Most of the time I post on the importance of Asset Protection, Tax Planning and Financial Privacy, but today I thought I would post on something a little more technical: website security.
About 8 years ago I used to promote my business through seminars located in exotic places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Latvia, etc. Yeah it was a tough job, but someone had to do it.
Well, at one seminar in Cancun I had an unusually large number of walk-ins to the seminar. I was curious where they were coming from and it turned out that they had actually come to Cancun to attend a competitor’s seminar. They had heard about my seminar and decided to ditch the other guy in favor of me. They heard about my program based solely on word of mouth. Well I gladly took their money, and enjoyed the weekend enormously!
Until I arrived back in the Good Ole US of A. It was then that I discovered that my website had been closed down, and that my URL was being held hostage by my hosting service. It turned out that the competitor in Cancun found out about his attendees abandoning his seminar in favor of my seminar and took his revenge by accusing me of spamming him. He fabricated an email that I had never sent by lifting acceptable promotional material posted on a commercial site, and changed the headers to appear like an email. My hosting service shut me down without any further notice or explanation. I was shocked. How could this happen?
Luckily for me, my hosting service responded to my request for reconsideration, reviewed the claim of spamming, and in fact concluded that the charges were false. My website was reinstated, and I was back in business.
But this made me start thinking: How can I improve my website security so that no one can ever do this to me again? I started calling around and talking to friends. Someone referred me to a Russian hacker who was living in New York. He used to work for some odd agency of the Soviet Union during the Cold War commonly called by three letters. He agreed to show me how to bullet proof my website.
3 Steps to Making Your Website Bullet Proof
Step One: Separate your domain name (URL) from everything else. Do not set up your website at a one-stop shop that provides you with the convenience of registration, DNS service, and web hosting all in one location. Instead register your URL at one of those discount registration services. I use http://www.cheapdomainnamesdot.com/. They are cheap and efficient, and easy enough for me to use it. I would consider paying a little extra and getting the privacy option (no information regarding the registration of the domain name is publicly available).
Step Two: Establish a DNS Service separate from your URL registration and your web hosting service. What is DNS? Domain Name System (DNS) is a database system that translates a computer’s fully qualified domain name (URL) into an IP address. In other words, it is the service that directs your web browser to the proper computer site when you type “www.domainname.com”. I use a free service called http://zoneedit.com/. This service will accept the registration of your domain name from a third party registration service, and then forwards the DNS to a web-hosting service of your choice.
Step Three: Find a good web hosting service. This can be just about any service out there, but make sure they make it easy for you to have your registration and DNS separated out like I described above. A good web hosting service understands how this works, and will help you do it. If they say they do not understand what you are talking about, or make it sound like you are stupid, just move on. There are literally thousands of good services out there. I personally use http://www.hostmonster.com/, but I also like a free service called http://www.memebot.com/ which provides totally free hosting and some very nice template services as well.
There are other things you can do with this system as well, and once you get familiar with the structure of things it can be quite liberating. Changing web hosting services will literally take no more than a few keystrokes in your DNS service website. No one will ever shut you down. Your website will be bullet proof.