On the Internet, security is a fast evolving and ever present challenge. There is no one right way to secure a site, and all security methods are subject to improvement, revision, and obsolescence at any time. Luckily, there are many well-established principles that can help. The following checklist points you toward current best practices for Joomla security.
The most important guidelines
This checklist is long because the full plot is thick and complex. But don't despair! Here are the essential guidelines for securing any Web site. Following these few pointers will protect your site from most catastrophes.
Backup Early and Often: Setup (and use and test!) a regular backup and recovery process. When done well, this one practice ensures that you can recover from almost any imaginable disaster.
Update Early and Often: Promptly update to the latest stable version of Joomla! and any installed third-party extensions. This one step ensures that your site is protected from all new vulnerabilities as soon as a fix is released, and from all new attack methods as soon as a defense is developed.
Use a secure host Of course the above advice applies to your entire infrastructure. Proper Web security is largely a Web hosting issue. Therefore, if security matters to you, use a high-quality Web host. Consider hiring professional assistance if you have no experience or knowledge in this area. If you wish to ask questions of the community regarding security issues, please do so using the appropriate board (ex., Installation, Migration and Updating, Administration, etc) in the Joomla! Forums.
There are many other important security considerations that you can learn about in this checklist and in the Security FAQ's.
There is no Web security!
There's no free lunch!
Don't be fooled by Joomla's award winning ease-of-use. Maintaining a secure Web site on the open Internet is not easy. Adequate security requires a range of skills and knowledge, constant watchfulness and a very solid backup and recovery process.
There's no one right way!
Due to the variety and complexity of modern web systems, security issues can't be resolved with simple, one-size-fits-all solutions. You (or someone you trust) must learn enough about your server infrastructure to make valid security decisions. Strong security is a moving target. Today's expert might be tomorrow's victim. Welcome to the game...
There's no substitute for experience!
To secure your Web site, you must gain real experience (some of which will be bitter), or get experienced help from others. If you haven't invested the considerable time it takes to learn how to maintain a secure Web site, be sure you can consult with someone who has. Read this tongue-in-cheek description of the Top 10 Stupidest Administrator Tricks which illustrates typical, blow-by-blow examples of how to learn Web security the hard way.
Start at the head of the herd
The Security Forums are filled with "Help! I've been hacked" posts by people who did NOT follow standard security practices. If you decided to study this checklist before your site is attacked, congratulation, you're already ahead of the herd.
It's not as hard as it looks
How to get help
If you believe your Web site was attacked, do not post in the Joomla! forums. If there is a vulnerability, publishing that information could put other Web sites at risk. Instead, report possible security vulnerabilities to the Joomla! Security Task Force.
How to read these documents
Not all techniques are appropriate for every level of user. Apply the techniques you understand and read up on the ones you don't.
Not all techniques are appropriate for every server. If you use a shared server, you will need to depend on the settings established by your hosting provider. If you are using a virtual or dedicated server, you will be able to apply more creative and exotic techniques.
Not all techniques are appropriate for all Joomla! versions. Where a technique applies to only one version, an image is added, such as or .
Are you ready?
Can you administer a dynamic, 24x7, world-accessible, database-driven, interactive, user-authenticated web server?
Do you have the time and resources to respond to the flow of emerging Internet security issues? The Top 10 Stupidest Administrator Tricks is a comic/tragic look at what can go wrong. Don't learn these tricks the hard way! Depending on your recent experience, reading the Stupidest Tricks will either make you laugh or cry.
Stay informed of security issues
Given the complexity of web servers, new vulnerabilities and conflicts are discovered all the time. To receive all security announcements, just subscribe to Joomla Security News. There are several ways to subscribe: