8 Effective Ways to Add Security to Your Dedicated Server

It’s no secret that the web is full of threats these days; no matter the size of your site, it seems as though there is no way to 100 percent protect your site’s server data from attacks. DDoS attacks, phishing schemes and other hacks are all being seen in increased numbers across the globe. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of simple yet effective ways you can go about bolstering security on your dedicated server. By following some (or all) of these tips, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to many different types of attacks that could otherwise compromise your data or even cause your site’s server to crash.

Check for Security Updates and Patches Manually

Rather than waiting until you’re prompted to install a security update or prompt, it’s a better idea to manually check for these kinds of updates every so often. After all, you may not always be prompted as soon as an update is available, which could leave your server vulnerable for a small amount of time. By checking for updates regularly (even once a day, if possible) and installing these updates as soon as they become available, you can patch potential security gaps and better protect your files or other sensitive data on your server. If this is something you plan to do consistently, you can simplify the task by using scripts to automate your security scans.

Only Use Trusted Networks When Logging In

When you log in to your server administrator panel, always be aware of the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to. Make sure that any and all designated users are aware that they should never log in without first verifying that they’re on a secure, trusted network. For example, logging in with your server credentials on a public, unsecured Wi-Fi network at your local coffee shop could mean that others are able to view your login information (including your password!). This could make your account more prone to being compromised.

Ideally, you and all other authorized users should only log in when connected to a known and secured network as a means of protecting your login information. It’s always better to be safe than sorry here.

Make Sure You Have Enough DDoS Protection

Instances of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have been on the rise for many years, and sites of all sizes have been affected by them. Specifically, these attacks aim to crash your site’s server by flooding it with fake traffic. The sizes of these attacks can range greatly from just a few gigabits per second to literally hundreds of gigabytes per second, so it’s important to make sure you have some form of protection in place against these types of attacks.

Many web hosting companies these days have begun offering standard levels of DDoS protection against smaller attacks (such as attacks around 20 gigabits per second or smaller), as well as the option to “upgrade” to a higher level of protection as needed. Essentially, this protection works by adding a filter to your server that will weed out any illegitimate traffic while allowing legitimate traffic to easily access your site without delays. Make sure you’re aware of the current level of protection (if any) included with your hosting package, and consider upgrading as needed for added peace of mind.

Get Rid of Unused or Unnecessary Files

Old files, apps or other software that you no longer use should be deleted from your server often. Many people don’t realize how dangerous it can be to leave unused files on a server. Not only can these bog down your server unnecessarily, but they also make your server more prone to security risks. Each month, it’s a good idea to do a quick “clean-up” of your files and apps to get rid of anything that you no longer need. Doing this is called reducing an “attack surface”, or items or code on your server that makes it vulnerable.

Back Up Your Data Often

Many dedicated servers offer automatic data backup options, which allow you to save copies of your server data in an archive. The idea here is that if some kind of security or data breach were to happen on your server, you would still have backup copies of all your important files and data saved. This could be the difference between being able to restore your site and being forced to start from scratch, so it’s important to back up your data as often as possible and store it on a separate server.

Consider a Managed Server

If all of these added security steps seem like too much work or like they would be too time-consuming for your busy schedule, you can always consider the option of a managed server. Many hosting companies offer managed servers, which essentially allow you to sit back and relax while an experienced administrator handles every aspect of maintaining your server’s security. From checking for and installing security updates to running frequent security audits, upgrading to a managed server can give you the added protection and peace of mind that you desire without requiring any additional effort on your part.

Know the Signs of a Security Breach

Being aware of the signs of an attack will make it easier for you to act quickly if needed. Signs can vary depending on the type of attack or breach you’re experiencing, but you should always be on the lookout for “red flags” such as:

  • Sudden slowdown in page load times
  • Reports of server errors from site visitors
  • Unauthorized changes to your server files

Have a Detailed Action Plan in Place

No matter how many steps you take to protect your server’s security, it’s important to understand that there is no way to 100 percent guarantee that you won’t become a victim of an attack. With this in mind, it’s important for you to always have a detailed action plan in place that you can follow in the event of an attack or breach in security.

Specifically, your plan should include steps to get into contact with your hosting company, let site visitors know about any downtime, and restore your server and site as quickly as possible. If you don’t have an action plan in place, you could end up prolonging your site’s downtime and harming your site’s reputation in the process.

A little bit of preparation can go a long way in protecting your site against security issues, so make sure to follow these simple tips for a little added peace of mind. And remember, you can always opt for a managed server and have most of these tips handled for you!

About the author

ReliableSite specializes in offering a wide range of hosting options, including dedicated servers with free standard DDoS protection, service level guarantees, and several data centers optimally located across the United States.

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