Web Hosting Security – Critical component of your Website’s Success

By expadmin

Website Security category

July 6, 2022

What Is Secure Hosting?

Security is an important concern when looking at a web hosting plan. But there’s no single feature that makes one hosting platform more secure than any other.

Rather, a constellation of individual factors contribute to overall web hosting security. Most web hosting companies are engaging in at least a few of the standard security practices, but that doesn’t tell you how secure they are compared to competitors.

It’s important to look at a number of different security measures that you and your hosting company might take to keep your site secure.

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.

Ecommerce Security

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

What Security Features Should a Web Host Offer?

Hardware Security

When you purchase web hosting services, the main thing you are getting is server space to host the files that make up your website. Ensuring that the physical servers are protected against threats is the first step in feeling confident that the data saved on those servers is secure.

The data centers where the servers are physically located should be secure, with access granted only to the web hosting company personnel who are responsible for installing and maintaining the hardware. Best practices include controlled access points, security cameras, motion detectors, and secure cabinet racks that prevent bad actors from physically compromising the servers.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • Where are servers located?
  • What security measures do they have in place to protect physical servers?
  • How are servers protected in the event of power outages or natural disasters?
Network monitoring

Consistent threat monitoring is crucial to quickly identifying and resolving issues, before they grow into more serious attacks and breaches. If you are contracting with a web hosting company to manage your server, you are trusting that someone is keeping an eye on the physical hardware, as well as website traffic, to prevent attacks.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • How are networks monitored for security threats and attacks?
  • How are customers notified about security threats and attacks?
Secure access

Just as web hosts should restrict who has physical access to servers, they should also limit who gets virtual access. Carelessness about who can log into a server and what information they can see can easily lead to compromised data.

Web hosts should use the Secure Socket Shell (SSH) network protocol, or an equivalent, for log-in access. SSH uses strong password authentication, public key authentication, and encrypted data communications to facilitate systems and applications management remotely and securely. Many web hosts will clearly state if they allow SSH access.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption ensures that if anyone tries to intercept data as it’s being transmitted across the web, they will only see garbled, incomprehensible characters. SSL encryption is such an integral part of website security, especially for e-commerce sites, that many web hosts now include a complimentary SSL certificate in their hosting packages. If not, you can (and should) obtain an SSL certificate separately. Not only does this help protect your business and your customers, but search engines are increasingly labeling websites without SSL certificates as “insecure,” which could drive away visitors.

Web Application Firewalls (WAF) provide additional protection for web applications by filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic, and defending web applications against attacks. Look for web hosting service providers that offer host-level or cloud-level WAFs.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • Do they use the SSH network protocol, or an equivalent?
  • Is an SSL certificate included?
  • Do they offer host-level or cloud-level WAFs?
Back-ups

Back-ups are important because, in the event your website crashes or is compromised, you don’t want to lose all your data, and have to rebuild your website from scratch.

There are two types of back-ups that web hosts should provide. First, there should be a physical back-up on a server in another location, in case one server location is compromised. You also want a digital back-up of your files, so if something goes wrong, you can restore a previous version of your website.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • Are automatic back-ups included in your hosting plan?
  • If so, how often do back-ups occur?
  • How long are back-ups kept, or how many versions of your website can you store?
DDOS prevention and CDN support

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks are, unfortunately, a common tool in the hackers’ arsenal. In a DDoS attack, bad actors flood a website with so much traffic that it becomes overwhelmed and inaccessible to legitimate users, thus denying them service.

Since DDoS attacks can be hard to resolve, preventing them before they happen is key. Most web hosts do this by using a tool like a Content Distribution Network (CDN), which is a geographically distributed group of servers where cached content is stored, so it can be delivered quickly to visitors to your website. Utilizing this type of caching helps reduce hosting bandwidth, and makes it harder for attackers to disrupt service with DDoS attacks.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • Do they include CDN support?
  • What DDoS prevention measures do they have in place?
  • Are customers notified of DDoS attacks?
  • What mitigation and recovery actions do they take during and after a DDoS attack?
Malware detection and removal

Perhaps one of the best known threats to website security, malware is any type of harmful software, program, or code that attackers use to invade your device, and steal, damage, or encrypt your data or spy on your online activity.

Protection against malware is critical. Not only can malware cause irrevocable damage to your website, by stealing information from your business, including customers’ personal data, you can unintentionally pass a virus or malware on to your customers, destroying valuable trust and loyalty.

Ask your web hosting provider:

  • Do they offer automated malware and antivirus scanning?
  • What procedures do they have in place for removing malware and viruses?

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