Website security should be a top priority for every website owner. It is an essential factor whether you are starting a personal or business website.
Now that your website is up and running, maintaining a secure and safe environment is a continuous process. A major factor when considering how secure your website is the choice of company you want to use to power your site. This can be your SSL certificate provider, like Cloudflare, or your chosen hosting provider like Hostinger. This even extends to the plugins and other security measures you use when choosing plugins like Jetpack.
For this article, I’m going to specifically focus on web hosting. So, what do you need to look out for when choosing the right security features provided by your hosting. Let’s dive right in.
Security essentials for open-source content management systems
If you are using an open-source content management system (CMS) like WordPress for your project – your website is prone to attacks because WordPress is built with source code that is accessible to most people. And so, malicious parties who have your source code can potentially access your site and compromise sensitive data, such as clients’ payment information if your website hosting company does not constantly upgrade its security features.
The open-source nature of WordPress exposes you to cyber and DDoS attacks especially if you are running an online business.
Hackers can potentially access your website, install malware, and circulate this through your website. Security breaches can easily destroy your reputation. And so, make sure that your web hosting company has the following essential security feature.
1. Reliable backup and restore
Backing up your data entails copying your website content to a secure destination where it cannot be compromised in case of an attack.
Every website owner should choose a hosting company that can guarantee that its website data is safe at a remote location. Most companies offer a backup system that varies.
Always pay attention to ensure that it is easy to use, quick, and accurate. Also, ensure that it guarantees you the ability to retrieve your website’s file and data. Assess the sites to see if the backup is automated, whether they require additional charges, where they backup your data, and how frequent the backup process. Reliable hosting companies have regular backup plans and secure locations away from the data center.
2. Secure server capabilities
A secure server is important for those operating online businesses that involve both personal and financial details. You want to protect the security of your customers’ data.
Always research to find a hosting company with the capability to offer a secure server.
Most hackers often access your server remotely and you should ensure that communication between you and your server is secure even if it means upgrading your hosting plan.
The following features determine your server security:
Check if your server is secure FTP (SFTP) supported – Any website owner is familiar with FTP (File Transfer Protocol) that allows you to drag files to the FTP client for upload and publication.
However, what you do not know is that some hosting companies have a more secure SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) that uses the same concept as FTP but, provides you with an extra layer of protection. Always check if your provider has the SFTP option.
Check the type of SSL certificate available – A Secure Sockets Layer certificate guarantees your safety when transferring sensitive data, such as payment details by creating an encrypted path between your browser and the webserver.
You can always know that your banking numbers, client’s names, addresses, and other personal information are protected with an SSL certificate by seeing a locked padlock symbol on your browser.
3. Malware scanning
Malware can cause devastating effects, such as loss of data. Just like your PC, servers can also be affected by malicious software that can cause your site to suddenly crash when you need it most.
Knowing that your web host has mechanisms to protect you from malware can be reassuring. Always check when your host does system scan for malware, or if they offer remote malware scan and file integrity scanning.
Also, check whether you can access scan reports as well as help in malware removal for web hosting accounts. Many web providers in the current generation offer you automated antivirus and malware scans. Look for a host that offers the necessary scan and avails reliable customer support on malware-related issues.
4. DDoS prevention and CDN support
DDoS attacks encompass overwhelming requests that can bring down a web. They often send requests that are too big for the server to load. And so, prompting suspension from your web host or even loss of clients on the downside.
The attacks are often so large even for big companies that do not have a mitigation plan. Keep in mind that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks require effective mitigation plans by your web host.
The best way to know whether your hosting companies have DDoS mitigation plans is to see if they work in partnership with a Content Distribution Network (CDN).
CDNs, such as Cloudflare have a well-established infrastructure and massive worldwide server networks to absorb the resource-heavy attacks, such as DDoS. Check the level of support your company offers in case of an attack and if you are hosting a company.
5. Manual reboots
When you are using a web hosting company that allows a manual backup and restore system also ensure that they allow manual reboots. Moreover, whenever you are running an isolated account ensure that you can easily perform a restore whenever you are faced with any major issue. Manual is often applicable to VPS hosting.
6. Firewall protection
Firewall protection is another essential feature that safeguards your site from malware. Besides being a security consideration, it is also a good tool for monitoring traffic and protecting data traffic and preventing unauthorized access to and from a private server.
Without considering this factor at the web hosting level, large companies have dedicated firewalls to protect their network from harmful traffic. Some of the questions you should ask your web hosting company include whether they implement firewall or if they regularly update and review their firewall settings.
Also, enquire if they have a live firewall that can deter a real-time attack from malicious software and hackers.
In a nutshell, security is an essential factor that all web owners must always prioritize. When shopping for website hosting companies ensure that they have mitigation measures against the rising cybersecurity concerns. Pay attention to the aforementioned factors as you work towards securing your site on a personal level. Remember not web hosts meet all security breaches and needs. All the best!