Secure Hosting: Admins must be aware of these aspects

Whether webspace package, own server or cloud solution: Security plays a big role in web hosting. With the product selection the hosting customer determines essential aspects. On the other hand, he has no influence on the security of the data center. It is all the more important to find a reliable hosting partner. Sven Hähle shows in our “Theme Week Cloud and Hosting” which aspects of admins have to pay attention to.

If you are looking for a hosting solution for an Internet project, you often first compare storage space, database and programming functions. Although these are important criteria for product selection, security aspects rather determine how practical a hosting solution is. The best server is of no use if it is unavailable, and the fastest hard drive is money thrown out should data be lost.

Overview: Four security areas

Security in webhosting concerns four areas – one can also say: four levels. At the top of the list is the security of the data centers that the hosting provider must guarantee. These include building security, fail-safe power supply and air conditioning, to which the hosting customer has no influence. The second area is the security of the network at the provider, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems – the defense system against cyber attacks of various kinds. Again, you have to trust the hoster. Level three is product safety. This includes backups, operating system and software updates and system monitoring measures – as a result, service and support. Product safety is controllable by the customer by selecting the right product and using it properly. That’s why it’s the focus of this article.

Focus: product safety

As different as the hosting products are, so are their security features. Shared hosting offers fewer customer-manageable security options than a dedicated root server, and virtual server security properties are different from those in the cloud. But there are also similarities: aspects of product security that apply to all hosting variants. These include regular backups because they are the best way to prevent data loss.

Backups of files and databases

For virtual and dedicated servers, the backup of files usually takes place by means of File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to a server-independent storage space, which provides the provider. Depending on whether it is a managed server or a root server, setting up and controlling the FTP backup is more or less the responsibility of the hosting provider or the customer. How much space is available depends on the chosen hosting product. Often several tens to several hundred gigabytes are included, more backup space costs extra. But there are also server offers where the customer has to pay for backups right from the start. Automatic backups are the standard, but additional manual backups do not offer any hosting solution. These are necessary, however

Even with shared hosting, backups of the webspace content are possible – at least for professional offers. For example, “BackupControl” from Strato secures the webspace data daily at 8, 16 and 24 o’clock. If necessary, the customer can restore the situation at a specific point in time during the last three days, or resort to a weekly backup of the past four weeks. A similar system offers 1 & 1: “Webspace Recovery” restores the backups of the last six days.

In addition to file backups, database backups are very important because database content changes quickly. These are regulated differently by each hoster: For example, they can be controlled by Hostnet via the administration tool “easyTECC”, while Goneo and other providers recommend the free tool “MySQLdumper”, which the customer first has to install on his webspace.

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