Security Audit

Website Vulnerability Scanning Guide For Enterprises

Updated on: November 23, 2023

Website Vulnerability Scanning Guide For Enterprises

Globally around 30,000 websites face a hack each day. Now multiply that by the days in a year and we have ourselves a whopping cause of concern. 

These hacks are commonly facilitated by vulnerabilities that are already present within a website. A website vulnerability is a security weakness or flaw in a website or web application that can be exploited like code errors, misconfigurations, weak passwords, and more. 

Website vulnerability scanning is the one-stop solution for combating such issues and this article will detail the top 6 web vulnerability scanners to scan website vulnerabilities. It will also mention its importance, best features, and more.

What Is Website Vulnerability Scanning?

Website vulnerability scanning involves using software tools to identify security vulnerabilities in a website or web application. It is an excellent starter solution for securing one’s website and is normally done as a part of a larger web application vulnerability assessment.

Importance of Web Application Vulnerability Scanning

Website vulnerability scanning is a crucial part of maintaining website security. Here are some of the reasons it should be addressed. 

Protection Against Cyberattacks

Website vulnerability scanning plays a critical role in maintaining website security. 

It helps identify vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access to a website or web application. 

By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, website owners can prevent attacks and protect their sensitive data.

Early Detection Of Vulnerabilities

Vulnerability scanning can identify potential security weaknesses before they are exploited by attackers. 

This enables website owners to address vulnerabilities before they cause harm.

Helps In Maintaining Compliance

A website vulnerability scanner that scans for areas of non-compliance helps maintain various regulatory standards. 

It is important to employ a vulnerability scanner that can help assess your networks for discrepancies in compliance so that you can remedy them quickly. This should include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR. 

Aid in Business Continuity

A website vulnerability scan can identify potential security weaknesses that could disrupt business operations. 

By addressing vulnerabilities, website owners can ensure business continuity and minimize disruptions.

This can be done by scanning for business logic errors, payment manipulation errors, and other vulnerabilities that run rampant in poorly secured websites.  


Website vulnerability scanning is much more cost-effective than having to deal with the cost of containing a data breach or theft. 

It is a preventative measure and as such, saves one a great deal of time, effort, and money in the long run.

However, in order for web vulnerability assessment scans to be effective, it has to be carried out regularly without fail.  

Make your Website / Web Application the safest place on the Internet.

With our detailed and specially curated SaaS security checklist.

Features To Look For In A Good Web Vulnerability Scanner

A good website vulnerability scanning tool should have the following features to make it effective in terms of detecting vulnerabilities within your web applications. 

1. Comprehensive Scanning

The web vulnerability testing tool should be able to perform a wide range of tests and be able to detect vulnerabilities based on a constantly updated vulnerability database. 

The vulnerability database should be updated regularly based on newly discovered vulnerabilities, bug bounty reports, CVEs, and other relevant information regarding flaws. 

2. Easy Navigation

Another hallmark with which a good web vulnerability scanner is assessed is its ease of use. The tool should be easy to explore and use even for users who are not familiar with web application security. 

It should have a simple user interface and clear instructions for running scans and interpreting results.

3. Customizability

A good web vulnerability scanner should provide users with the ability to customize scans to fit their specific needs. 

For example, users should be able to configure the scanner to only scan certain parts of their website or to exclude certain types of vulnerabilities.

4. Scalability

The website scanner should offer services that are scalable based on the needs of your organization and assets. 

A tool that is designed to be used for SMEs would not make an ideal solution for an enterprise’s website security scanning needs. 

5. Integrability 

A good web vulnerability scanner should be able to integrate with other security tools, such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls, to provide a comprehensive security solution.

Integrations are also important to receive regular updates through platforms such as Slack and Jira. 

Another type of integration that is crucial would be for Git repositories such as GitHub, GitLab, and Jenkins.

6. Platform

A good web vulnerability scanner should be able to scan websites and web applications across multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

7. Constant Updates

A good web vulnerability scanner should be regularly updated to ensure it stays current with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities. 

8. Detailed Reporting

Detailed reports are a staple feature of a good vulnerability scanner as this helps customers make the fixes based on risk priority. 

Web vulnerability scanning reports with detailed steps for patching each vulnerability will be mentioned within the report along with the CVSS scores for them.

9. Remediation Support

It should also offer ongoing support to users, including access to a support team and documentation on how to use the scanner effectively.

They should be able to provide innate assistance with your vulnerability remediation for your organization’s security. 

This includes providing POC videos, immediate query clearance, and providing detailed steps within the vulnerability scanning report.  

Types of Website Vulnerability Scanning

Web vulnerability scanning can be divided into two modes or types. The first being active and passive while the second is authenticated and unauthenticated scans.

  1. Active and Passive

Active scans are simulated attacks on your website to exploit any vulnerabilities that are detected. It is carried out through intrusive methods like brute force attacks and other exploits deemed suitable by the scanner. 

