Files- You should restrict access to all your important filed like upgrade.php or install.php or any other file that you consider important. Use the code mentioned below to protect them.

  • <FileMatch “(authorize|cron|install|updgrade)\.php”>
  • Order deny, allow
  • Deny from all
  • Allow from 126.0.0.1
  • </FileMatch>

7. Remove Unused Modules– Always remember unused modules are a baggage to your website it is best you uninstall them if not required. An administrator can easily uninstall a module. Ensure the module doesn’t affect any functionality of your website. Any module that is needed by another module for some functionality cannot be uninstalled. You need to uninstall its dependent module/modules and functionality and then proceed with its installation. The checkbox of a module that cannot be uninstalled will be disabled. Here is how you can go ahead with the uninstallation of a module:

  • Go to Manage administrative menu
  • Next go to Extend
  • Here you will find Uninstall (admin/modules/uninstall), the list of modules that can be uninstalled.
  • Check the boxes for the modules you want to uninstall
  • Click on Uninstall at the bottom of the page to finish the process.

Unused modules that are no longer required are just overburdening your website and making it vulnerable for the hackers. Ascertain such modules and uninstall them to make your website safe.

8. Some More Drupal 8 Security Practices Measures – Besides following the above security measures, regular monitoring of your website also helps in keeping your website safe. Here are some points to remember.

  • Check for status reports at regular intervals to ensure that safety of your website hasn’t been compromised.
  • Always use strong passwords and change them at regularly.
  • Dual factor authentication helps in fortifying your website’s security.
  • Inactive users should always be deleted
  • Website should be backed up every day

Conclusion

Drupal 8 is reputable and reliable because of the several security measures in use. They believe in being vigilant and thus release upgrades and security patches on a regular basis. However, the security measures are useful only when Drupal site is compliant with its API. So, ensure that you pick the perfect Drupal website development company to execute the task. We have a team of skilled employees that are experienced in Drupal security practices and will help you design systems that are safe from any internet crimes.