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Website security audit checklist

Are you looking for a Website security audit checklist?

Website security auditing is a process of examining or assessing the security state or a safety level of an organizational website. 


The website security audit checklist contains a to-do list of activities or areas that need to be assessed or examined by a security auditor. 


The number of security breach incidences in the recent past is alarming. According to purpleSec,  there are thousands of reported data breach cases each year. Hence, an organization should lean towards industrial security standards.


ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard to manage informational security. It defines the information to be protected, risk assessment, and treatment methodology. 


The information security audit is an iterative process that should be performed after a given period such as yearly. Administering website security of larger organizations can be overwhelming; this is why you need a website security audit checklist.


A website security checklist eases work while ensuring no section is left unassessed. A security auditor can map the extent of the process and the sections yet to be auditors. The success of a security audit process relies on the quality of your checklist.

Website security audit checklist

It’s important to pinpoint all the sections to audit in a checklist. Here, is a simplified template of an audit checklist specifying the key areas

  1. Audit logs and configuration files

Computer systems contain an audit log and websites are no exemption. These files record all target activities within a system. This includes activities such as file deletion, creation, configuration changes among other events.

The file can be used to identify weaknesses or tracing changes that are vital in the audit process. 


  1. SSL certificates

The SSL certificates activate a more secure HTTPS protocol. This ensures information is exchanged in an encrypted format. The information is unintelligible to hackers promoting the security and privacy of the communicating parties.


SSL forms the baseline of security a website and every website should install it. Hence, you should add it to your website security audit checklist. The areas to audit include the type and encryption key size, is the certificate installed, the vendor,  last time it was renewed among others.


  1. Backups 

Backups assist in disaster recovery. This ensures minimal disruption and the organization can resume routine service in event of a collision. Off-site backups are recommended but the security of the information needs to be assessed.

This is because backups can be done to cloud service where an organization may not have full control. Hence you should always include backups in your audit checklist.


  1. Updates 

This is a means through which a website or any system fixes or add more security functionality into an already working system.

A website, for instance, should be able to apply updates to play with new features. This includes installing new plugins, themes, and frameworks. 

Therefore, you should assess how often updates are performed on the website. 


  1. Privileges and permisssion

They define the extent of an operation a user can perform. Permissions set what a user is allowed or not allowed while privileges set the levels of permission. Website security audit checklist should include this to assess how they are allocated to users of the website. It’s a security access principle to grant using the least privilege i.e users assigned minimum privileges to access a certain resource. 


One of the security loopholes is a privilege escalation. You need to audit the way privileges are granted and if there is any escalation.


  1. Password policy

Passwords are used to secure user accounts. Websites should encourage stronger password credentials that are stronger to break. You can always add this to your checklist to review the implementation and identify a weakness that may be capitalized by a malicious individual.

Other items include:

  • a review of user data
  • data processing
  • malware scan, and
  • firewall installation and configurations



Information is valuable and hackers are always scanning for vulnerabilities to exploit.

An organization should be proactive in implementing security standards to deter any form of attack.

Security should be inforced iteratively through assessment and audit.

As forementioned, the website security audit checklist is very vital for audit since it sets the scope and acts a reference throughout the process.

Hence, a well-prepared list will ensure there are no gaps and every section stands to be assessed promptly.

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