Web Design & Development

Keeping your E-Commerce Site Secure: A Guide

ecommerce security
Written by Micah Phillips

According to statistics, over 25 percent of the world’s aggregate population shops online — that demonstrates the power of e-commerce websites and how deeply it influences the masses. So, if you sell products and services, but haven’t established your e-commerce website, then you are definitely missing out on potential business opportunities. You can explore them by expanding your business and building a strong online presence through an e-commerce website.

However, doing that isn’t easy as it requires data security to be the cornerstone of an e-commerce website. That’s because e-commerce websites deal with sensitive customer data, such as personally identifiable and financial information, which is protected under several laws. Since e-commerce websites involve payments and other financial transactions, its owners need to focus more on implementing strong security measures. Below listed are some useful tips that can help expedite this process, without costing a fortune. So, whether you are a brand-new e-commerce website owner or a seasoned pro, this checklist will help you make your website more secure.

Start with the Right Hosting Plan

Most e-commerce website owners spend generously on the design and graphics of their website but choose to pick a hosting plan based on its price tag. Although doing this may momentarily help you save up a few dollars, but it could cost a lot more in the future. The most common mistake that most aspiring e-commerce website owners make is to choose a random shared hosting plan, which is usually the cheapest. Although shared web hosting plans are pocket-friendly, these are priced low because several websites are crammed up on a single server, about which there is no transparency.

As several websites share a common server, there is every possibility of a notorious neighbor-website sharing the same IP as yours. So, if that website does something crooked and gets itself blacklisted, then it isn’t the website but the IP that gets flagged. As a result, all your efforts go in vain because SERPs won’t rank your e-commerce website well and as a result, you lose out on potential business. So, the best web hosting solution for an e-commerce website would be to hire a Dedicated Server. If that’s not possible, we recommend getting a Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting plan as anything else may simply not produce the desired outcome.

Consider a SSL Certificate

Securing an e-commerce website requires protecting the domain and all its subdomains, which is only possible with a cheap wildcard SSL certificate. No matter what your budget is, always keep a decent allocation for this security measure as adopting it can go a long way. Contrary to the popular belief that SSL certificates are expensive and increase the page load time, it doesn’t do either of the two. In fact, you can easily buy a cheap wildcard SSL certificate which runs on the HTTPS protocol and encrypts communication between the client and server. Also, the increase in the page load time post SSL installation is overhyped — in fact, the difference is negligible.

Never store card details

The e-commerce business model involves the exchange of financial information such as credit card details, which most e-commerce websites let the customer store. This facility is offered to enable easy transactions but can be painful because it also brings along the responsibility to safeguard those details. So, the easiest way to eliminate this liability is by not storing card details of the customer and including this in the ‘Terms of use’ agreement to confirm that the customer is aware of it.

Regular Backups

Ransomware attacks have been around for close to three decades and can lead to unforeseen losses. This form of cyberattack involves breaking into a private network, encrypting the data and flashing a notice demanding a ransom. Usually, cybercriminals ask for the ransom to be paid through cryptocurrency and within a limited timeframe. This form of cyberattack deeply impacts businesses such as e-commerce websites, which rely on data such as order details and customer information — not having access to these details can adversely impact the overall functioning of the business. As a result, it can even lead to litigation under consumer laws besides hurting the website’s online reputation.

Keep Customer Data Secure

While running an e-commerce website, it may not always be possible to avoid storing customer data. So, it becomes critical to choose a secure data storage method, which guards the data against most forms of cyberattacks. Some effective measures include making use of tokenization or a cloud-based secure data storage system. Tokenization involves substituting financial details with random numbers to conceal them. As the actual details can only be recovered by someone who has the key, this form of data security measure works well for most e-commerce websites.

Be careful with the plug-ins

Close to a third of all websites run on WordPress, which is undoubtedly one of the best content management system (CMS). However, this CMS has its own flaws and the most criticized one is its unregulated plug-in repository. A plug-in is a piece of code that’s developed by a third-party and to confirm that it is from a reliable source, you need to check for the publisher’s name. Since most of these harmless-looking free pieces of code add certain functionalities to a website, most website owners download them. Little do they realize that this code could also contain malicious code that may steal customer data.

E-commerce websites need to comply with the PSI DSS requirements in order to secure customer data, and as this requires the use of an SSL certificate.


In addition to the above, there are certain other necessary security measures such as using firewalls, antivirus, setting strong password rules, and limiting access to customer data. With those security measures in place and regular security assessments such as penetration tests, an e-commerce website ensures a safer and well-regulated ecosystem.