It can be hard to wrap your head around unfamiliar technical terms like hosting or to understand the security frameworks they support. But it’s still all too important. Imagine investing in your website and then having it fail as the number of visitors and customers grows. Sounds like a nightmare, right?
Too many unethical systems and businesses use your emails and website for advertising. But you can avoid this situation by looking into a package with an excellent web hosting security that includes a virus protection program.
Secured web hosting protects your data from fraud and ensures that your servers are running 24/7.
Here’s why security in web hosting is essential, and how you can decide which hosting provider to use for this, Looking for a fast hosting solution? You can check Nexcess alternatives and Siteground alternative.
Web hosting security plays a significant role in decreasing hosting costs. Your online business success depends on it. But some hosting providers use outdated and poorly maintained servers. It can be challenging to determine which web hosts offer the right services.
- Restricts Access to Secure Information
- Offers Data Backups and Easy Rebuilds
- Detects and Removes Malware
- Prevents DDoS Attacks and Supports DDN
- Ensures Hardware Protection
- Monitoring Networks
- Choosing the Operating System Software
- How Secure are Different Web Hosting Services?
- Features of a Secure Web Hosting Service
- Your Online Business Success Depends on Secure Web Hosting
Here’s what web hosting security best practices look like, so you can find a host that fulfills those requirements.
1. Restrict Access to Secure Information
Web hosts must limit who has access to virtual machines and restrict physical access to servers. Ignoring data security makes it easy for hackers to compromise servers and the information they’re able to see. Secure Socket Shell (SSH) or an equivalent network protocol should provide login access. Secure Socket Shell uses:
- A robust password authentication system
- Authentication with public keys
- Data communication that is encrypted to allow remote system and application management
Web hosts often state whether they allow access via SSH. If anyone tries to intercept your data, it will only appear as garbled, incomprehensible characters thanks to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Many web hosts now include a complimentary SSL certificate in their hosting packages because SSL encryption is integral to website security, especially ecommerce sites.
Otherwise, you need to purchase an SSL certificate independently. Search engines increasingly label websites without SSL certificates as “insecure,” which may drive away your potential customer’s target.
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Web application firewalls (WAFs) provide additional protection for web applications by monitoring and filtering HTTP traffic. These firewalls can also prevent attacks on web applications. Hosting providers should offer WAFs at the host or cloud level.
Your web host can help by answering the following questions:
- What network protocol do they use – SSH, or an equal protocol?
- Does the SSL certificate come with the package?
- Is it a host-based or cloud-based WAF?
2. Offer Data Backups and Easy Rebuilds
You shouldn’t have to lose all your data and build from scratch in the event your website crashes or is hacked. Ideally, web hosts should provide two types of backups: physical and digital.
A physical backup should exist at a second location if a server location is compromised. You should create a digital backup of your website to restore an earlier version if something goes wrong. Your web host should be able to offer you these services:
- A hosting package that includes automatic backups
- Frequent backups
- Backup storage for an extended period and multiple versions of your website
3. Detect and Remove Malware
Malware is perhaps the best-known threat to website security. The term refers to any harmful software, program, or code that a hacker uses to invade a device, steal data, damage it, encrypt it, or spy on your online activity.
Malware protection is essential. By stealing business information, including customers’ data, malware can cause irreversible damage to your website. By unintentionally passing malware on to your customers, you can severely harm your business’ reputation. Ask your web host:
- Do you scan for malware and viruses automatically?
- How do you remove malware and viruses?
4. Prevent DDoS Attacks and Support CDN
Unfortunately, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are a standard hacker tool. DDoS attacks occur when malicious users flood a website with so much traffic that it becomes overwhelmed and inaccessible to legitimate users. Preventing DDoS attacks before they occur is crucial since they can be hard to resolve.
Web hosts do this through a Content Distribution Network (CDN) tool. This set of servers in different locations store cached content delivered quickly to website visitors. Reducing hosting bandwidth, this caching makes DDoS attacks less likely to disrupt service.
To help prevent DDoS attacks, most web hosting service providers offer CDNs as part of their hosting packages. If your web host does not provide CDN support, add it separately to your website. Here are some questions to ask your potential web host:
- Will customers receive notifications of DDoS attacks?
- How do they mitigate and recover from a DDoS attack?
- Is CDN support included?
- How do they prevent DDoS attacks?
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5. Ensure Hardware Protection
If you purchase a web hosting service, you’re primarily buying server space, which means the server will host the files for your website. The first step toward being confident in your data’s security is to protect the physical servers against threats.
There should be a level of web hosting security at data centers where servers are physically housed, with only authorized personnel at the web hosting company able to access these facilities. Secure cabinet racks and controlled access points prevent malicious individuals from physically compromising servers. Security cameras, motion detectors, and controlled access points are also recommended.
Besides power outages, fires, floods, and more, server rooms are vulnerable to natural and artificial disasters. For these reasons, server rooms should be watertight and fireproof, equipped with automatic generators and racks mounted on floors, walls, or ceilings. Data backed up at off-site locations provides an additional layer of security for businesses. Ensure that the company’s data centers are not in areas prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
Find out from your web host:
- Where are the off-site servers located?
- What are the physical server security measures in place?
- If a power outage or natural disaster occurs, how are servers protected?
6. Monitor Networks
It is crucial to monitor and analyze threats to resolve before they continually develop into more severe problems. To avoid exploiting private data, rely on a web hosting company to manage your server to ensure vulnerabilities. It would help if you asked your web host:
- What type of monitoring is needed to detect security threats?
- What is the process for notifying customers about security threats?
