Web hosting is experiencing its golden age, with more and more businesses opting for e-commerce platforms. According to Shopify’s data, e-commerce is expected to grow by 5% in 2023, continuing the trend amplified by the Covid-19 lockdown.
However, the rapid shift to the virtual poses security challenges. Verizon reports that 43% of data breaches involved web application attacks in 2020. Businesses or individual site owners now expect web hosting providers to include cybersecurity features in their plans.
Here’s what you should know if you want to provide a secure and competitive web hosting service.
Most Common Web Hosting Cyberthreats
You should follow general guidelines for overall online safety, but here we’ll overview cyber threats specific to web hosting. You will find specific safety tips in the following chapter. Here are the most common web hosting cyber threats:
● SQL injection (SQLi). This highly sophisticated cyber attack can inject malicious code into your backend database to modify its functions. It allows cybercriminals to see, modify, or steal user data.
● Cross-site scripting (XSS). Similarly to SQL injections, this attack injects malicious code into a trusted website. An attacker sends a malicious script that is executed by a victim’s browser because it comes from a trusted source.
● DDoS attacks. An extremely popular cyber attack that floods the server with queries (often coming from a bot network), overloading it.
Other cyber threats include path traversal, XML external entity, and local file inclusion attacks. However, the list is not exhaustive because new cyber-attacks are emerging at a troubling pace.
Web Hosting Security Tips
Web hosting security includes software, hardware, and physical security. Let’s start with the most simple steps.
1. Physical Server Security
Most web hosting servers live at a data center. Your chosen data center should ensure that physical access to servers is granted only to authorized personnel. Furthermore, server rooms should be watertight and fireproof and include earthquake protection if the location is at risk. Lastly, it should have automatic generators in case of a power outage. Even a short website downtime can cause significant financial damage to e-commerce businesses.
2. SSL Certificate
Currently, 95% of websites indexed by Google use HTTPS protocol. It applies SSL encryption to online communication, protecting website visitors from data leaks. Moreover, most browsers now mark websites without SSL encryption as insecure, and Google ranks them lower on its SERP, reducing the traffic. Very few will use a web hosting service provider that does not issue SSL certificates. Getting one is easy. For example, you can even get free SSL certificates from IT giant Cloudflare which specializes in mitigating many risks associated with website hosting.
3. Additional Cybersecurity Software
Because there are so many various cyber attacks, there’s a variety of cybersecurity software to consider.
Firstly, use a Web Application Firewall (WAF). It will inspect and filter all incoming traffic allowing legitimate requests and blocking malicious ones. Almost all WAFs provide DDoS protection and block SQLi and XSS attacks solving the most common cyber threat problem.
As a web hosting provider, you most likely use Cloud storage. If you store confidential client or client’s website information on a Cloud, ensure it uses the strongest encryption algorithms to secure this data. Cloud provides easy access to information wherever you go, but does not exchange security for comfort.
Lastly, let’s say, for some reason, you can’t get an SSL certificate or work closely with HTTP websites. In this case, it would be best to use a Virtual Private Network that will provide additional encryption every time you communicate over an unencrypted protocol. Some VPNs even have extra protection features like threat protection that can help scan files for viruses.
4. Data Backups
Many knowledgeable users will go for another web hosting provider if you don’t provide automatic data backups. Servers occasionally fail, and if you don’t have a way to restore data on them, it could cause tremendous financial damage to both you and your client.
Make sure you have at least one copy of data that is kept offline to protect it from online cyber threats. Furthermore, ensure you have swift access to it because when servers fail, the last thing you want to do is go looking for a data backup.You can use Cloud services to store backups, but do not forget about the physical copy as well.
Securing your servers and a web hosting provider is of utmost importance because you deal with confidential information. Furthermore, insecure websites are ranked lower in search engines or may even be omitted from them. Luckily, many cybersecurity companies provide easy and affordable solutions, and we hope this article will help you implement them.