Top 9 Security Methods to Protect Your VPS Hosting
In this day and age, VPS Hosting and web hosting security is getting discussed almost everywhere, not only among the large-scale enterprises but the individuals with web presence too. And of course, for a better reason.
Cyber threats such as customer data loss, stolen personal and commercial information, and damaged site content are real and shouldn’t be ignored. In this post, we’ll come to grips with 9 different security methods regarding VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting where we have identified solutions to keep your VPS hosting more secure. Let’s have a look:
Top 9 Security Methods to Protect Your VPS Hosting
1. Use the Most-Recent Software Versions
Needless to say, your VPS remains vulnerable as long as you are using the older version of the software. So, it is necessary to use the latest software version which requires some clicks of your mouse to run the important updates for your operating system (OS).
Most probably, you’ll consider automating this procedure, and depending on your OS, you’ll most likely use yum/rpm or Ubuntu for CentOS and apt-get for Debian for performing the system updates. This can be automated by cron jobs which is a Linux-based utility responsible for scheduling a script or command on your VPS hosting for running at a defined time and date or via your control panel.
Apart from updating the server-side software, if you use any Content Management System (CMS), monitor the updates and install them as early as they become available.
2. Change Default SSH Login Password
Most of the VPS users use Secure Shell or SSH which is a procedure for remote computer-to-computer connection, for logging in to their servers.
The chances of brute-force attack increase if you use an SSH procedure to log in to your server. And when a brute-force attack performs, this normally indicates that somebody has tried to log in to your SSH using different common passwords. To prevent this, it is recommended to change the default SSH port 22 login password to an uncommon one. Strong and unique passwords usually comprise of a collection of upper and lower-case characters, non-alphanumeric characters, and digits.
For changing your default SSH login password, start by logging to your VPS hosting and find the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Then, change PermitRootLogin from the default YES to NO. You may consider using SSH key authentication in place of password authentication which happens to be more resistant to the brute-force attacks.
However, remember that when disabling the root logins without giving authorized access ahead of time, you may end up locking yourself out of your VPS hosting.
3. Configure Your Firewall
Getting rid of unwanted traffic is no more difficult when you have your firewall configured. Many Linux-based operating systems come with pre-installed firewalls (ufw, iptables, firewalld, DebianFirewall). For better management of iptables and integration of further control panels, install the free ConfigServer Firewall or CSF. This firewall configuration script provides better security for your VPS hosting together with giving you a modern, intuitive interface to manage your firewall settings.
And if you are looking for more security, ModSecurity can be added to your firewall to help you track the HTTP traffic, injections associated with your site database, code, etc. Irrespective of your choice of pre-installed firewall or personalized firewall, there will still be a need for configuring the following:
- Allowing/blocking access for some IP addresses
- Filtering the traffic that corresponds with patterns you have specified
- Defining a daily rule audit for keeping them relevant and including recent ones
- Closing ports that aren’t used for the scan prevention
- Performing updates to the current rules to prepare for upcoming security problems
4. Actively monitor VPS Hosting Logs
The management of your VPS server logs aids you in controlling whatever happens with your VPS. When you track your VPS systems and software, you’ll be prepared if any issue occurs.
Upon actively monitoring the traffic levels, events, user activity, resource usage, and software-generated issues. You’ll get ready to control all the issues that occurred. Even if its settling or preventing, being informed of the nature of issues that occurred will help in solving them faster.
Another helpful tip is to set up the email notifications for warnings and issues so, you can handle the events in real time.
5. Safeguard against Brute-force Attacks
As discussed earlier, brute-force attacks occur when hackers discover weak passwords, providing attackers full access to your VPS hosting. However, having a strong password is not enough anymore. Some tools are also required to aid you in detecting brute-force attacks and block unnecessary logins from happening.
An ideal instance is cPhulk – a feature integrated within cPanel – which helps in blocking logins after multiple unsuccessful attempts and also blocking cPanel logins together with FTP, WHM, and email-based ones.
It is also recommended to use Login Failure Daemon (LFD), a procedure that belongs to the above mentioned CSF, which occasionally checks for potential threats to your VPS. LFD checks for any brute-force login attempts and if found, it blocks the IP address trying to attack your server. Moreover, it notifies you of every successful and unsuccessful login. This is something that gives you some extra peace of mind.
6. Confirm your Server Is Malware-Protected
Other than setting up a firewall that protects incoming traffic, there is also a need to monitor the files that have already been and are getting uploaded to your VPS hosting, in case of the occurrence of any vulnerabilities.
For this reason, you need solid anti-virus software on your VPS as its signatures need to be continuously updated. With this, you can also identify any suspicious activity and isolate any unwanted files.
Out of various anti-malware software applications at hand, the most popular are CXS and ClamAV. Surely, there might be a few incorrect positive examples, but it is better to stay safe than sorry.
7. Use SSL Certificates
Using SSL certificates, you can form an encrypted channel between the client and the server to confirm that nothing affects your privacy.
For securing your sensitive information, SSL certificates are essential to all kinds of hosting, whether that’s providing login details, sharing files, or sending emails.
However, you must have some technical knowledge required for the proper implementation of SSL certificates. In such a scenario, you can consider hiring a system administrator to organize everything for you and put you at ease.
8. Limit User Access
When focusing on VPS security, you may also need to determine how would you like to control user access. Simply put, the areas where your users can operate.
In addition to defining different file permissions, you might want to think of tools like SELinux that enables you to control the process initialization, file systems, files, and network interfaces coupled with user-management access.
Let’s assume that multiple users use your VPS hosting. Now, you may decide to control their access to stop them from affecting your resource usage and to secure sensitive information. For this, search for the file systems like VirtFS or CageFS (CloudLinux) which keeps your users confined within certain resources and files.
9. Perform Backups
Backups, or say automatic backups, are crucial not only for VPS hosting but all kinds of hosting. In an ideal scenario, backups should be performed outside the server, in case something wrong happens with your server. Though some of the providers offer backup functionality as an added service, providers like Namecheap provide server backups for every kind of management. If you have an interest in offsite storage, go for full management for VPS hosting.
No matter which kind of hosting (VPS Hosting, Shared Hosting, or Dedicated Server Hosting) you use for your site, security should always be your prime concern. This includes creating hard-to-guess or unique passwords, enabling 2FA authentication whenever required, avoiding using the unofficial software, and avoiding downloading email attachments from unknown senders.
And when it comes to VPS hosting, more freedom is equivalent to more duty. For this reason, Namecheap only provides Linux-based OS with VPS Hosting which is known for having the top level of security given its in-house solutions when compared to other OS.
Though our guide won’t save you from every online threat existing out there, it’ll surely keep you and your VPS more up-to-date, more vigilant, and more booming in the fullness of time.