How Web Hosting Affects Security
Web hosting is a must for anyone who wants to build their own website or online store. There are many options available in the market, ranging from dedicated web hosts to all-in-one website builders. But they are not all created equal, and it is important to choose a web host that pays adequate attention to hosting security.
Highly secure web hosting is a must to reduce the risk of costly data breaches or hacks. Here we take a closer look at some of the ways web hosting affects security. Be sure to pay attention to this when selecting your next hosting solution.
1. Shared hosting can put you at risk
Don’t get me wrong, shared hosting is awesome. It’s cheap, but powerful enough for most small websites, and it’s generally nice and easy to use. However, it comes with unique security risks that you should be aware of.
For one thing, shared hosts can use outdated hardware and poor security software. This alone may be enough to put your website at risk of a data breach or outside attack.
You will also be sharing a server with many other websites, which adds an extra layer of vulnerabilities. If another webmaster sharing your server neglects their security, it could leave an opening for a hacker or other malicious third party to gain access to your website.
Additionally, the nature of shared servers means that a malicious user sharing your server may be able to access or impact your website. For this reason, it is very important to make sure you select a shared hosting provider that places a strong emphasis on security. We also recommend adding your own security plugins and programs for an extra layer of protection.
2. Some providers offer better security than others
It may seem counter-intuitive, but some of the most popular hosting providers are the worst when it comes to security. Each platform implements different security measures, and we recommend focusing on these when selecting a web host for your next website.
Some things to look for to ensure a host prioritizes security include:
- Automatic malware scanning and removal
- Proactive server scans
- An integrated firewall
- Auto-save options
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection
- SSL/TLS certificates and other security protocols
You should also be careful about the freedom you will have to add your own security programs. It’s not the end of the world if a host’s security isn’t amazing, as long as it’s solid and you can add your own apps or extensions to complement it.
3. Sites on shared servers are vulnerable to blacklisting
The nature of shared hosting means that there is always a risk that your hosting provider and major search engines will blacklist you. This can seriously affect your reputation, your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and your brand image.
For one thing, the more vulnerable nature of shared hosting makes it more likely that you’ll experience a hack or exploit. Failure to notice this in time may result in action being taken by your hosting provider. In severe cases, hosts will suspend your account until you can prove you’ve fixed the issue.
Meanwhile, you will also be at risk if you are unlucky enough to share a server with a malicious or fraudulent website. If you’re using a high-quality hosting provider, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, there is always a small risk.
If this happens, you may find your site blacklisted by Google and other major search engines. This can reduce your traffic and seriously hurt your SEO efforts, if and when you manage to get your site back online.
4. Some options give you more control
One thing that is important to understand is that not all types of hosting are created equal. Shared hosting is generally the least secure. You will generally be relatively constrained to use the security tools offered by your host and may not be able to add your own extensions.
Virtual private server (VPS), cloud, and dedicated server hosting tends to offer a lot more versatility, control, and built-in security. For starters, most web hosts offer better security tools with their premium hosting plans. You won’t share a server with other websites, eliminating the risk of other users affecting your site.
Additionally, many advanced hosting solutions come with full root access, which means you can configure your server exactly the way you want. This is best suited for power users who want to implement their own security solutions, but it’s also ideal for businesses with an in-house digital security team.
5. Backups are essential
Finally, some web hosts commit the cardinal sin of not offering regular website backups. Backups are essential because they save a copy of your website’s files and data, allowing you to restore the site in the event of an attack or technical problems.
We suggest looking for a web host that offers regular automatic backups. Daily backups are best, and it’s worth paying a few extra bucks a month for premium backup tools when they’re available.
Suppose you experience a security breach and lose access to your site or your site data. In this case, your backup provides built-in security that will allow you to relaunch your site and access important data and other information that would otherwise have been lost.
The web hosting solution you choose can seriously affect the security of your website and all the sensitive data associated with it. It’s essential to pay close attention to a host’s security practices and select one that offers an adequate level of protection.
You can find a list of our favorite hosts in our guide to best web hosting (opens in a new tab) on the market today. You can find out more about the different types of web hosting (opens in a new tab) and some leaders web hosting cybersecurity issues (opens in a new tab).