Web hosting is a must for anyone wanting to create their own website or online store. Loads of options are on the market, ranging from dedicated hosts to all-in-one website builders. But these aren’t all equal, and it’s important to choose a host that pays adequate attention to hosting security.
High-security web hosting is a must to reduce the risk of a data breach or costly hack. Here, we take a closer look at a few of the ways web hosting affects security. Be sure to pay attention to these when selecting your next hosting solution.
1. Shared hosting can put you at risk
Don’t get us wrong, shared hosting is great. It’s cheap, yet powerful enough for most small websites, and it’s usually nice and easy to use. However, it does come with some unique security risks you should be aware of.
For one, shared hosts could be using outdated hardware and poor security software. This alone can be enough to put your website at risk of a data breach or outside attack.
You will also be sharing a server with numerous other websites, which adds a whole extra layer of vulnerabilities. If any other webmaster sharing your server neglects their security, it could leave an opening for a hacker or other malicious third party to access your website.
What’s more, the nature of shared servers means that a malicious user sharing your server may be able to access or impact your website. Because of this, it’s super important to ensure you select a shared hosting provider that places a strong emphasis on security. We’d 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 counterintuitive, but some of the most popular hosting providers perform the worst on the security front. Every single platform implements different security measures, and we recommend you focus on these when you’re selecting a 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
- A built-in firewall
- Automatic backup options
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection
- SSL/TLS certificates and other security protocols
You should also pay attention to how much 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 there’s always a risk of your hosting provider and the major search engines blacklisting you. This can seriously affect your reputation, search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and branding.
For one, the more vulnerable nature of shared hosting makes it more likely that you will suffer a hack or exploit. If you don’t notice this in time, it can result in action being taken by your hosting provider. In serious cases, hosts will suspend your account until you can show that you’ve dealt with the issue.
Meanwhile, you’ll also be at risk if you have the bad luck of sharing a server with a malicious or scammy website. If you use a high-quality hosting provider, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, there’s always a small risk.
If this does happen, you may find your site blacklisted by Google and other major search engines. This can slash your traffic and seriously harm your SEO efforts, if and when you manage to get your site back online.
4. Some options give you more control
One thing that’s important to understand is that not all types of hosting are equal. Shared hosting is generally the least secure. You will usually be relatively constrained to using the security tools offered by your hosting provider, and may not be able to add your own extensions.
Virtual private server (VPS), cloud, and dedicated server hosting tend to offer much more versatility, control, and built-in security. For starters, most hosts offer better security tools with their high-end hosting plans. You won’t be sharing a server with other websites, effectively eliminating the risk of other users affecting your site.
In addition, many advanced hosting solutions come with full root access, which means you can configure your server exactly the way you want to. This is best suited to skilled users who want to implement their own security solutions, but it’s also great for companies with an in-house digital security team.
5. Backups are a must
Finally, some web hosting providers commit the cardinal sin of not offering regular website backups. Backups are essential, as they save a copy of your website’s files and data, enabling you to restore the site if you come under attack or suffer technical issues.
We suggest looking for a hosting provider that offers regular automatic backups. Daily backups are the best, and it’s worth paying a few extra dollars a month for premium backup tools when they’re available.
Suppose you do suffer a security breach and lose access to your site or site data. In that case, your backup provides a fail-safe that will enable you to relaunch your site and access important data and other information that may have been otherwise lost.
The web hosting solution you go for can seriously affect the security of your website and any sensitive data associated with it. It’s essential to pay careful attention to a host’s security practices and select one that provides an adequate level of protection.
You can find a list of our favorite hosts in our guide to the best web hosting (opens in new tab) on the market today. You can find out more about the different types of web hosting (opens in new tab) and some leading web hosting cybersecurity concerns (opens in new tab).