GDPR: What is it and How to Make Your Website GDPR Compliant


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has reshaped the landscape of data privacy since its enforcement on May 25, 2018.

This European Union regulation is designed to safeguard the personal data and privacy of individuals within the European Union and United Kingdom, and it extends its influence to foreign companies processing the data of EU residents.

If your website collects and processes personal data of users from the EU, GDPR compliance is not just a good practice – it’s a legal requirement.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the intricacies GDPR, explaining what it is, its key components, and the steps needed to ensure that your website is GDPR compliant.

What is GDPR?

The GDPR establishes a robust framework for the protection of personal data, ensuring that individuals have control over their information.

Whether you operate within the EU or handle data from EU residents, the GDPR applies to your business. Even if your physical presence is outside the EU, if your website interacts with EU users, compliance is mandatory.

GDPR compliance is required from websites of all sizes and stripes. The focus is on the processing of personal data rather than the size of the entity.

Key Features of GDPR

  1. Explicit consent
  2. User rights
  3. Breach notification

Explicit Consent

Users must provide clear and affirmative consent for their data to be collected and processed.

User Rights

GDPR grants individuals various rights, including the right to access, rectification, erasure, and data portability.

Breach Notification

In case of a data breach, notify the relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours.

Making Your Website GDPR Compliant

  1. Craft a GDPR-compliant privacy policy
  2. Use an approved consent management platform (CMP)
  3. Know the data you hold
  4. Secure your website
  5. Review third-party contracts
  6. Obtain consent for emails
  7. Ensure proper international data transfer

Craft a GDPR-Compliant Privacy Policy

Your Privacy Policy is a cornerstone for GDPR compliance. Clearly articulate how you collect, process, and share personal data. Ensure it covers user rights, such as the right to access and erasure.

Use an Approved Consent Management Platform (CMP)

A CMP is a software solution used by publishers to inform and obtain legal consent from users to process their data.

CMPs operate by displaying notifications to users when they visit a website, informing them about how their data will be used. They also help publishers comply with privacy laws by managing user consent in a transparent, user-friendly, and legally compliant manner.

Know the Data You Hold

Conduct an audit to understand the personal data your website collects. Identify what data you hold, including sensitive information, and establish the purpose and duration of data processing.

Secure Your Website

Implement security measures to protect stored data and fortify your website against external threats. Install an SSL certificate for encrypted data transmission and employ strong passwords and anti-virus software.

Review Third-Party Contracts

Ensure third-party services align with your Privacy Policy and comply with GDPR. Review agreements with processors based outside the EU, considering data protection systems and risk assessments.

Obtain Consent for Emails

Seek opt-in consent from users for email marketing. Provide a clear option to unsubscribe in every email.

Ensure Proper International Data Transfer

Comply with GDPR when transferring personal data from the EU to non-EU countries. Assess privacy policies, agreements, and data protection levels of recipients.


What is GDPR, and who does it apply to?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection regulation enacted by the European Union. It applies to businesses and organizations, regardless of their physical location, if they collect or process personal data of individuals within the EU.

What constitutes personal data under GDPR?

Personal data includes any information related to an identified or identifiable natural person. This encompasses a wide range of data, including names, identification numbers, location data, online identifiers, and factors specific to physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity.

Why was GDPR implemented?

GDPR was implemented to address growing concerns about data privacy, security, and the misuse of personal information. It aims to empower individuals with control over their data, harmonize data protection laws across the EU, and hold organizations accountable for transparent and lawful data processing.

What are the key rights granted to individuals under GDPR?

GDPR grants individuals several rights, including the right to be informed, right of access, right to rectification, right to erasure, right to restrict processing, right to data portability, right to object, and rights around automated decision-making and profiling.

What steps can businesses take to ensure GDPR compliance?

Businesses can ensure GDPR compliance by crafting a GDPR-compliant Privacy Policy, conducting a thorough audit of the data they hold, implementing website security measures, using consent management platforms for user consent, reviewing third-party contracts, obtaining consent for emails, evaluating website forms, and staying informed about international data transfer regulations.

Is GDPR only applicable to large businesses?

No, GDPR applies to businesses of all sizes. The regulation is designed to protect the personal data of individuals, irrespective of the size of the business. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should also adhere to GDPR requirements.

Do I need a Data Protection Officer (DPO) for my business?

Not every business requires a DPO. However, it is mandatory if your business engages in systematic monitoring, processes large amounts of data, or handles sensitive data. Designating a DPO ensures compliance and accountability.

What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance?

Non-compliance with GDPR can result in severe consequences, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual worldwide turnover, whichever is higher. Fines may vary based on the nature, gravity, and duration of the infringement.

How can businesses handle data breaches under GDPR?

In the event of a data breach, businesses must notify the relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours. They should also inform affected users if there is a pronounced risk to privacy. Updating processes and having an action plan for future breaches is essential.


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