Toronto Mike

How to Keep Your VPS Hosting Secure

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With excellent performance, more extensive storage, and better reliability, VPS hosting may become a go-to hosting plan for many people.

However, with its power comes great responsibility to maintain and secure the service, especially when you opt for the unmanaged VPS. Here, you will have complete control over the server, from the software to protection.

If you want to find out how to secure your VPS hosting, you have come to the right place. This article will explain seven methods to prevent your server from potential cyber threats.

1. Ensure a Secure SSH Login

Many VPS users apply Secure Shell (SSH) Login, a secure protocol that lets computers communicate over an open network. It provides users with password authentication and encrypted messages to avoid unwanted people intercepting the conversations.

However, there’s still a risk of hackers attacking the protocol. They usually try to guess passwords to log in to SSH. So in anticipation, consider changing the default login password to a customized one.

Here are some tips for generating a solid custom password:

  • Passwords should be at least 12 characters long.
  • Mix capital and small letters, special characters, and numbers.
  • Avoid creating passwords with simple phrases or obvious personal information, like your nickname and birthday.
  • Avoid using the same password for other logins.

2. Set Up a Firewall

A firewall is a network security tool that filters incoming and outgoing traffic. It decides which traffic is safe and which is dangerous for your server.

The operating systems (OS), like Linux and Windows, come with a default firewall. However, it may not be enough to protect sensitive operations, such as credit card processing on VPS.

For advanced protection, additional firewall installation is necessary.

ConfigServer Firewall can be a good option as its configuration script helps provide better security. It also offers Login Failure Daemon (LFD) to temporarily block users with many login failures.

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3. Use the Latest Software Versions

Older versions of software and OS may contain security vulnerabilities, which can be loopholes for hackers to attack the users. To stay away from this, it’s essential to check for updates regularly.

The updates can provide improved security patches and bug fixes. Try to update your OS and software whenever possible. Or turn on automatic updates so that you don’t have to check for them manually.

4. Monitor Your VPS Server Logs

Server logs contain thorough information about your server, like requests and errors. By checking these regularly, you’ll be prepared for any issues that appear and solve them immediately.

To enable real-time monitoring, consider installing a server log management tool.

One of the most popular options is SolarWinds Papertrail. It provides a stream of server events and lets users pause or resume it at any time. This tool also comes with notifications and event summaries in different time zones.

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5. Protect Your Server from Malware

Your network activities may include downloading and uploading files as well as browsing the internet. During these activities, the server may be in contact with malware and viruses.

Installing antivirus software can help protect your server from those threats. A popular option is  ClamAV, as it supports multiple file formats, OSs, and languages.

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Other potential security risks come from automated bot attacks.

Most OSs create a default user to handle the system administration tasks. This user is called root on Linux and Administrator on Windows. Beginner server administrators often use this account for all tasks, and this is where the bots try to log in to the server.

To avoid this from happening, disable the default administrator account. Then, create a new one with a custom name, such as admin-your company name.

6. Do a Regular VPS Backup

Aside from malware and viruses, another security issue you could encounter is a website going down.

There are several causes that can make a website crash, such as:

  • Someone accidentally clicking the wrong button and deleting the files.
  • Encountering problems during updates.
  • Missing the hosting payment.

One of the easiest ways to prevent losing your website is to back up the server regularly. Luckily, many hosting companies offer automated backups, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling the operation and losing your data.

Make sure yours has this feature by checking your control panel or asking your web host’s customer support.

7. Control User Access

When building a website, you may need to give external parties, like developers or designers, permission to access your VPS. Yet, allowing other people to run your server and access sensitive data comes with potential risks.

To manage these risks, limit the access by keeping the administrator access and giving them a new user account instead. Doing so will help you keep control of your website and let you remove the access when the account is no longer needed.  

Go to the control panel to add a user. Find a User Manager tool and create a new user account. After that, specify which service access that user has.

Conclusion

With many potential cyber-attacks, VPS users need to keep their servers secure.

There are many security methods to try. Some of them need software installation like a server log management tool and a firewall configuration. In comparison, others require other kinds of effort, such as setting up a strong password for SSH login and controlling user access.

When it comes to your server's security, it’s better to be safe and prepared than sorry. We hope this article helped you get some ideas of how you can secure your VPS hosting too.

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About Toronto Mike
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