Even with the best security on your website, you can still get hacked or compromised. While it’s essential to constantly update and scan your computer and server, there is always a risk, especially when using a shared hosting company. Keeping a secure network requires effort from you and your Web hosting company.
It’s easy to make the assumption that your Web hosting company is doing some mysterious fancy technological magic to keep your server secure, but it can be a dangerous assumption to make. Some hosting companies handle their security much better than others, and only a proactive and devoted hosting company can ensure a reasonable level of security. When you’re looking for Web hosting, there are some important things to review to ensure the best security for your website.
An SSL certificate is one of the essential and most effective ways to secure transmission of information to your website. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates encrypt all of the traffic sent to your server, and make interception and hacking much more difficult, if not impossible. SSL certificates are typically reserved for secure websites that require login information, and while they can slow down performance they are the best protection against interception.
Web servers allow the administrator to set the permissions for file access on their site. These permissions include read, write and execute permissions, or any combination of these. Read, write and execute permissions can be set for the owner, group or for guests. Typically owners and groups are tightly controlled by the administrator, but guest access includes unauthorized visitors. By allowing write access to guest users, you’re opening up a door to exploitation of your server. File permissions are often overlooked and are one of the most common ways that hackers get access to a server.
Where is your data being stored? Web hosting companies use a wide range of “data centers” – the location where their servers are stored. Small hosting companies often have a server closet housing just a few computers, whereas larger companies often share large data center facilities. If managed properly, either one of these can be very secure, but it’s important to research the details of your hosting companies servers. A solid hosting company will often have multiple data centers, and at a minimum have strict access and security to the facility where the servers are housed.
Malware is more and more common as viruses exploit browser vulnerabilities to gain access to personal computers, and consequently capture login details for Web servers. A solid hosting company will have active malware scanning and virus scanning built in to their server infrastructure and constantly be on the lookout for such outbreaks.
Hacking takes place even at the most secure hosting companies. When it does happen, it’s vital to have a company that is ready to take action. If you’re Web host is asleep at the wheel, a minor threat can quickly escalate into a major problem. Research the company you are signing up for, and see what other customers have to say.
Domain registrars and Web hosts are separate entities. It’s not necessary to use the same company for both of these services. Sometimes, registering your domain with a company that specializes in domain registration and hosting your website separately can benefit your website’s security. If somebody compromises your domain registrar account, they may still be completely cut off from your server and won’t be able to do anything with the information they have.