There's a story about a bloke who builds a house on sand. Not a good move. The other guy builds his house on a rock foundation, and he's the wise one, the chap with plenty of common sense. A website host is kind of similar. Host your website in a cheap, less than secure way and you'll save cash, but you'll leave your website in a vulnerable position. It's almost always a false economy.
What can happen when you don't have secure hosting? Oh, all sorts of horrid things. If you're concerned, or think you maybe should be, here are just a few of the things a properly-secure host will do for you.
Keeping your website online
You get a message saying your site is offline. And that means nobody can see it, or find it on Google. Your business might as well not exist. The message asks you to contact your hosting provider for details. It turns out your site has been suspended because your host has temporarily taken it offline.
It happens, often because of malware and sometimes because of a massive spam attack. Your host has to suspend your site to protect the other sites on the same server, as well as yours. It's your responsibility to keep your own site secure, of course, but a secure host makes a difference. Some experts (https://www.sitelock.com/blog/account-has-been-suspended) say websites experience an average of 59 attacks every day, more than 21,500 a year, so it isn't uncommon. In times like this it makes sense that the most secure hosts experience the fewest hacks.
Delivering an SSL Certificate to protect data
If you collect data or take payments of any kind via your site, you need to have an SSL certificate installed. If you let people's data fall into the wrong hands it can be disastrous, and you might even face legal action. An SSL certificate encrypts data as it’s transferred over the internet, making it more or less impossible to hack. It also gives your visitors reassurance that your site is safe and secure. In the past you only needed a secure website if you were in e-commerce and had a shopping cart. Now it's recommended for every kind of site.
There's more. Non-secure sites generate a clear browser message in Google saying 'not secure', which is off-putting for visitors. For brand equity reasons alone, secure hosting is well worth having. Google has confirmed that HTTPS is actually a ranking factor in their search algorithm, and research hints it might become an even stronger factor as time passes. They've also said that if there's a site with SSL and one without, and they both contain similar information, the site with SSL will appear above the other in the search results. In a world where everybody and their dog is adding SSL to their sites, not having one makes you look less than 100% professional.
Optimised servers and software
A good host will make sure your server and the software running on it is properly optimised and updated, and they should also offer you the tools you need to secure your website. The server will be properly configured to stop malicious intrusions, provide the best uptime possible, and be powerful enough in itself to deliver all the resources you need.
Protecting you from DoS and DDoS attacks
A denial of service attack happens when a hacker stops legitimate users from accessing a website by flooding servers, systems and networks with traffic. If a server crashes it can often be re-booted fairly easily, but a flooding attack can be trickier. Recovering from a distributed denial-of-service attack, where the bad traffic comes from multiple sources, can be a nightmare. The more secure your hosting, the less likely a DoS or DDoS attack is.
The biggest cyber attacks 2019... so far!
Hackers can place malware on your website that nobody can see, turn your computer into a zombie machine that carries out secret tasks while you're not using it, even grab personal data from the cloud – a disaster that's simply waiting to happen according to some experts. They can steal customer data to sell on to mischief makers, and they do it all the time. Pay for proper secure hosting, ideally based here in the UK, and you'll stay a lot safer from the type of recent cyber attacks 2019 has seen so far.
There are literally thousands of them in total, but here are some of the worst cyber attacks so far this year, all from March 2019 alone:
Zammis Clark, aged 24, pled guilty in a London Crown Court for hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo servers and stealing confidential information
Secur Solutions Group, with strong connections to Singapore’s Health Science Authority, admitted personal data from 800,000 blood donors was probably stolen
Toyota admitted information about 3.1 million Toyota and Lexus car owners was at risk when hackers got into the system at its head office in Japan
Kaspersky Lab said thousands of Asus computers had been infected with malware from a compromised version of a tool used to update them
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security admitted sensitive information about 2.5 million disaster survivors was at risk after accidentally sharing it with a contractor
Facebook admitted it kept the passwords of hundreds of millions of us on their servers without any encryption
The European Data Protection Board reported 56 million Euros in penalties, collected from more than 200,000 violations of the EU’s GDPR since May 2018
We do brilliantly secure hosting
Just because you're not as big as Microsoft or Toyota, it doesn't mean you're not at risk.
Automated bots try to attack sites constantly, they're at it every second of the day. So don't build your online house on sand, or mud, or anything else dodgy. Build it on rock, using a rock solid host you can genuinely trust to do the right thing every time.
We have a dedicated in-house Infrastructure Support team that operates and manages our very own hosting network across two UK locations. And that means we always deliver secure, high performance, resilient hosting solutions.
You can also read more about our secure hosting services here.