Are you concerned that your shared hosting plan will compromise the security and performance of your WordPress site?
We wish we could tell you that your website is safe, but the truth is that shared hosting comes with many security risks.
While shared hosting may be The most economical solution to run your website, it can compromise your website’s performance and security.
Customers often ask us if their website can be hacked because of shared hosting. The answer is yes, shared hosting has certain security risks that can lead to website hacking.
If this happens, hackers can use your website to spam your customers, display unwanted content, and redirect your visitors to unknown websites. If Google detects that your site has been hacked, they will immediately blacklist your site and your web host will suspend your hosting account.
But rest assured, you can take steps to protect your website from the risks of shared hosting. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of using shared hosting and steps to protect your website.
By exploiting shared hosting vulnerabilities, hackers can quickly infect your website and hide their hacking from you. You need to install a security plugin like MalCare which is able to detect this kind of activity on your website. Its smart scanner will detect any suspicious behavior on your website and alert you immediately. You can also use MalCare to instantly clean up hackers and protect your website from damage.
In order to understand the risks, you need to first understand how shared hosting works.
What is shared hosting?
To make your website available on the Internet, you need a web server that you can purchase from a hosting provider such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, Kinsta, and more.
Every function and operation of your website will utilize the resources of this server. For example, when a visitor comes to your site and wants to see your home page, your server will fetch the required data and display the home page. To run this process, your website will utilize some of your server’s resources.
Now, not every website needs to use the entire server and its resources. Many websites are small, with only a few pages and articles, and require only a fraction of the overall server resources. Therefore, investing in a single server is not only costly but also a waste of resources.
When you only need an apartment, you can think of it as buying an entire apartment building.
Thus, shared hosting was born. Shared hosting is a system under which a single server hosts multiple websites.
The number of websites on a shared server depends on the resource limit granted to each website. But shared hosting servers can even host thousands of websites at the same time.
This allows hosting providers to offer shared hosting plans at such low prices, making it the cheapest option possible.
But hosting thousands of websites on one server also brings some problems. Next we will discuss this issue in detail.
Top 5 Shared Web Hosting Security and Performance Risks
Going back to the apartment analogy, imagine you share an apartment building with thousands of people. You have some common spaces, such as elevators, stairwells, and lobbies.
Now, if a person doesn’t follow proper security protocols and close their windows, thieves can break in and gain access to common areas. The thief is now lurking inside, trying to break into other apartments.
Likewise, if one website on a server is hacked, the hackers can use their access to attack other websites that reside on the same shared server.
However, it’s not just security that you need to worry about. Even basic maintenance can be one of the security concerns. For example, if one person’s plumbing leaks and fails to fix it for a long time, the leak may spread and start affecting other nearby apartments.
Likewise, other websites on your shared server can cause problems with your website. Here are the top 5 security and performance risks of using shared hosting services:
1. Shared directory
Every WordPress site has its own folder that contains its WordPress files, content, and other data. This folder is located in a so-called “directory” on the web server.
On a dedicated server, there will be a directory containing the files for a website. But with shared hosting, there is a directory with folders for multiple websites.
Even if your website has a separate domain and separate content, By sharing this directory, it essentially links to other websites on your server.
This means that if hackers gain access to this home directory, they can target all sites on the same server. Hackers do this by running a program to identify any vulnerabilities on all sites in the directory. This may be an outdated plugin installed on the website. Once they found the vulnerability, they used it to hack the site.
2. Slow loading time
If another website on your shared server gets hacked, it could also spell trouble for your website’s performance. When a website is compromised, hackers can use it to perform malicious activities such as storing illegal files and folders, sending spam emails, launching attacks on another website.
In this way, hacked websites use more than just shared server resources. This will affect your website. It can slow down your website significantly. Your website may also become unresponsive and inaccessible to visitors.
3. DDoS attack
If other sites on the same server experience spikes in traffic, your site may slow down.
When a hacker wants to shut down a website They program thousands of malicious bots and devices to send massive amounts of traffic to websites. This is called a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service).
To cater for the sudden surge in traffic, the attacked website will start taking more resources from the server. This will always result in fewer resources available to your website, negatively impacting its speed and performance.
