If you had the choice as to where you wanted to build a brand new house for you and your family, you would presumably locate it in an area known to be secure and free from the risk of crime. That same principle applies when it comes to where you wish to locate your website, only this time it is not a physical location you are selecting, but a hosting company.
At first, it might seem that barring a few variables to pricing, server disc space and bandwidth, most hosting companies seem pretty much all alike. That might be how it appears, but it is an assumption that can have huge implications for the security of your website. We say that because one of the key ways you can differentiate between hosting companies is the security protocols and features that they offer.
Whilst no hosting company can give you a cast-iron guarantee that you will never be hacked, what they can at least have in place is the appropriate type and number of security features that will minimise the risk as much as possible. As for what those essential hosting security features are, here are some of the main ones you should expect them to have.
One of the ways a hosting company can guard against hacking attacks is to have a network management team constantly monitor their network. This will quickly identify any attacks as they occur and allow them to take preventative action as soon as it occurs
Whilst you may know about firewalls protecting your home computer or laptop, you might not be aware they can also protect hosting servers. if you think about it, a hosting server is basically a huge computer, albeit with infinitely more memory space than the device you are currently using to read this. By having firewalls in place, hosting companies can fend off and block connections from those who mean them harm.
One of the most traumatic consequences of a hacking attack is for the files which are used to create a website being eradicated. In other words, the website is no longer in existence. Just as you might create backups for your important personal or work files, hosting companies can set up backups for your website’s files. Ideally, you want this to be done automatically and frequently with daily being the optimum, weekly being highly desirable and monthly being the minimum.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, and it is a tactic used by hackers to cause a website to shut down. What they do is send thousands of requests to a website all at the same time and as the website cannot process this flood of requests it grinds to a halt. They are often automated, can happen without warning and are often launched by sophisticated and well-organised cybercriminal gangs.
What a hosting company’s DDoS protection will do is to monitor for anything that appears to be a DDoS attack and analyse it. By doing so it will still let through legitimate traffic to your website, but block the traffic related to the DDoS attack.
Whilst dedicated hosting is not specifically a security tool, it does offer greater protection for a website and if your hosting company offers dedicated server hosting at a reasonable price then this will always be preferable to shared hosting. Shared server hosting carries greater risk because if a hacker manages to gain access to the server you are sharing via another website whose security is lacking, then your website could be wide open to being attacked too.
SSL / SSL Certificates
Probably one of the simplest security measures you can take, and if your hosting company does not offer SSL/SSL certificates, then it is time you found a new one. SSL will encrypt data between your server and the person visiting your website and will mean its URL has the desired HTTPS in view giving anyone seeing it reassurance that any information or data they send will be secure.