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Important security questions to ask your web hosting company

Important security questions to ask your web hosting company

The main issues faced by websites and blogs that hinder normal operation include malware, file system permission issues on shared servers, etc. Most of these issues are caused by the web hosting company that can put the website at risk.

It’s a good idea to be equipped with knowledge to help you discover if your web host may be putting your website and data at risk and if the risk can be avoided or mitigated. If not, it’s important to make a timely decision to switch to another hosting company.

Choosing a secure web hosting company depends on a variety of factors. However, if you already have a hosting company, here are some questions you can ask them to make sure your website is secure:

Version history of infrastructure elements such as CPanel, operating system, Caching technology, PHP, phpMyAdmin and MySQL:

The distribution of responsibilities between the site owner and the hosting provider is pretty organized, as long as you make an effort to understand it. The important thing to know is that the web host is actually responsible for numerous tasks related to your website or blog. Just you managing the security aspects of the website is not enough, as the web host must perform its role efficiently or the security risk prevails.

You should primarily check the versions of infrastructure elements to rule out older versions with security vulnerabilities. This exposes all clients of the web hosting provider to hackers and therefore data theft.

Also, if the company you’re dealing with is still running an older version but with retroactive security fixes, you can be sure of its security. Backported fixes refer to more recent security fixes made to earlier software releases, so the security parameters are on par with current requirements.

On your end, you should keep track of the latest themes, plugins, and core, and also keep track and make sure that any remaining software on your web host’s site is up to date.

Are the individual hosting accounts independent of each other or can they read files in other accounts on the same server?

It has been observed on numerous occasions that some hosting providers do not isolate accounts from each other and there is always the possibility of one account reading the data of the other. This is a huge security threat if a fraudulent party gets an account with the same provider, they can access and misuse peer data.

Cases have arisen where the attacking account reads the address, username and password of the database server using wp-config.php files from other accounts on the same server. The attacker then creates an administrator account and uses the target website at the whim and fancy of his malicious intent.

A good hosting provider will keep all accounts separate and other users on the server will not be able to access your account. This is one of the main clarifications that you should take from your hosting provider in order to maintain security.

Duration and availability of server logs?

Another important question to ask your hosting provider is whether your server logs are available and the duration for which you can access them. Server logs allow an effective and conclusive investigation in case the website is attacked. The problem arises when the affected site does not have access to the server logs or the logs are kept for a period short enough to serve no purpose. This makes it impossible to determine the reason or point at which the website was compromised.

A good hosting plan will offer instant access to all logs within the last 24 hours on the server if they need to be retrieved and the best hosting provider will offer archiving capability for up to 30 days.

If the site is being backed up, how it is being backed up and how long the backup files will be retained:

It is very important to ask web hosting provider whether the website is being backed up and how long the records are kept. Backups are the fastest way to restore a hacked website. A good website backup will help you not to be affected by the hacking attack. Quick access to backups saves time, money and effort. As part of your debriefing, you should first check if the hosting provider is backing up the website and for how long they are retaining it. You also need to know where it is stored.

Entry level hosting plans often keep you unaware of what the hosting company is doing about it. Some companies may not do any backup at all, so you should be careful with such providers.

If the current plan allows to enable HTTPS?

It is very important to log in to a website using a secure connection and if your website still does not allow this then you should fix this as soon as possible. In the absence of a secure connection, attackers can track network traffic, gain access to username and password, and gain full control of the website.

Https also helps you rank higher in search engines and protects the data you register through forms and checkouts. It is strongly recommended to switch to https if you haven’t already.

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