How your hosting provider can affect WordPress site security

By: Mary Derosa

Date: 4 November 2019

Two female entrepreneurs set up their first business website with WordPress and choose a hosting provider.While WordPress itself is a secure platform backed by dedicated developers, security threats are always out there. Among the many different factors that impact your site’s security, hosting is one of the most important ones.

In this article, I’ll tell you how web hosting can affect site security, and which providers are the safest options on the market.

The basics of web hosting

Web hosting provides you with space on a server where you can store the data that makes up your site. You’re responsible for building and maintaining your site; meanwhile, the hosting provider, at the very least, makes sure that your site is accessible.

There are some other factors you should look out for:

  • Uptime score - or the percentage of time when a hosting server is live. The rule of thumb is to never go below 99%.
  • Ease of use - most providers use the industry-standard cPanel for hosting management. However, some have their own custom-made control panels, which might provide a better user experience for you, depending on your needs.
  • Technical support - you should opt for a hosting provider whose technical support is both knowledgeable and accessible. It’s best if they’re available online 24/7.
  • Security features - this involves everything from being able to get an SSL certificate to malware protection and regular server back-ups.
  • Price - make sure that the listed features are what you actually need, and that you’re not overpaying for them.

Try to look up some online testimonials. It’s always good to consider the experiences of your fellow webmasters when making a choice.

Many types of web hosting

Different hosting providers and hosting types are protected by different security measures. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each one.

Shared hosting

This is the go-to option when you’re starting out. As the name implies, you share a server and its resources - such as bandwidth and CPU power - with other sites.

While it’s affordable, be aware of the main risk - the noisy neighbour effect. If multiple sites are experiencing a high traffic surge and using up bandwidth, your site might become slower. Or, if a site gets compromised, the threat may affect your site as well.

If shared hosting is what you need, you might want to choose a provider such as Bluehost that places emphasis on security.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting

With a VPS, you’re still sharing a server, but you don’t need to share any resources. Each partition has its own dedicated resources. Servers that threaten to compromise a VPS server are very rare, and if they do occur, they’re unlikely to affect multiple sites on one server.

Normally, it’s the novice VPS users themselves that end up leaving their sites with security holes, because of a lack of technical knowledge. Unlike shared hosting, where the provider takes care of the back-end, VPS hosting offers much more control over your online project, but does have a higher barrier for entry.

If you need a VPS, consider a provider like Hostinger that comes equipped with DDoS protection, custom monitoring tools, and many other security measures.

Dedicated server hosting

When using dedicated server hosting, the whole physical server is yours alone, hence the name. If everything is set up by a team of experts, the chances of getting compromised are slim.

Considering the high price tag, people choosing this type will most likely be able to afford a maintenance team and security expert. Providers such as Hostgator offer great uptime, unlimited bandwidth, and security practices.

Managed WordPress hosting

Normally, you need to install WordPress and set it up yourself, before looking after the site’s maintenance, themes, and plugins.

You can be free of those tasks if you use managed WordPress hosting, because everything is done for you. Not to mention, the server architecture is specifically designed for a better and safer WordPress experience. If things ever go south, trained experts will always be ready to back you up.
What’s more, you can run this service on either of the three types of hosting mentioned earlier. However, sometimes it prevents you from installing plugins that are considered suspicious, which might limit your customization options.

Look for a provider with value-added features such as a custom-designed dashboard, great performance statistics and strong security, like Kinsta.

Which option is the most secure?

At the end of the day, it all depends on what you need. If you are a beginner and your site requires no heavy maintenance, shared hosting is a great way to save and get started on your project ASAP. As long as you follow basic WordPress security practices, you can keep risk to a minimum.

For sites with more to lose (high traffic, sensitive data, reputation), VPS and dedicated hosting are better options. Just make sure that you have the necessary knowledge or assistance to make the system work, especially for the latter.

If you don’t want to deal with the technical side of running a site, managed WordPress hosting might be the best solution. But remember that the convenience will cost you.

Regardless of the type, pick a hosting provider with high uptime, good security measures, and knowledgeable customer support. Make sure you get what you need, and what you pay for.

Copyright 2019. Featured post made possible by Mary Derosa, passionate blogger and the chief editor at her own content marketing company PRable.com

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