Most people would be slightly concerned if they had to spend a bus journey seated next to a sniffling, sneezing, clearly contagious individual. They certainly wouldn’t invite them back to bed. And yet, many people seem completely cavalier about entrusting their server needs to a shared server without considering how they can minimize their security risks. The current media attention on cloud computing makes it seem as if this is the next big thing, but the security concerns that are present in cloud computing and shared web hosting should not be ignored. That’s not to say that shared web hosting is always a bad idea – it has many positives and savvy users can always find ways to make web hosting on a shared server safe and secure.
While dedicated servers guarantee complete use of all the resources of their server, users can have a degree of this assurance while taking advantage of the low cost of shared hosting. Virtual Private Servers (VPS), offer dedicated file space on a machine while only sharing RAM and CPU. Alternatively a cloud system can provide users with the security of knowing that no matter how popular their website becomes they will never suffer downtime because of it.
Shared servers may have all users using the same file system such that a problem with the file system of one user can affect other users. Users who are worried about a particularly vulnerable website being hosted on the same server might want to consider a VPS system. This server option mitigates this danger by partitioning the servers and allowing different users to keep their file systems separate.
The most important thing that any user can do to ensure that their data and sites are safe and secure is to thoroughly research their hosting provider. Even dedicated servers, which pride themselves on security and reliability, can be compromised by negligent or incompetent hosting staff.
With both shared servers and VPS systems users must be completely confident in the knowledge, professionalism and security systems put in place by their provider. No matter how safe and secure an individual user may try to make their part of the system, they are still, in essence, operating through a third party. The best shared web hosting providers will provide the latest and most-up to date development tools so that users an take advantage of up-to-date security tools.
Quality providers of shared hosting will make sure to keep their security software up to date so that their users do not become the victims of malicious attacks and infiltration. Happily there are many such providers operating such that users can easily find security and value for money from the same provider.