Is Sitelock Worth Using?

By CertifiedHosting 11/08/2013

[caption id="attachment_1731" align="aligncenter" width="210"]Image courtesy of Berishafjolla (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license). Image courtesy of Berishafjolla (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).[/caption]

One of the third-party add-ons we have available is SiteLock. The basic questions website owners and managers have about the tool, of course, are:

  1. does it work? and
  2. is it worth it?

It’s relatively inexpensive, so proving its worth is not all that difficult. However, let’s look at the SiteLock software itself, alongside an independent review and a recent award, to determine how effective it could be at protecting your site.

What is SiteLock?

SiteLock essentially has two components: malware prevention and a credibility badge. The former feature means that you get a daily scan to check for malware on your site and, as necessary, remove it. The latter feature shows anyone who comes to your site that you have been scanned that day (which refreshes after each scan, showing you passed the scan with the current date listed).

How effective is SiteLock & what’s the hype?

Does It Really Work? is a review site dedicated to what products and services are worth buying. The perspective on DIRW toward SiteLock is essentially that it’s a good purchase for those worried about day-to-day site security. As stated in the review, it’s challenging for SMBs to figure out how to word off malware intrusions. Security can be a full-time job, and many businesses do not have the time or resources to pay enough attention to the subject. For those businesses, using an automated tool can be effective.

DIRW looks at the arguments made by SiteLock and assesses them for “hype,” basically determining whether or not those arguments are sound. The most interesting element of the SiteLock sales pitch is that having the seal on your site can boost conversions by as much as 15%. Assuming that’s a legitimate claim – and it seems reasonable that security indicators, and really any credibility markers, can make people feel more comfortable buying from you – SiteLock isn’t just a safeguard but actually has good ROI.

What DIRW sees as the “hype” aspect of an anti-malware solution such as SiteLock is that hacking is relatively uncommon, so excessive concern over security is “paranoid.” It’s not really reasonable to think of website intrusion as unlikely to happen, though. A 2011 survey of almost 600 companies revealed that 90% had been breached by intruders within the past year.

The hackings reported by those companies were breaches of their internal networks, not malware installations. However, attacks on websites is certainly not unusual, and the impact on your company – both its finances and reputation – can be enormous. Malware is on the rise and is becoming increasingly sophisticated all the time, a process Stephen Cobb of the antivirus company ESET calls its “industrialization."

The final verdict from DIRW is that SiteLock is a good buy for two basic reasons:

  1. It’s an additional protection against malware, and using as many of these types of tools as you can is wise because it adds layers of automated defense; and
  2. You could see an increase in sales, and it’s a relatively small amount of money to pay to conduct that experiment (although you would need to conduct a split test to really be able to tell the extent to which it affects conversions).

SiteLock HostingCon award

One of the largest annual hosting conferences in the United States is HostingCon. At the conference this year (which was held in June in Austin, Texas), the website Hosting-Review gave awards in a number of different categories to hosting companies and software frequently provided in hosting environments. In the Best Website Security Award category, SiteLock was the winner.

The factors used to determine the recipients of the awards were the following:

  • the technology itself
  • how reliably it works
  • the actual performance of the software
  • reviews and ratings by its users
  • cost vs. usefulness of the tool.

Hosting-Review stated that SiteLock was generally chosen for the award because its solutions are effective and robust. Perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t interfere (or at least not substantially) with the speed at which the pages of your site populate. Furthermore, because SiteLock is so affordable, it offers a viable solution for SMBs that may not have a big budget to put toward security.

Additionally, it’s widely used, installed on more than 1 million sites. Popularity may not seem like a legitimate reason to buy something, but brand recognition certainly helps to add value to the site badge. Also, one way that security companies become more adept is via “big data” they collect by tracking the sites of their customers. CDN and security tool CloudFlare is a good example of that process.

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If you want to read a little more on the general topic of security, you may know that there was a widescale botnet attack on WordPress sites earlier in the year. Following that incident, we covered a number of different tips in this blog specifically focused on securing your activities on that CMS.

By Kacy Carlsen