There are a lot of factors that can impact your website’s security, from re-using passwords to setting incorrect file permissions. However, even when you do everything right, if your web hosting provider doesn’t take security seriously then your website may still be vulnerable.
As you might imagine, not all web hosts offer the same level of service. Some web hosting companies are faster, more expensive, or provide more features. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a web host that offers a high degree of security out of the box, so you can focus on other aspects of running your site.
In this article, we’re going to break down several ways your choice of web host can impact your site’s security, so you know exactly what to look out for. Let’s get right to it!
Why your choice of web host is crucial
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that web hosts aren’t interchangeable.
You can easily find two (or more) hosts with similar price points that offer the same types of plans. However, every hosting provider provides different features, varying levels of technical support and performance, and so on.
A lot of people look at price as the defining factor when it comes to choosing a web host. However, these days you have a lot of options for budget hosting that still offer a fantastic level of service. So there’s no excuse not to spend some time doing a little research, in order to find the best option for your website’s needs.
Ideally, you’ll want to compare the prices and features of various hosts, and look at as many user reviews and ratings as possible. Some web hosts, such as SiteGround and Kinsta, tend to get excellent ratings across the board. Bluehost, on the other hand, doesn’t have great reviews despite its popularity.
So it’s important to do your homework and know what you’re looking for.
3 reasons your choice of web host (and plan) affects your website’s security
At this point, you may be wondering what to look for in a web host. As we’ve discussed, there are plenty of factors that matter, such as pricing, support, and performance.
However, one of the most easily-overlooked but vital criteria for any web host is security. The provider you choose can have a significant impact on the safety of your website and its users’ information. Here are three reasons why that’s the case.
1. Not all hosting plans are equally secure
Some types of hosting plans, such as those that provide access to shared servers, are inherently less secure than others.
When you share a server with many other users, that means their actions can have an impact on your website. If your provider doesn’t take steps to make sure its servers are properly configured, that can cause you a lot of headaches down the road.
If you can spare the budget for it, we recommend opting for a Virtual Private Server (VPS) over shared hosting whenever possible. With a VPS, you get access to dedicated resources just for your website. Plus, your site will be safely isolated from other users, even if you share the same physical server.
These days, it’s not uncommon to find VPSs that start at similar price points to shared hosting plans. They can also be easy to use, even if you don’t have any server management experience. If you’re concerned about safety, it’s the minimum level of hosting you’ll want to consider.
2. Different web hosts offer various security features
It’s fair to say that some web hosts simply take website security more seriously than others. As a customer, it’s your job to look out for providers that offer features to help you keep your site safe. These might include:
- Built-in firewalls – Websites get ‘hacked’ all the time, so secure providers keep an eye out for intrusion attempts on your website and block suspicious traffic to it.
- Security logs – In case something goes wrong, you’ll want to have access to detailed activity logs that tell you if anyone got into your website, when it happened, and what changes they made.
- Security scans and vulnerability monitoring – Even with heightened security, sometimes attackers can slip past your defences. With regular security and vulnerability scans, you’ll make sure that when something does go wrong, you can take steps to fix it right away.
- Malware removal – It’s rare to find, but some web hosts such as Kinsta and WPX Hosting will clean up malware for you. And that’s included in the cost.
When it comes to security, you also want access to a support team that knows what they’re doing. It’s not fun to deal with hosting support specialists who have no idea how to deal with security issues or how to respond appropriately if your website gets attacked.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to evaluate the quality of a hosting provider’s support unless you’re already a customer.
Once more, your best option is to rely on other users’ experiences, which means you’ll want to read reviews and look out for descriptions of how the provider responds to threats and hacking attempts.
3. Some web hosts don’t offer automatic website backups
Perhaps the best way to keep your website safe is to back it up regularly. The best web hosting providers understand this. That’s why you often see daily backups listed as features on popular plans:
Regular backups mean that if anything does go wrong with your website – whether it’s an error on your end or a security breach, you can return your site to an earlier state with only a few clicks.
The alternative often involves hours of work trying to identify vulnerabilities, patching them, and dealing with the aftermath.
There are a lot of ways you can manually back up a website. However, the ideal approach is to automate the process with a WordPress backup plugin. Having your web host take care of it is even better because they can keep those backups safe in a third-party location, so you’ll always have access to them no matter what happens.
If everything goes well, you’re going to be working with the same hosting provider for a while. Some of them charge for multiple years of service upfront, so you’ll want to make sure you sign up for a service that takes your security seriously.
There are a lot of factors that can impact your site’s security. When evaluating web hosts, here are three of the most important aspects you’ll need to consider:
- What types of plans they offer.
- Which built-in security features they include.
- How they manage website backups.
Related Reading: 8 Quick Ways To Secure Your WordPress Website.