7 Expert Tips for Secure Web Hosting (Feb. 2024)

Secure Web Hosting

Finding secure web hosting can be a challenge for beginners and those who don’t understand what it takes to protect a website from all the online attacks happening across the internet. Fortunately, many top providers will do all the heavy lifting to protect you from intruders and costly downtime.

In the hosting industry, hacked websites, bots, malware, DDoS attacks, and various other forms of security vulnerabilities are all very commonplace. In fact, there is an online attack every 39 seconds. When you sign on to owning a website, you should expect one or several of these threats to rear their ugly heads over the course of your site’s lifespan — but you don’t have to expect your destiny to be domed.

We’ll cover some of the top threats to web security, the most secure hosting companies to partner with, and how to prevent such assaults on your site.

5 Most Secure Web Hosting Services

Whether you are receiving customers’ payment information or may be hosting other personal data, you’ll need to make sure that no one else can see that information. You typically find the most secure web hosting services at the VPS and dedicated server levels, but shared hosting providers do a great job protecting their customers.

Be on the lookout for free SSL certificates, content delivery networks, web application firewalls, and protection against brute force and DDoS attacks — all of which you can find with these hosts below:

1. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.29

  • High-quality hosting, no matter the format
  • FREE SSD storage packs 20x the performance
  • FREE SSL certificate and 24/7 support
  • 1-click installs for WordPress and popular CMSes
  • Get started with FREE website transfer service
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers an excellent business-class shared hosting plan — with a price tag lower than several other budget hosts. For the IT crowd in the audience, you’ll appreciate SSH access, as well as support for PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, WP-CLI, and other popular languages. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
90 days 100 GB SSD - Unlimited SSD FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

2. HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $2.64

  • Get 74% off monthly pricing
  • A perfect blend of price and performance
  • Intuitive control panel with 1-click CMS installs
  • Unlimited everything — from domains to databases
  • Around-the-clock expert support
  • Get started on HostGator now.
★★★★★ 4.6 Our Review»
HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. The company offers unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus one-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to a 99. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

3. SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • FREE CDN, email, and daily backups
  • Hassle-free website and email migrations
  • Unlimited traffic, databases, and email
  • Industry-leading customer support response times
  • HostingAdvice readers get 86% off
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
★★★★★ 4.6 Our Review»
SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Providing hosting with the perfect balance of technological innovation and superior customer support, SiteGround offers a range of affordable hosting services to meet your needs. In addition to the expected cheap web hosting perks — a free website builder and unlimited bandwidth — the company specializes in custom-built tools to deliver strong and positive user experiences. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD New or Transfer 6 minutes

4. Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Known for high-performance, low-cost hosting
  • FREE website builder with 1,000s of templates
  • Endorsed by the WordPress.org team as a top host
  • FREE SSL certificate and CDN acceleration
  • Usually $7.99/mo, but our visitors pay $2.95/mo
  • Get started on Bluehost now.
★★★★★ 4.5 Our Review»
Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost pricing is about as competitive as the industry offers. Sign up for a shared hosting plan for as little as $1.99 per month, and WordPress hosting packages are consistently priced; a VPS plan starts at around $31.99 per month; and the dedicated hosting rates are as little as $91.98 per month. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 100 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

5. IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • Unlimited everything, from storage to websites
  • Modern hardware compatible with 100s of apps
  • FREE SSL, email, and domain registration
  • Personal consultant for customized support
  • Pay just $12 for 1 year of hosting
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
★★★★ 4.4 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): If budget is the main factor on your mind when searching for your next web host, search no more. 1&1 IONOS has an impressive range of robust web hosting and website building packages for what may be the best price we've ever seen in the world of hosting. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See other affordable shared hosting options »

2024’s Top Web Hosting Security Issues

Today’s modern hosting landscape is fraught with dangers — from both self-inflicted human error and third parties with malicious intent. Here, we’re listing the most common attack vectors or vulnerabilities, and linking them to information on how to protect yourself:

Next, we’ll cover his advice to shield your site from harm. If a certain security risk has caught your eye, feel free to jump ahead to its tip using the links above.

Tip #1: Avoid Untrustworthy 3rd-Party Apps & Sanitize Input Data

If your site uses a database backend, it is important to know and trust the code behind your website, according to Erik Soroka, a Tier 3 Operations Manager at InMotion Hosting. Verifying your code works and verifying it’s secure and stable are two very different beasts to wrangle.

You’ll want to validate your code coming into your CMS or application (input data) and confirm it matches what’s presented to the end user on the frontend (output data). If you’re using WordPress, the Codex gives an excellent rundown on input and output data validation here.

