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The Possible Dangers Of Shared Hosting


Updated: September 14, 2020 by Agnes Talalaev

Shared hosting is a very common way to host websites. If you are a small business and have a website, there is a high chance that your site is hosted by shared web hosting.

Shared hosting is popular because it is cheap and suitable for sites with little traffic. But there are some risks that come with hosting your site in a shared environment.

Let’s talk about the dangers of shared hosting.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting allows multiple websites to utilize a single server. Depending on the hardware used by the server, a shared hosting service can host thousands of websites.

Shared hosting is usually the cheapest option and prices and packages vary greatly, however, the cheap price comes with its own price. The question is – is shared hosting secure?

What can be the dangers of shared hosting?

Imagine an apartment building with thousands of apartments. You all share some common space – the lobby, the elevator, garage and stairs. And now think about one person having a deadly virus. That person has contact with all the common spaces as you do – what can happen?

We often get asked by customers how their site has been infected even though they had security measures in place for their main website. In most cases, these customers make use of shared hosting and have many sites added under the same hosting account.

The main shared hosting security risk is when you add many sites under the same hosting account. In some shared hosting environments, all your sites are accessible with the same FTP account and all your sites sit in the same directory.

In case of a security breach or infection on any of those sites, this kind of setup can often mean that all the other sites (which might have been perfectly up to date and protected by WAF, etc.) will most probably be infected as well.

Many shared hosting providers will allow you to Cage your sites. If you’re building sites on WordPress or any other CMS platform, look if they have auto-installers in place which isolate the sites automatically.

While doing clean-ups for years, we have seen a lot of messy hosting environments, but in most cases, shared hosting providers have capabilities to isolate the different domains from each other and even set permissions so sites in subfolders can be isolated as well.

So should you go for shared hosting?

Before you decide to go for shared hosting:

  1. Look up reviews of the hosting company in question.
  2. Make sure they have decent security practices in place (and ask about isolation).

As of shared hosting security the environment of site1.com should not to be able to reach the environment of site2.com.

Also, remember that when it comes to hosting, you get what you pay for. The less you pay for hosting, the fewer resources allocated to your sites.

It also means less (dedicated/technical) support and there will be a significant number of users hosting their own sites on the same server as your shared hosting account. After you have made your research, decide on a secure and trustworthy web hosting company to host your websites in.

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting allows multiple websites to utilize a single server.

Is shared hosting safe?

In case of a security breach or infection on any of those sites, this kind of setup can often mean that all the other sites (which might have been perfectly up to date and protected by WAF etc.) will most probably be infected as well.

How to isolate sites in a shared hosting environment?

Many shared hosting providers will allow you to Cage your sites. If you’re building sites on WordPress or any other CMS platform, look if they have auto-installers in place which isolate the sites automatically.

What are shared hosting security risks?

The main shared hosting security risk is when you add many sites under the same hosting account. In some shared hosting environments, all your sites are accessible with the same FTP account and all your sites sit in the same directory.

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