Choosing a Web Host – Is Server Security Your Top Priority?

Your web host is critical to your website and online business – are you looking at the right things when considering a hosting service?

General Features & Pricing

Casual users usually focus on pricing and general features when searching for a web host. Some common questions they ask include:

  • Is this the cheapest web host in market?
  • How much does it cost if I upgrade later?
  • Does it allow unlimited email accounts?
  • How many domain names can I add to the same account?
  • How many data base can I have in one account?
  • How much storage do I get in the plan?
  • Can I install a forum apps in a few clicks?
  • Does it come with live chat support?

Hosting Performance

As Google and various marketing experts stressing over page load speed, advanced website owners tend to be asking a little more than these generic questions.

  • Is this hosting service reliable?
  • What is your uptime record for the past 12 – 18 months?
  • How fast is the server response?
  • What is the uptime guarantees?
  • Do I get to ask for a refund if the host goes down frequently?
“WPX is the fastest WordPress host…” according to Matthew’s test.

It’s no surprise that more and more companies are teaming up with key opinion leaders and use data to “sell” their products. WPX Hosting, for instance, work with high profile bloggers Matthew Woodward and SEO guru Matt Diggity, to run tests and brand themselves as the “best WordPress host” in market.

Marketers develop testing tools to help users measure hosting speed. Data from host monitoring systems and tool makers like Hrank, FreshPing, Pingdom, Hostscore, and WebpageTest is used in various “unbiased” hosting reviews to convince end users.

Then Comes Server Security …

Server security, sadly, comes down to an ignoble last place in the list.

Digital Ocean erased customer’s data and literally killed a startup company in May 2019. Hostinger servers were accessed by unknown third party and forced to reset millions of users’ password in August 2019.

We get breaking news on website owners data / privacy being compromised due to hosting provider’s operation loopholes every now and then.

Yet average consumers’ priorities remain unchanged –

  • What’s the cheapest plan in market?
  • Can I host unlimited domain in my account?
  • Can you load my website fast (so I can rank higher at Google)?

It’s scary that many security aspects in a web host are completley out of the website owner’s control. It’s even scarier when you see how little focus was given to server security.

Thing is – your web host security is not one of those “nice-to-have” features. It’s necessity. A host that doesn’t guarantee your website reliability and accessibility is a failed operation.

What is the point of building a website that you are not 100% sure that it’ll still be there tomorrow morning? What’s the point to create topnotch content when some of your users may not be able to access it because of server downtime and malware?

If you care about hosting security, these are the questions you should ask:

  • Is Let’s Encrypt SSL auto setup for my websites?
  • Does the web host handle SSL updates?
  • What is your back up policy?
  • How often is backup peformed?
  • How do I restore my website data?
  • Is there any mechanism to mitigate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack?
  • Do you implement firewall?
  • How often are your firewall rules reviewed and updated?

In the never-ending quest for the best web host, consumers are likely prioritise one thing over another. That’s okay – since we all have different websites have different needs. But the next time when you choose a new web host – it would be wise to also check out their security features.

Best Web Servers Your Organization Needs

Have you ever wondered what happens when you type in a Uniform Resource Identifier (commonly known as URL) or click on a search term? Most internet users never give it a thought.

If you run a website, it’s important to understand what a web server is, its functions, and benefits.

A web server is a program that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to deliver content or web pages to users who type your site’s URL or click on pages on your site. Web servers can serve hundreds of visitors clicking the same URL simultaneously.

Basically, anything you do such as downloading files, publishing blogs or opening emails are made possible because of web servers.

Here, we discuss the top 5 best web servers your organization needs.

The role of web server (image source: What is a web server).

1. Lighttpd

Developed and released in 2003 by Jan Kneschke, Lighttpd (pronounced – lighty), is lightweight and ideal for high load servers. It is optimized for faster performance in environments with heavy parallel connections. It’s also known for its low memory footprint, small CPU-load, and advanced features like SCGI and Auth.