7. Choosing the Operating System Software
Currently, users can choose between Windows-based operating system services (OSes) and Linux-based OSes, which depend on your site’s technical requirements. Each of these two operating systems has its advantages in security.
Windows-based Web Servers
There are limits to accessing sensitive information by default. Standard users must request permission and enter a password before enjoying the privileges granted by the chief administrator – an intruder, whether malicious software or an employee, can be prevented from doing any actual damage.
If there is a security flaw on these web servers, only authorized Microsoft personnel can access them. Besides getting help from Microsoft programmers, you also prevent dishonest users from taking advantage of the vulnerabilities.
Linux-based Web Servers
Since Linux OS is less common than its counterpart, fewer known threats exist. Additionally, most hosting services can install programs that protect Linux-hosted sites from Windows-based malware. When a flaw is discovered, the open-source community behind Linux reacts quickly to fix the issue.
8. How Secure are Different Web Hosting Services?
You may have come across dedicated, managed, VPS, shared, WordPress, and ecommerce hosting services in your search for the perfect secure web hosting environment. You’ll want to keep in mind that the hosting environment you choose directly affects the security you select. Now let’s dive into the security of different web hosting services.
Managed Hosting Services
A managed hosting environment has a higher level of security since fewer sites use server resources, and specific security measures are implemented for every site. For example, this is true if you use a managed WordPress host.
In this case, your server environment is uniquely configured to protect the WordPress CMS, and the support team behind you has in-depth knowledge of your chosen platform. As part of managed hosting, some hosts also keep your website up to date, improving its web hosting security.
Dedicated vs. Shared Hosting
A shared server will have dozens or hundreds of other sites, so shared hosting is probably the least secure type. Security protocols vary from shared host to shared host.
For example, some shared hosts offer 24/7 server monitoring, encryption, spam protection, and even integrate CDNs. By using these features, you can enhance the security of your site without spending a lot of time on it.
Dedicated Server or a Virtual Private Server?
You open up your site to potential security risk if you use shared hosting because an attack on any of the other sites on the server could also affect yours. Despite hosting companies’ efforts, using a dedicated server or a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is still safer than sharing a server with several dozen other websites.
Another benefit of choosing a VPS or dedicated server is that it has more disk space, making it easier to expand your site.
A hosting environment that hosts ecommerce sites will require higher security standards since you’ll need to protect sensitive customer data, such as credit card numbers, while collecting and storing it. Among the security features offered by ecommerce hosts are:
- A bundle of SSL certificates
- The payment processor that adheres to PCI standards
- Protection against DDoS
- Maintain regular backups
- Firewalls on servers and at the site level
9. Features of a Secure Web Hosting Service
Hosting companies with highly secure servers are hard to identify. Beautiful pictures and great hosting plans are all over the internet, but you can never tell what lies behind them. If you want your website to be more secure, you should only purchase web hosting from companies with specific security features. Here are five elements that will make your data more secure and your visitors more satisfied.
RAID is an excellent way to protect data. Your files will remain safe even if the server fails. However, the feature is quite expensive, so it isn’t included in most shared plans. You can purchase RAID from some web hosts for an extra fee.
Minimal Uptime Interruptions
Uptime refers to uninterrupted access to your website for your clients, but web hosts can rarely guarantee 100% uptime. Temporary shortages, however, may not be as detrimental as you might think, especially if you’re a startup without many website visitors. A web host that offers uptime reimbursement will be your best bet in this situation.
Data Center Security
It is also crucial to have a secure data center. Mother Nature has no limits – hurricanes, power outages, and earthquakes. How great would it be if your web host was ready for those situations? Security features like diesel power generators, and other safety measures certainly add to the appeal. Consider your web host’s location – preference should be given to areas outside natural disaster zones.
Most companies allow you to back up your data for emergencies. Weekly, monthly, and daily backups are common – but a daily backup is ideal. You can then restore the latest version of your site if your server fails. Some web hosts offer manual backups, which is even better – you can do it whenever you change your websites.
Also, many hosting plans have backup limits (e.g., 20GB), so make sure you read the backup conditions thoroughly before purchasing. Also make sure you read every host’s review before making a purchase. WPEngine can slow down as your business scales. Find the right WPEngine alternative that lets you scale your resources and offers critical features as you grow.
In addition, forums can be excellent tools for obtaining feedback about a particular web hosting company’s security measures. Security should be a top priority, so select a web hosting company that addresses it, and your website will be healthy and efficient.
10. Your Online Business Success Depends on Strong Web Hosting Security
Every 39 seconds, there is a cyberattack on the internet. Further, around 68 percent of business leaders say their cybersecurity risks are rising. It is easy for malicious software to collect data or even hijack computer resources when it infects a website.
The attackers can get sensitive information from current and new visitors. Automated hacking tools can also infect computers, besides stealing information. To keep your website – and your clients – constantly protected, you will need to be on your toes because of the thousands of new pieces of malware created daily.
Web attacks also have significant financial consequences. The cost of performing a site cleanup is much higher than keeping online assets safe. Companies risk losing vast amounts of money during cyberattacks because user information is at risk.
These critical factors put your projects at risk, making it crucial to pay close attention and protect them. To maintain a tight ship, a great web partner will recommend following the above web hosting checklist to ensure ultimate security.
** Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Chris Uzzo (CEO and Founder, Zero Gravity Marketing, LLC) and it was edited for clarity
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Arsalan, a Digital Marketer by profession, works as a Startups and Digital Agencies Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves all things entrepreneurial and wakes up every day with the desire to enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs through his work!