Security is paramount when it comes to your website. After all, it is one of your biggest business assets so it makes sense to protect it, just as you would protect your actual company building or your home. That’s why choosing a host that has security measures in place is the best choice for your website. Without those security features, the server that hosts your website is susceptible to an attack which makes your website vulnerable, too.
Here is a checklist that will help you determine whether your web hosting is secure or not.
Check if Your Host Has SFTP
Every host has an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) which allows you to upload your website’s files to the server. Although this protocol is very common in web hosting servers, its security is not guaranteed. The better option for this is to have the SFTP, which is known as Secure File Transfer Protocol. The good thing about SFTP is that it has a higher level of protection as compared to the usual FTP that only has one layer of security for the server. Ask your web host if they have SFTP. If they do, then that web host is most likely a secure one.
Don’t Allow Unknown Users for Your FTP Usage
As stated above, FTP is used for uploading files. In order to keep your web server secure, you have to make sure that unknown users cannot access your FTP to upload files. Allow only authorized users to have access when uploading the files. You can disable the anonymous use of FTP in your hosting cPanel or dashboard by deselecting the options “Allow Anonymous Uploads” and “Allow Anonymous Logins” so that no one else, except the authorized personnel, can have access to the server.
Make Use of a Firewall
Firewalls are great for preventing hackers and attackers from getting into your web server. It’s the first line of defense in case attackers try to access the server. You have to make sure that your web server has a Firewall so that it can be protected from any unwanted activities. If your web host doesn’t mention a firewall, inquire about the possibility of installing one. Firewalls can filter out unauthorized logins and prevent them from getting in.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Changing passwords is a pretty obvious method to keep your server safe and it is indeed one of the most effective techniques. This will make it harder on hackers to access to your website, especially if you use a strong password consisting of letters, numbers, and special characters. Although many attackers use scripts and bots to sit there and try to break your password for hours, they will have a much harder time if your password is not easily guessed. This will buy you some time to put up other security measures in case you notice someone trying to break in.
Make Your Passwords Hard to Guess!
As we mentioned above, hard to guess passwords are another obvious, yet often taken for granted method. Most people keep their passwords short so that they won’t forget it. While practical, this is a bad practice because if your password is too easy, then any attacker can gain access to it using simple hacking tools. The key here is to make sure that your password is long and is made out of numbers, letters that are case sensitive, and symbols. That way, you can make sure that your server is well-protected at the onset.
Use a Dedicated Server
Shared hosting is great when you’re first starting out, but if your website is starting to grow as well as your business, consider investing in a dedicated or managed server. Those usually come with more security features and if you get a managed server, then you will have a whole team of dedicated specialists who monitor the server for any possible security breaches and prevent them from escalating.
It is a more expensive option but consider it a business investment that will protect your data and keep it secure. It certainly pays off more in the long run.
Secure Your Configuration Files
If you’re using a content management system for your website, such as WordPress or Drupal, be aware of the configuration files which hold sensitive information. If hackers manage to break into your server, they may gain access to all the configuration files and have access to your password, database information, and other confidential data stored in those files. Secure them by keeping them outside of the root folder on your server or by changing the permissions on the file so that they cannot be read or modified.
Install an Anti-Virus in your cPanel
Even your web server is prone to viruses since it is still on the web. Block viruses by installing an anti-virus in your cPanel. This will help protect your server from all the malicious software or viruses that would want to enter. One of the best anti-viruses for web servers is ClamAV, but there are others on the internet that you may want to try out. Also, keep your anti-virus updated on a regular basis as newer versions often have better protection features against equally newer and stronger viruses.
Watch Out for Rootkits
Rootkits are little virus-like programs that can creep into your server. Rootkits are unique in a sense that they can easily be missed by many anti-virus programs until it’s too late. Rootkits are tricky little things that are equally dangerous as the high-level viruses. The only way to deal with rootkits is to install a special rootkit scanner that can scan for these programs and also rid the server of these threats.
Backup All of Your Data
Even if you thoroughly protect your server from attackers, you can’t always protect it 100% at all times. There is always a chance that some hacker may be able to get through by luck. And sometimes, the server crashes which can result in complete data loss. The point is, you can never tell when things might go wrong. In order to prepare for the worst, you have to make sure that all of your data has already been backed up. That way, you can still save all of your information and still keep your website running under a different web host.
Choose a secure host for your website
Maintaining a website is never easy, especially since you also have to deal with a web host which is out of your control. Even if you don’t have full control over your host, you can still make sure that you protect your server by implementing the tips above. You will protect your server from hackers and bots, as well as prevent potential threats at an early stage. Securing your server is indeed a tedious task, but once you pull off the necessary actions, the end results are surely worth the effort.