Offering superb performance, greater storage and increased reliability for a minimal increase in costs, Linux VPS has quickly become the go-to hosting solution for those upgrading from shared hosting. Just like with any other hosting solution, it’s vital that you keep your VPS secure. In this post, we’ll provide some important tips on how to do that.
1. Set up and configure a firewall
Firewalls are essential to keep your VPS secure. They protect you against cyberattacks by blocking malicious network traffic and prevent malware from accessing your server via the internet. To work effectively, they need to be correctly configured.
2. Disable root logins
Hackers love default usernames which is why brute force attacks always begin by trying the username ‘admin’. With a Linux VPS, there’s also the default username ‘root’ which hackers are familiar with. Disabling logins that use the username ‘root’ prevents it from being targeted by a brute force attack. To do this, first create a new admin-level user with a different username and then disable the ‘root’ login.
3. Keep your OS software updated
While vulnerabilities in operating systems are usually found and patched very quickly, not everyone updates to the latest version swiftly and this leaves their VPS at risk of attack. Cybercriminals use sophisticated bots to seek out those vulnerable servers so they can be targeted.
Unless your applications require you to run a legacy OS, it is essential that you update your OS as soon as an update or patch is released as this will remove any vulnerability. If you are a customer of Anteelo, our managed service means we’ll take care of this on your behalf. We’ll also update your control panel and the virtualisation software that the VPS runs on, too.
4. Take control of your software
Just as with your operating system, hackers will seek out vulnerabilities in all the software you use. One of the ways to minimise risk is to delete any unnecessary applications that came bundled with your server and only install apps and add-ons that you actually need.
For the software that you do need, setting up automatic updates from within your control panel will ensure that, should a security patch be released by the developer, your server will have the latest, secure version as soon as it is available.
5. Use strong passwords
Brute force hackers now use AI-enabled software that accesses databases of stolen usernames and passwords to help them find the right login credentials. A weak username/password combination can be cracked in seconds. Forcing users to choose strong passwords is the easiest way to prevent these advanced techniques from being successful. Even better, implement two-factor authentication.
It is also worth remembering that this type of hacking will need multiple login attempts before it is successful. A further layer of protection can be achieved by using the ‘faillog’ command to limit the number of attempts a user makes before they are locked out. Hacking software will make continuous and very quick attempts to log in, so setting a limit will prevent this from happening.
6. Partition your server
Security can be enhanced by partitioning your server’s SSD. This will enable you to separate the operating system from applications, files and other data. Essentially, this means that if one of your partitions is compromised, the damage that is done is limited. It also means any restoration needed can be carried out quicker.
7. Back up your VPS regularly
Aside from data theft, the other major issue caused by a cyberattack is not the attack itself but how long it keeps your business offline. With your applications down, you will be unable to carry out the operations that your business relies on, such as your website, email, manufacturing or other critical IT processes.
The key to swift recovery is having an up-to-date backup in place which can quickly restore all your affected applications, files and data. Without a backup, some data could be irretrievably lost and restoration of services could take too long for your business to survive.
At Anteelo, we provide a backup solution that stores your data remotely, encrypts it for security and checks it for integrity so you know that it works. What’s more, you can schedule backups to occur automatically so that you always have an up-to-date copy of your files or even your entire server.
A VPS provides exceptional hosting for growing businesses, but like all hosting solutions needs to be protected from the growing number of cyberattacks. The seven tips discussed here should help you make your VPS far more secure. Of course, with the right web host, much of the security will be taken care of on your behalf and you’ll have 24/7 technical support to provide expert assistance if the worst happens.