It’s important to understand that most modern “Cloud Hosting” is actually shared hosting but with a fancy twist. Hosting companies often configure their dedicated or VPN servers to sell shared hosting to their clients. So, unless you operate your own VPS or dedicated server, chances are you’re on shared hosting.
Before we delve into this question: “Is shared web hosting secure?”
Let’s lay some groundwork on shared hosting and more
- Dedicated hosting: In this type of hosting, a single physical server is dedicated to running only one website. No other site shares this server. It runs all the apps and resources dedicated to that one website. If other websites on the server are hacked your website remains unaffected.
- Shared hosting: The server runs multiple websites by sharing the operating system, memory, processor cores, and hard disk storage. There are no hard divisions between the websites.
- VPS hosting: This is becoming increasingly popular. One physical server runs multiple virtual private servers (VPS) each with its OS. These unique servers can also have different specs as far as processor speeds, memory, and storage. This separation has security benefits since it can be difficult for hackers to map out one VPS to another.
Are there any security concerns regarding shared hosting?
Some people have voiced concerns over the security of shared hosting. They assert that if one of the sites on the same server is hacked, then hackers can compromise the other sites as well if not the entire server’s contents.
That means installing protections on just one website might not be sufficient to protect the rest against unauthorized intrusions by hackers.
Here are 4 security concerns of using shared hosting services:
- Shared IP address
Furthermore, with shared hosting, it usually means that all websites share the same IP address. You’ll run into problems if any other website is involved in bad practices such as sending spam emails or hosting illegal content. This could cause your website to be blacklisted, blocked, or downgraded in search engine rankings.
2. Vulnerabilities from cyber-intruders
Hackers are experts. The way they intrude into a server is via open ports. Once access is gained the hacker proceeds to, identify and map out the different services that run on the server usually using a UNIX program map is often used to do this. By their very nature, shared hosting servers have several open ports since they are hosting multiple sites.
There have also been concerns that shared hosting servers can tend to suffer from a performance lag given they host hundreds or even thousands of sites on the same server. There are also limits to the number of server resources available given all the sites are competing for the same.
Additionally, if one website experiences an unusual spike in traffic, this can slow down the rest of the sites!
4. Shared network-facing services
Since shared servers also share network resources, the chances of a breach are significantly higher. This includes access to webmail, databases, FTP services, and even available ports.
How to achieve security in a shared hosting environment
Shared hosting environments can make computers susceptible to attacks from both local and foreign adversaries. This includes malicious unintended traffic (DdoS attacks). Here are some ways of attaining security:
Network firewalls can guards against vulnerabilities of a shared hosting environment. With the right hardware and software, firewalls can be positioned as a barrier between shared hosting servers and the Internet thus offering valuable protection
According to ExpressVPN, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an “encrypted tunnel between two devices that lets you access every website and online service privately and securely.
A VPN encrypts your data when it’s traveling from point A to Point B thus offering much-needed protection against hackers and other malicious intruders.