Cyber security and data protection are of serious concern to individuals and businesses around the globe. News headlines often feature major data breaches that put the private information and financial data of thousands, if not millions, at risk. Understandably, you are interested in doing everything that you can to keep your website secure.
There are several factors that come into play when discussing the security of your website. Incorrect file permissions, weak or reused passwords, and outdated plug-ins all play a role. However, even if you do everything right and take all the proper security precautions, if the web hosting provider you use does not take cyber security seriously, your website may still be vulnerable to attack.
Not All Hosts Are Created Equal
In the same way that you will find variations in the quality of products you purchase at the supermarket or at the mall, you will also notice a variety of service levels offered by hosting providers.
Some hosting providers have a reputation for providing a fast connection. Others are known to be more expensive, and others have the reputation of providing security features. You want a hosting company that offers top level security out-of-the-box. This will allow you to focus on the design aspects of running your site.
Two good places to see hosting performance are Research as a Hobby’s blog post about hosting as well as Aussie Hosting’s host review. Both provide data-centric breakdowns of performance across multiple metrics.
Web hosts aren’t interchangeable. You may find web hosting companies that charge the same and offer similar plans. However, the tech support they provide and the performance they offer can vary drastically. Price should not be the defining factor in choosing your web host.
There are several important ways that the web hosting company you use can impact your site’s security. The following are a few things that you should be aware of.
How the Hosting Plan You Choose Affects Security
Most websites on the Internet are hosted on a shared server. Shared hosting is typically less expensive, easy to set up, and requires little to no maintenance on the part of the user. However, shared servers are by their very nature less secure than other options.
Many have compared a shared server to living in an apartment. When you live in an apartment, your security is impacted by the decisions that others who live in the same apartment building make. If they leave the front door open, if they start a fire in their apartment, or if they invite dangerous people over, your security is negatively impacted. The same thing happens when you use a shared server.
With a shared server, there are several users and their actions might impact your website. If the provider you use does not do their part to make sure that the server is properly configured, you might be facing serious headaches down the road.
If your budget allows for it, you may want to investigate a virtual private server. A VPS gives you dedicated resources that are used solely on your website. Although physically on the same server as other websites, you are virtually isolated from them. Their actions have no impact on you.
Does Your Web Host Offer Automatic Website Backups?
This is an important question because the best way to keep your website safe is to back it up regularly. If your web hosting provider does not understand this, they may not be the right option for you.
Regular automatic backups mean that if something goes wrong with your website, be it a security breach or user error, you can rewind your site back to an earlier state with just a couple of clicks. When automatic backups are not in place, you may spend hours trying to identify vulnerabilities or errors that caused your website to go down and then spend more time trying to repair these errors, all the while losing customers.
A Good Host Offers Several Security Features
Some web hosting companies are more security-conscious than others. You need to be vigilant and find providers that offer the features needed to keep your site safe. These features might include:
• Security Logs – If something goes wrong on your site, security logs will give you detailed information that can tell you if someone gained access to your website, what happened, and what changes were made.
• Malware Removal – This feature is not as commonly seen, but there are some web hosting companies that will automatically clean up malware for you. They offer this as part of the hosting package.
• Security Scans – Even if you do everything correctly and even if your hosting company is security-conscious, it is possible for attackers to sneak past your defenses. Hosting companies that offer regular security and vulnerability scans can help you identify when something goes wrong and then take the necessary steps to fix the situation.
• Built in Firewalls – Your website is constantly at risk of getting hacked. A good web hosting company is going to monitor your site for intrusion attempts and block suspicious traffic.
Distributed Denial of Service Attack Protection
A good hosting service will offer their clients protection from DDoS attacks. DDoS are simple but effective. Bad actors can flood websites with so much traffic that real visitors are unable to visit the site.
A DDoS attack can be a challenge to deal with while it is in process. That’s why it’s best for a web host to take precautions against these attacks before they happen. This includes being able to distinguish good traffic from bad traffic. If the hosting company responds by shutting down all incoming requests, they will have effectively done the hacker’s job for them because your legitimate customers will not be able to access your page. Bot discernment and deep packet inspections play a vital role in successfully accomplishing this.
Next, the bad traffic will need to be redirected and routed away from your server. A hosting company that has a solid understanding of DDoS attacks will be able to employ proper protection methods and mitigate any attack.
Cyber security and data privacy protection are necessities for businesses operating on the web. All it takes is one data breach for your business’s reputation to be irrevocably damaged. You can take all of the precautions in the world in designing your website but if your web hosting solution is not security-conscious, your site will be at risk.