Impact of Web Hosting on Website Security
When you’re running an online business, website security is critical. And while WordPress offers a robust and secure platform for building your website, the kind of web hosting you decide to go with still plays a big role in securing your website from bad actors and other vulnerabilities.
As you probably already know, not all web hosts are created equal. Cost is a big factor in this distinction: There are packages that range from ultra-cheap up to astronomically expensive. And the features of these hosting packages—especially security—vary as much as the cost.
So how do you know the web host you choose has the security features you need to make sure your website is safe? Read on to find out.
Your Choice of Web Hosting is Critical
It’s not difficult to find two web hosts that appear to offer the same kind of plan at the same price. Plenty of these hosts won’t advertise their security features up front and so most people end up focusing on things like bandwidth, disk space, and offers like free domains. But focusing only on these metrics can be a mistake.
Considering it’s the security and performance of your online business at stake, there’s no excuse for overlooking important security features when you’re choosing your web host.
Not All Hosting Plans are Created Equal
These days, you can get website hosting for the cost of a cup of coffee. And while that’s an appealing price point, it’s important to understand the distinction between low-cost hosting and the more expensive options.
Many of the most affordable hosting plans utilize shared hosting. Unless otherwise stated, the term web hosting is typically synonymous with shared hosting. This is essentially putting several websites onto a single web server. While it’s an extremely affordable option, there are hidden costs.
For starters, sharing your website on a server with other websites means that any actions the administrators of these other websites take can potentially affect your website.
Secondly, shared hosting tends to be hands-off, so you may have to white longer for security updates and patches. More over, if your website is attacked, you may have to wait longer than you like, since priority support is usually reserved for high-tier plans.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual private servers are much more expensive than shared hosting. They’re also much more complicated to configure and maintain. That said, a VPS gives you total control of your own server, so you’re free to configure it to your specific needs.
Virtual private servers can be extremely secure, but there’s a caveat: Much of that security becomes your responsibility since you’re in charge of the configuration. Depending on your website and business needs, this can turn into a full-time job.
Managed hosting is a solution that bridges the gap between shared hosting and running your own server. Security features still vary depending on which host you use, so it’s important to do your homework, but managed hosting can potentially offer the same benefits of your own server without the headache.
Rather than offering as many configurations and features as possible, managed hosting takes a more hands-on approach. Software updates and security patches are applied regularly, and a dedicated support staff is there to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Moreover, this solution is usually tailored to a specific type of website. This is extremely beneficial for websites running on a specific platform that need a more specialized approach.
For example, WPAssist specializes in WordPress hosting, so everything from how the servers are configured to what security and firewall rules are applied are considered with WordPress in mind.
By now, it’s clear that there’s more going on to web hosting than the features that are regularly bandied around by hosting companies. If you’re shopping for a web host with security in mind, you need to be diligent. There are a few key security features that can make or break a hosting provider.
Firewalls are the first line of defense against hackers and bad actors. They aren’t foolproof, but a website without a firewall is simply asking for trouble.
Scanning and Monitoring
Monitoring and scanning for malware and suspicious activity is the next line of defense in maintaining the integrity of your website. Because of the fluid nature of the internet, it’s critical that your web host performs regular scans on their servers, network, and website installations to ensure your website stays secure.
SSL Certificates are an absolute must for any website. SSL certificates ensure the communication between your visitors’ web browser and your website is encrypted. It’s so important that Google penalizes websites that don’t have it. Surprisingly, there are still web hosts that don’t include SSL with their more affordable plans.
No amount of security is bulletproof, so without reliable and consistent backups, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. The last line of defense for secure web hosting is to make sure you always, always have a backup of your website so you don’t lose information in a worst-case scenario.
There are ways that you can back up your website yourself, such as with a WordPress plugin, but the best approach is to make sure your web host is managing this on their end. You want to ensure the host you choose offers a cloud backup service and stores these backups at a secure location offsite. Should anything happen to their infrastructure, your site will be safe and protected.
An Expert Support Team
In the course of running your online business, you will inevitably need to contact your web host for help. An expert support team makes life a lot easier when you’re forced to deal with the many issues that might come up from time to time. But if your website is under attack, having experts to help keep your business safe is invaluable.
Like a phone or internet provider, you’ll be doing business with your web host for a long time to come. You want to make sure their services will provide your business with the best possible security. And if you’re shopping for a web host that takes security seriously, read about WPAssist’s security lockdown for keeping your business safe.
The impact of web hosting on website security can be a complicated topic, but if you follow this guide and focus on the features mentioned, you’ll do yourself a lot of good and potentially save yourself a lot of grief later on.
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