In a world where cyberattacks and malware threats can unexpectedly cause your site to crash, or worse, put your customers’ private information at risk, a secure system can be the make or break of your business. It is for precisely this reason that security should be at the top of your list of considerations, before you even think about launching your e-commerce website.
It’s worth noting that hackers don’t handpick their victims. They use broad-range scripts, like a kind of virtual fishing net, to catch websites with common vulnerabilities. The upshot of this is that, unless they are looking for a challenge, a hacker’s prime target is simply vulnerable websites that haven’t thought to adequately secure their data.
Security in mind, now what?
Armed with some basic security knowledge, your next task is to select a reliable web hosting service. But how do you know which one to go for? Let us take the guesswork out of it for you. First, go for one that uses encryption technology between the user and the server, or between the Web host server and your business server. This is because you want your communications to be encrypted, thus protecting your data from theft. It’s also worth asking your Web host about password storage. Avoid any that store passwords in plain text format.
Choosing a Web host
There are several ways you can go with: the cheapest hosting, shared hosting, cloud hosting, or WordPress managed hosting. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types in order of security potential from highest to lowest, and also ease of implementation.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
At the top of our high-security list, Virtual Private Servers are basically computers located somewhere that are connected to a network you have access to. With this option, you need to build the whole hosting environment by yourself. Bearing this in mind, it really depends on your own skills as to how secure this system can be.
Cloud Hosting Platforms
Cloud hosting such as Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure can be an easier way to launch your e-commerce website. Their platforms help you to automate the set-up process as well as helping you to manage your servers more easily. They are similar to Managed Hosting, which we’ll cover next, but the advantage is that they are able to offer more than just WordPress.
They also have better options for security modifications than shared hosting (see the last option on our list), but if you don’t know what you are doing it is a good idea to find someone who does, or go for fully managed hosting.
Managed Hosting (WordPress)
Quite several service providers offer WordPress hosting. Their focus is on one specific framework, and because they know the ins and outs of WordPress, they can implement a more secure system.
Some fully managed web hosting companies really excel at site security. For extra security, some platforms also offer back-up plugins. It is still possible for sites to get hacked on managed hosting, but it’s definitely not as frequent or as serious as shared hosting.
This is a very popular choice due to the simplicity in getting up and running quickly. It also has the added bonus of being one of the cheaper options. That being said, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. With this option, all the domains or websites on a shared hosting environment share the resources. This means that when you’ve got heavy traffic coming your way, your site may run a lot slower than you need it to.
In terms of security, a frequent problem with this option is that the other websites using this service are not sufficiently isolated from each other, which can lead to every website getting compromised when just one of the sites gets hacked.
It is important to remember that hosting companies’ prime concern is hosting, and not security. Security is a whole other field, and highly specialized. Whichever option you decide is right for you, make sure you also include a web application firewall for extra protection.