Passive scans are non-intrusive in nature and aim to analyze the security of the website to find any vulnerabilities that are glaringly visible.

  1. Authenticated and Unauthenticated

A vulnerability scan can be authenticated or non-authenticated based on the requirements. Authenticated scanning uses login credentials to get detailed and accurate information about the application and scan all the authenticated endpoints (along with authenticated).

Non-authenticated automated vulnerability scanning finds the services that are open on the internet. Non-authenticated scanning is a high-level scan that excludes all the authenticated routes of the application.

Web Server Vulnerability Scan Steps

Web vulnerability scanning is essentially carried out as a crucial component of web application vulnerability assessments. Here are the steps carried out during a web vulnerability scan.

1. Identifying the vulnerabilities

A web application security scanner uses a vulnerability database to detect security vulnerabilities in the target system. The tool probes into different areas of the target system, based on pre-defined rules, and looks for response patterns that indicate potential web application vulnerabilities.

2. Risk evaluation

The vulnerability identified should be weighed using a scoring system to check its severity and the impacts on the system. This is usually done by using the CVSS score combined with the potential damage caused by a certain vulnerability.

3. Reporting

Any breach found, tested, and treated should be reported in an impeccable way for creating future awareness. The vulnerability scanning report should contain the details of the test cases, an executive summary for common understanding, suggestions against each vulnerability, etc.

4. Remediation

The treatment of the security breach should start with prioritization. The vulnerabilities should be classified according to their score, and thereby an inventory should be created to remediate them. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment results in specific guidelines for fixing the vulnerabilities.

Different Types of Website Vulnerabilities

This section details the different vulnerabilities that plague websites and can be detected by vulnerability scanners. 

1. Injection Flaws

Injections are small codes like SQL queries that are injected to manipulate networks and gain access through web applications. 

Once loopholes are identified, they send malware through vulnerable areas to obtain sensitive information. 

2. Broken Authentication and Authorization

Not having strong enough authentication and authorization measures and reusing old passwords, and writing them down, can all leave the networks vulnerable to exposure. 

Wrongful, previous employee authorizations can also lead to breaches occurring. Not having multi-factor authentication measures deployed is a major cause of concern regarding vulnerabilities. 

3. Cross-site Scripting

XSS vulnerabilities leave websites vulnerable to the injection of malicious codes. Malicious codes can be injected into the website through search queries. 

Another method through which XSS vulnerabilities can cause harm is if they are already stored in the web servers and are executed by anyone who potentially views the affected page. 

4. Insecure Direct Object References

These are vulnerabilities within websites caused by a lack of proper access controls. 

In this type of vulnerability, attackers can directly access sensitive information without authentication or authorization making it easily manipulatable. 

5. Misconfigurations

These are some of the major vulnerabilities that lead to big data breaches in web applications. Misconfigurations refer to any glitches or gaps in the security measures adopted that can lead to leaving valuable information virtually unprotected. 

6. Missing Access Control

Not having proper access restrictions in place can lead to individuals gaining access to unauthorized sections of data and applications thus putting the entire system in danger.

Top 6 Website Vulnerability Scanners

Here’s a list of the top website vulnerability scanning tools that can safeguard your websites: 

  1. Astra Vulnerability Scanner
  2. Veracode
  4. OpenVAS
  6. Nikto

Best Website Vulnerability Scanning Tools Reviewed

1. Astra Vulnerability Scanner

Astra Pentest


  • Scanner Capabilities: Web and Mobile Applications, Cloud Infrastructure, API, and Networks
  • Accuracy: Zero False Positives Assured (Vetted Scans)
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance: PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, and ISO 27001
  • Expert Remediation: Yes
  • Cost: $1999- $7,999

Astra Pentest provides a world-class comprehensive vulnerability scanner with the following features: 

Astra vulnerability scanner

Astra provides continuous scanning facilities with its comprehensive scanner that is capable of conducting more the 3000 tests to find any and every hidden vulnerability.

It offers deep scans for web applications, APIs, networks, mobile applications, and cloud infrastructure. 

CI/CD Integrations

Astra offers CI/CD integration services for organizations. This helps companies move from DevOps To DevSecOps, thus giving more priority to security within every phase of a project’s development. It offers integrations with Slack, GitHub, and GitLab to name a few. 

Compliance-specific Scans

Astra offers the option to scan for specific compliances required by your organization. It provides a compliance-specific dashboard where you can opt for the specific compliance to scan for. 

Once the scan is complete the results reveal the areas of non-compliance. Compliance-specific scans provided by Astra include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR. 

Intuitive Dashboard (CXO friendly)

Astra’s vulnerability scanner boasts a CXO-friendly dashboard that is super easy to navigate. It displays the vulnerabilities as and when they are found. 

Members of the development team can be added to the dashboard to collaborate with pentesters for quicker vulnerability resolution. 

The dashboard also offers the option to comment under each vulnerability so that the development team can clear queries quickly.