Your website is not the target of an attack, just collateral damage.
4. Shared IP address
An IP address is a unique code that identifies a device that uses the Internet, such as your phone or computer. Servers are also devices that use the Internet, so each server has its own IP address.
A shared server will have one IP address, which means that all websites hosted on that server will share the same IP address.
If a neighboring website conducts illegal activities or sends spam to its customers, the IP address will be blacklisted and marked malicious. This can cause many problems for your site:
- A firewall will identify your website as malicious and prevent its users from accessing it.
- Email providers like Gmail will blacklist your IP address, which means any email you send will be diverted to your customers’ spam inboxes.
- Search engines like Google will blacklist your site and mark it as unsafe.
5. Untrusted Neighbors
Your web hosting provider will never reveal the names of other websites you share your server with. So you don’t know who your neighbors are.
Hackers can buy a shared hosting plan just like you and become your neighbor. They can run spam and phishing sites to steal visitors’ data. Not only that, but they may also use hosting servers to store malicious files and folders.
Sharing your server with untrusted neighbors is definitely a threat to your site.
So should you switch from shared hosting to a dedicated server? For many, this may not be an affordable option. But don’t panic now! Even if you choose to use shared hosting, you can take steps to keep your website safe.
How to Protect Your Website from Shared Hosting Security Risks
While the easiest option might be to never use shared hosting, the truth is that not everyone can afford a dedicated server and IP address. We’ve listed four things you can implement on your website to reduce the risks of shared hosting:
1. Install the security plugin
Whether you use shared hosting or a dedicated server, this is what you must do with your website.
A good WordPress security plugin will provide a strong defense against hackers and any malicious activity on your website. If a hacker on your sharing platform tries to access your site or execute malicious commands, the security plugin should detect it and alert you.
We recommend installing MalCare on your WordPress site.
- It will automatically house a strong firewall that will stop hackers Access sensitive files on your website.
- It scans your website daily for Make sure no malware is present on your website. If a hacker inserts any malicious content on your website, the scanner will detect it and alert you immediately. You can use the instant malware removal option to clean it up in time without breaking your website.
- With just a few clicks, you can also implement recommended WordPress hardening measures on your website.These measures will Strengthen the security of your website.
2. Check your shared hosting
We recommend comparing different hosting providers and Check what security measures they have in place at the server level.
You can view other customers’ reviews. You can also contact the customer support team via chat or phone for more details on your landlord’s security. Most well-known hosts have found a way to deal with the aforementioned threats.
Make sure they separate your website environment from the rest. This means that the environment of site1.com should not be accessed by the environment of site2.com.
3. Set file permissions
As we mentioned before, hackers on shared servers can try to access your WordPress files.You can do this by setting the correct file permissions to Make sure only you (the website owner) can access them.
To change file permissions, you need access to cPanel in your hosting account.
Follow this guide to implement correct file permissions on your website.
4. Block PHP execution in unknown folders
If hackers find a vulnerability on your website, they will use it to create their own files and folders. This will allow them to perform malicious activities on your website, such as redirecting visitors or spamming customers with unwanted content.
Typically, they execute code using a programming language called PHP. While your website needs to execute PHP, it is only used in a specific folder.you can Prevent hackers from carrying out their activities By preventing PHP from executing in untrusted folders.
You can do this manually as described in our disable PHP implementation guide, or you can use a plugin like MalCare to make it happen with just a few clicks.
This way, if you use shared hosting, we end up protecting your website. By implementing these measures, we believe your website is now more secure.
Shared hosting plans are often a good option for websites just starting out or businesses that require a basic online presence. But as your business grows and your website gets bigger, you might want to consider getting a dedicated server.
If you can afford a dedicated hosting plan, this is always recommended for better security and performance.
But no environment is 100% free from cyber threats. Hackers will find various ways to break into your website. We strongly recommend that you always keep a solid security plugin like MalCare on your website.
this will Make sure your site has a firewall that blocks bad traffic and a scanner for malware. If your website gets hacked, you can quickly clean it up with the instant malware removal option. You can rest assured that your website is safe. For more information, you can check out our web hosting security guide.
Protect your WordPress site with MalCare!