“Avoid using untrusted third-party applications that haven’t undergone a thorough security audit. And always be sure to sanitize input data,” Erik added.

Tip #2: Follow Best Practices for JavaScript Encoding

“If your site uses JavaScript, protect it from XSS attacks by using best practices for encoding and sanitizing any and all input fields on your website,” he said.

You can also implement one of the many open-source libraries to prevent XSS attacks. Erik recommends PHP AntiXSS, xssprotect, or HTML Purifier.

Tip #3: Ensure Request Validity with Random Challenge Tokens

Developers should always append random challenge tokens to each request that are associated with the user’s session. By including a challenge token, you can ensure the request is valid and not coming from a source other than the intended user.

Tip #4: Enforce Password Complexity and Implement Request Throttling

“Brute forcing is one of the simplest yet common ways hackers can compromise your website or your hosting account,” Erik said. Always have automatic account lockouts, enforce password complexity, and implement some form of request throttling.”

Additional tips to creating a secure password:

  • Avoid common words (e.g., “Caligirl,” “doglover,” or *shudder* “password”).
  • Avoid obvious personal details (e.g., your birthday, pet names, a guessable anniversary).
  • Make it longer than six characters — some say, the longer the better.
  • Include a mix of capital and lowercase letters.
  • Include numbers and symbols, too.
  • Note: Starting with a capital letter and ending with a number is predictable these days.
  • Don’t be predictable. A strong password is memorable only to you — without hints!

Whether you’re a site manager, developer, or web user, you should rotate through a series of complex, strong passwords known by you alone. Google suggests creating a unique password for each individual account you own and operate. For an added layer of security, try enabling two-step verification.

Tip #5: Update Any and All Software Regularly

If you use a content management system (CMS) or another application to power your website(s), you have to stay on top of the latest updates and patches to the software.

“This includes any third-party plugins or scripts you may be running,” Erik said, noting that (most) developers release new updates regularly to patch insecurities and bugs discovered within their apps, plugins, and frameworks.

“By not always updating to the latest version, you could potentially leave your website vulnerable to further attacks or compromises.”

Tip #6: Be Mindful of Error Reporting

If you’re not developing or debugging your website, Erik recommends turning off error reporting wherever possible.

“In cases where errors are necessary, be sure the error messages do not reveal any critical information that may be helpful to an attacker. Additionally, for sites with a login page, always return a consistent error message for failed attempts,” he said.

For example, if your site returns “Incorrect Password” when “johndoe” fails to authenticate but then returns “No such user” when “janedoe” fails, you have just disclosed the existence of a valid username to the attacker which can then be used for further exploits.

Tip #7: Use the Most Secure Web Hosting Provider You Can Find

If you have a website, regardless of the site’s popularity or content, you can expect it will be the target of an attempted attack or intrusion at some point. While it’s important that the website’s owner or developer take the necessary security precautions to protect themselves, it is equally important that you are hosting with a provider that takes security seriously.

“Even the most secure websites in the world can easily become victims if the server or network it’s hosted on is lacking in security,” Erik said. “At InMotion Hosting, we have a dedicated team of system administrators working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to safeguard our infrastructure by performing regular audits and proactively applying patches to our servers. In addition, we are one of the only hosting providers that will try to patch popular content management systems (e.g., WordPress, Joomla, etc.) for our customers’ sites immediately following a vulnerability disclosure.”

More on the security measures InMotion has in place and the rock-solid commitment to quality of service Erik and his team deliver can be found in our experts’ review below:


InMotion Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.29

  • FREE SSD drives included with all hosting plans
  • Zero-downtime website transfers and migrations
  • FREE backups, SSL, and DDoS protection
  • Choice of East Coast or West Coast datacenter
  • Multi-language support for PHP, Ruby, and Perl
  • Get started on InMotion now.
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Offering a wider range of services than most — including shared, dedicated, VPS, and even WordPress-specific plans — InMotion Hosting features a great combination of industry-leading hardware, always-there support, and mass scalability for all hosting needs. InMotion Hosting has ultra-modern SSD drives on its shared plans, which give an added speed boost to your site. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
90 days 100 GB SSD - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

Web Hosting Security is Made Simple by the Most Secure Hosts

As the owners of the servers, routers, and switches powering your hosting web network, your host is naturally your first and most important line of defense against unexpected downtime or compromised data. However, that doesn’t mean that you can kick back and relax. Be sure to keep up with WordPress and plugin updates, user accounts and passwords, and other best practices you can control.

From SQL injections to assailable hosting services, security vulnerabilities abound in the hosting industry. It’s imperative that you partner with a hosting provider to withstand attacks on your network, follow best-practice coding procedures, and stay up-to-date with the latest software updates and security trends.

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