Malware, viruses, and even the seemingly innocent pop-ups and banners are endemic Internet afflictions. These applications are at the very least annoying, but in some cases can cost a business and their customers a lot of money and give both endless systems problems to boot. The good news is that it is not an aspect of Internet business that is left to chance, one can ensure that they are getting a secure server through due diligence in research and analysis.
Security is a two way street, and it is a very important requirement in shared and virtual private Web hosting environments. It should be able to protect ALL customers from unwanted intrusions into their sites, from outside aggressors, as well as other customers sharing the environment with them.
In asking for the server's security features, inquire if they have implemented a "cage" structure. Like ice cubes in a tray, each client will have their own enclosures connected to but independent of each other. Which makes it easy for each customer to "mind their own business" as the saying goes. "Cage" structures are built through the UNIX restriction known as the change root, and the hosting service will turn into a UNIX shell machine, enabling the client to build their own little virtual world, free from unwanted visitors and vice versa.
Another thing that a website owner should consider before signing up with a webhost is the permissions for unproven binary codes. These unproven binary codes can severely compromise the integrity and security of the website if they are permitted by the webhost in the environment. It does not matter how small seemingly small and inconsequential such a code is, a good webhost will have the necessary protocols against allowing them to enter. It is always better to err in the side of caution.
Make sure that the prospective web hosting provider also has a "hardened" operating system, as well as their hosting automation software deployment. This means that their configuration is updated and protected against unauthorized access and exploited weaknesses to eliminate and prevent these from recurring. This is a maintenance task that a good hosting provider does as often as possible by applying service packs and fixes as soon as they are available, and informs their customers about them regularly.
An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, and a diligent web hosting provider should always update and maintain its security features. That includes ensuring that the physical servers or hardware, and the software that is installed in it are working at their optimum levels and can successfully fight off any unwanted hacking. Enabling safeguards such as passwords, firewalls and similar systems should be second nature.
In the preceding paragraph, one can see the importance of a firewall if they knew exactly what a firewall does. In the physical world, a firewall is a very tall wall that will prevent fires from crossing over to and damaging the protected property. In the virtual world, obviously there are no fires, but it will still protects property from damage, this time damage that can come from viruses and malware (Trojans, worms, etc) that can come from within the shared environment or from without.
There are several security measures that a website owner can do to make their sites secure. One of them is by creating strong passwords. There are a few dos and don'ts as far as this is concerned. Make the passwords as long as can be remembered, possibly at least 8 characters, which will include letters, symbols, and numbers. Do not use words, birthdays or other "memorable" dates, or have the same password as the log-in name. It is also good to ignore prompts to "remember your password?"
Anti-virus software is available in the software market for a reason: they are necessary. A web hosting server may have immunity from viruses and other malware, but that does not mean that they cannot carry these viruses in their systems. A website owner would be wise to "vaccinate" himself against them and create a disease-free website.