Detailed Reports

Once the vulnerability scanning is completed a report is generated which includes the scope of testing, a list of vulnerabilities found, their details, and possible remediation measures. 

It also mentions its CVSS score and Astra goes a step further by providing customers with an actionable vulnerability risk score based on which critical vulnerabilities can be prioritized.

Remediation Support

Once vulnerability scanning with Astra is complete Astra also provides detailed steps for remediation based on risk prioritization. This is done with the aid of POC videos and collaboration within the vulnerability dashboard.


  • Can detect business logic errors and conduct scans behind logins. 
  • Provides rescanning upon successful remediation of vulnerabilities. 
  • Provides compliance-specific scans and reports. 
  • Ensure zero false positives through vetted scans.


  • Could have more integrations.

2. Veracode

penetration testing services - veracode


  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Accuracy: False positives possible 
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance: No 
  • Cost: Not mentioned

Veracode is a dynamic solution that helps in the analysis of web applications to find vulnerabilities. 

It has the capacity to run thousands of tests with a less than 1% false positive assurance rate. 


  • Offers DAST, SAST, and penetration testing services.
  • Provides detailed and comprehensive reports.
  • Provides automated remediation assistance.


  • Zero false positives are not assured. 
  • Could improve its user interface 
  • Can be difficult for beginners. 




  • Scanner Capacity: Web and mobile applications, APIs, Networks, and Cloud.
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: No
  • Compliance: SOC2, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, CREST
  • Cost: $1650/Credit

This cloud-based vulnerability assessment scanning tool is automated and generally availed for web applications. It provides management service for an organization’s infrastructure.

Cobalt’s SaaS platform helps you gather real-time insights so that your teams can get on with the remediation quickly. It helps you with cloud scanning and other forms of vulnerability scanning.


  • Impressive existing clientele including Nissan and Vodafone.
  • 14- day trial period.
  • Accelerated find to fix cycles


  • The retest often takes too much time
  • Complex pricing structure
  • Reported false positives

4. OpenVAS

Open VAS


  • Scanner Capacity: Web Applications and Networks
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scan: No
  • Cost: Free

OpenVAS is yet another open-source network vulnerability scanner that is provided by Greenbone Networks.

It’s constantly updated and therefore can carry out over 50,000 tests to detect vulnerabilities. 


  • Automated vulnerability scanning is quick and efficient
  • Freely available network vulnerability scanning tool. 
  • Constantly updated


  • Could be difficult for beginners to make use of. 
  • Automated causes false positives to appear. 




  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications
  • Accuracy: False positives possible
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scan: OWASP
  • Cost: Free

ZAP is perhaps the best of free web vulnerability scanners available that is open-source and provided by OWASP.

It can be used for Linux, Microsoft, and Mac systems to run penetration tests on web apps to detect a variety of flaws.


  • Sends automated alerts after crawls and scans
  • Perfect for beginners and experts alike. 
  • Open-source online penetration testing tool. 


  • Can be slow. 
  • Reports can be cluttered and long.

6. Nikto


  • Scanner Capacity: Web applications and servers
  • Accuracy: False positives present
  • Scan Behind Logins: Yes
  • Compliance Scan: No 
  • Cost: Free

Nikto is an Open Source web server scanner that performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items. 

This includes over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs, checks for outdated server versions, and version-specific problems on over 270 server versions. 


  • Checks for 6000+ vulnerabilities
  • Detects version-specific problems


  •  False positives are present.
  • The tool is resource-intensive and can result in slow scans
  • Limited reporting capacities. 

Limitations Of Web Application Vulnerability Scanning

While website vulnerability scanners play an important role, the level of security provided by them can be subpar if not maintained in congruity with other forms of website security like firewalls and penetration tests. 

Here are some of the limitations of web application vulnerability scanning:

  1. Limited coverage: They may not cover all potential vulnerabilities or may only provide a limited assessment of a system’s security posture.
  2. Depth of analysis: They may not provide a comprehensive security assessment, as the depth of analysis is often limited in free tools.
  3. False positives: Vulnerability scanners may sometimes produce false positives, meaning they flag vulnerabilities that do not actually exist. This can lead to wasted time and effort in investigating and addressing non-existent vulnerabilities.
  4. False sense of security: If users rely solely on vulnerability scanners to assess the security of their web applications, they may develop a false sense of security and overlook other important security measures, such as access control and encryption.


Website vulnerability scanning is an essential component of maintaining the security posture of a website. However, it is prudent to not be reliant on one form of security measure alone. 

Carrying out website vulnerability scans ensures that your website is up-to-date in terms of security measures and ensures the early detection of potential threats and vulnerabilities.

Make a wise choice by scanning your web-facing assets to have a hassle-free secure business. 

Nivedita James Palatty

Nivedita is a technical writer with Astra who has a deep love for knowledge and all things curious in nature. An avid reader at heart she found her calling writing about SEO, robotics, and currently cybersecurity.
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