How to Test the Security of Your Web Hosting Service
If you are about to create a business website, you have probably already researched how to find the best web hosting company. However, the variety of web hosting services available out there all differ in terms of the features, services, price, and security they offer. So, to get the most bang for your buck, you need to make sure you look into all these aspects - including security.
What Types of Web Hosting Providers Can You Choose From?
While there are several types of web hosting providers, the most popular ones are shared hosting and dedicated hosting. It’s also worth considering monthly web hosting like this from Domain Name Sanity if this is your first website since you’ll have the flexibility to move around.
Shared hosting refers to hosting that bundles several websites together. Shared hosting services are a cheap and convenient option for beginners. However, if you choose a shared hosting provider, be aware that you’re going to share resources - bandwidth, disk space, database, and storage - with others on one server.
Dedicated hosting means that you will be in complete control of your hosting environment - quite the opposite of shared web hosting. Dedicated hosting allows you to rent a web server from a hosting company and enjoy all of the resources it offers, without having to share it with others but it comes with a lot more self-management.
Bear in mind that the different types of web hosting providers offer you a different level of security. Therefore, if the security of a web hosting provider is important to you make sure to pay more for a dedicated hosting provider, instead of choosing a shared hosting which may be a potential risk to your website.
Web Hosting Security Checklist
Before choosing a web hosting service, make sure that it offers you the following security options.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it provides the encrypted path between the web server and browser. If the website uses an SSL certificate, the website will start with https:// instead of http://. There’ll also be a locked padlock on the address bar. Some sites decide not to have an SSL certificate, because they’d have to pay extra for the service. But, if you are an e-commerce website, then the SSL certificate is necessary because you will need a higher level of security. There are also many web hosting providers which offer this service for free if you choose them. The SSL certificate will protect your users’ information and prevent stealing sensitive information such as credit cards and bank numbers, and other identity data.
There is a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for uploading files to your hosting account. The FTP lets you simply drag the files, upload and publish to your account. An SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) enables you to do the same thing, providing you additional protection. FTP itself is fairly secure, however, it doesn’t provide you complete security. For that reason, it’s good to use SFTP as well, as it will depose any possibility of your files being compromised.
The web host company you choose should provide regular maintenance to the server, which is key to keeping it safe and secure. That will allow you to lower the chances of attack to an absolute minimum. Therefore, when choosing a web hosting service, check whether they have a security protocol and whether they regularly provide upgrades.
Backups are an essential step in protecting your website against attacks and malware. While a backup wouldn’t do much if an attack happens, it will save much (ideally all) of your information. Many web hosting providers offer a tool which you can use to backup your website once in a while. You can do this on your own just by accessing the control panel. The web host companies also do backups of their servers. When choosing a web host company, check where they store their backups and what methods do they use.
●Antivirus and Malware Scans
The web host you are going to choose should provide you with some precautionary steps to protect your website from malware with antivirus scans. Check whether the web host provider scans your website and gives you insight via reports, whether it helps you identify malware and whether it offers any help in removing it. Having your hosting provider’s support when dealing with these issues can be a real life-saver in plenty of stressful situations.
To sum up, there are two types of web hosting providers you can choose from: shared and dedicated web hosting. While a shared web hosting plan is cheaper, the dedicated web hosting offers you higher security. Choosing between the two largely depends on the type of information you are going to store on your website. If your website is an e-commerce site, we definitely advise lowering the risk of getting attacked by investing in a dedicated server beforehand.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.