2. LiteSpeed

If you’re looking for a combination of security, speed, and convenience, LiteSpeed has got you covered. With built-in anti-DDoS features, this web server lowers CPU and memory usage without affecting overall performance.

Its compatibility makes it the best choice if you want to replace Apache with zero downtime. It is integrated with CloudLinux and mod_security for maximum server protection. With LiteSpeed, you don’t need third-party caching. It simplifies the transition to Apache with one click.

3. Microsoft IIS

IIS is a product from Microsoft. Unlike other web servers, it’s not open source and has a rather complicated user-interface.

It works on all Windows platforms and offers more advanced security features. It uses ASP.NET Core application to serve web page requests to the end user. IIS focuses on flexibility and speed to ensure seamless operations in a fast-paced organization.

The current version IIS 10 has added functionality and features such as HTTP/2 protocol that lowers latency. It’s easily customizable and makes web applications management easy.

4. NGINX

NGINX comes in second place with over 30% of all websites using it. Igor Sysoev’s concept was to design a web server to handle 10,000 concurrent connections. Its popularity is driven by its scalability and high efficiency.

It utilizes minimal resources while managing heavy user loads. NGINX not only serves as a web server but as a mail proxy server and has a simple configuration interface

5. Apache web server

Apache is the most common open source web server today. Developed by the Apache Software Foundation, it supports most of the operating systems. It runs on over 60% of all websites.

Apache uses a simple modular structure that allows you to load extra modules for extended features and modifications. It’s trusted for its reliability and stability.

It can run on multiple platforms with ease and is able to handle a large number of requests. It also supports HTTP/2.

Conclusion

Before you select the best web server for your organization, you have to consider your requirements, cost, the size of traffic, and its capabilities. Customer support should also be a top priority. When you experience an issue, immediate response is of paramount importance.

Managed WordPress Hosting FAQ

1. What is Managed WordPress hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting was intended to be a concierge service where the host would provide hands-off WordPress installation and management for its users.

However, from what I see today, the term has loosened and grown to generally include web hosting which has extensive WordPress-specific features.

Managed WordPress hosting WP Engine catering the needs of WordPress developers.

2. What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?

This depends on the host you sign up with and can range from automated WordPress installations all the way to complete WordPress site management and service (including security audits, optimization and so on).

To summarize in a single phrase, I can say that it’s mainly for those who know that they will be using (and sticking to) the WordPress platform.

3. What are the Drawbacks of Managed WordPress Hosting?

Price. Almost without exception, Manged WordPress hosting sells at a premium above standard shared hosting service. The discrepancy might be as little as a few dollars to even ten times as much. Exactly how much the difference is depends on to what extent the WordPress service you sign up for is different.

$92/mo for a 10 WordPress site hosting.

4. Who would Benefit from Using Managed WordPress Hosting?

This is a broad and subjective question, but I would say for sure; small businesses, large volume sites, multi-site users.

All of these will benefit from manged WordPress hosting.

However, I would also say to a lesser extent, even regular WordPress users can reap the advantages, as long as they’re willing to put up with the price.

5. Can I Still Self-Install and Update Plugins and Themes?

Of course! Managed WordPress hosting is to help you in your process, not interfere with it. You can for sure install the stuff you want no matter which managed WordPress host you go with.

6. Must I run WordPress on my Managed WordPress Hosting?

Yes. Managed WordPress hosting’s entire purpose is to support and streamline the operations of WordPress sites specifically. While some features may benefit other types of applications, the overall intent is to focus on WordPress.

7. Is Managed WordPress Hosting Secure?

In general, there have been some concerns about the security of WordPress but that’s simply because it’s an application that is in such widespread use.

A managed WordPress hosting environment will in general help keep your WordPress up to date and hence, more secure. In many cases, the hosting provider will also help you monitor your tools and plugins for greater security as well.

8. Will my site be Faster?

Site speed depends on various factors, but in general, Manged WordPress accounts are optimized for running this application. As such it is likely to be faster than the average comparable WordPress site. To what extent, depends on individual optimizations of web hosts.