Damage prevention: separate the good hosting plans from the rest

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Identity theft, defacing, malicious redirects, theft of bank details, are just some of the reasons why web hosting security is essential for your website. Security should be a key concern of any web hosting service. Any lapses will not only result in financial losses but also tarnish credibility.

Risks in Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is an economical option for web hosting wherein multiple websites are stored on a single server. It is ideal for small businesses and blogs that generate less traffic. But it does have its own set of pros and cons. Being economical in nature, Shared Hosting users have to deal with certain security challenges that could make their websites and business more susceptible to threats:

Directory Traversal – Often known as ‘path traversal’ attacks. It allows the user to access files and directories that are stored outside the web root. In other words, by using simple commands and an incorrectly configured server, one can access sensitive files and folders of another user on the same server. Hence, it is critical to stop Directory Traversal in its tracks by speaking to your web host and inquiring about how they isolate users from each other in a Shared Hosting environment.

Language and Interpreter Based Attacks – PHP is a language that powers a large number of websites. Several websites still run on older versions of PHP, making them susceptible to attacks. Thus, you should ensure that your website operates on an updated version of PHP. Also ensure that your Shared Hosting provider allows you to install updates as and when they come in.

Command Injection – A hacker can enter an SQL code on a web page and gain unprecedented access to data or network resources. Malicious commands can then be executed in the computers of users who access that page. It can spread exponentially, to the networks of these computers and so on. Command Injection vulnerability can cost you a lot even if some other website on your Shared Hosting platform is affected by it.

Potential Security Issues in Dedicated Hosting Servers

Dedicated hosting lends higher control and customisations, and is slightly expensive. However, they are not completely insulated from cyber-attacks either. Some of the key security challenges to dedicated server hosting are:

Password Breach – With easy access to malicious scripts and spyware, hackers have become highly resourceful. Unfortunately, some dedicated server users do not implement a robust password policy. Without which, hackers can easily sneak into your dedicated servers and accounts with ease.

Denial of Service – DoS attacks cause server failure and unavailability. It does it by directing an overwhelming stream of traffic to the system. This causes wastage of hardware resources in your dedicated server and results in a negative experience for genuine visitors.

Malware – Malware is a code whose primary function is to disrupt server data or to steal it. It records important moves and copies confidential and sensitive data even on a dedicated server.

Redirects – Traffic from your website that is hosted on a dedicated server could also be redirected to a third party URL with the use of malware. It might tricks users to submit sensitive information such as credit card numbers, net banking passwords, etc.

The above-mentioned points are applicable to shared, dedicated as well as other types of hosting. Whichever hosting plan you choose, ensure that it is fortified with ample security measures.

Choose a hosting platform that meets your requirements and backs it up with comprehensive security measures.

<a href="http://twitter.com/zorzini">Catalin</a> is the founder of <a href="http://mostash.com/">Mostash</a> - a <a href="http://mostash.com/">social marketing boutique</a> - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.