With hackers targeting and exploiting every single vulnerability, VPS server security is an issue for many users. Not enough people take the proper measures to fully patch every risky detail.
Ultimately, this leaves you with a system that is very open and easy to exploit. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate this risk, you should still do everything you can to minimize it as much as possible. Here are some steps that you can take to better protect your server.
Tips to Secure your VPS Server
1) Keep all software up to date
Anything on the system that isn’t up to date is a high-security risk, and this applies even to the OS that you use. Yes, developers do frequent updates to fix minor/major bugs and introduce new features/settings, but they mostly do them to patch software vulnerabilities.
To ensure proper VPS server security, update everything that you have on it to the latest version. If you think that this will take too much time, automate this task with cron jobs in cPanel, or “apt-get”, “rpm/yum” package managers. These will notify about any updates and provide detailed information about what is being changed.
2) Remove unused modules/packages
While you keep everything you need up to date, uninstall the modules, packages, add-ons, software, and applications that you don’t really use.
The reasoning for this is that if you don’t need them, you won’t be regularly updating them as well. It’s better to remove them altogether, and you won’t have to worry about possible weaknesses that they have.
It’s good practice to install software that is necessary for the continued operation of the system. If you want something only for convenience’s sake or customization purposes, thoroughly check them for any known vulnerabilities.
3) Change the default SSH port
You can also improve your VPS server security by just changing the SSH port. It is set to 22 by default, and hackers naturally take advantage of this pretty often. Luckily, they can’t hack what they can’t see.
You can change the SSH port by following these steps:
- Open the “/etc/ssh/sshd_config” configuration file.
- Find “# What ports, IPs and protocols we listen for” and “Port 22” right under it.
- Change “22” to another number. Do not enter a number that is already used on the system.
- Save and exit the configuration file.
- Restart the service with this command: “etc/init.d/ssh restart”.
Now, you just have to reconnect via SSH and indicate the new port.
4) Use only strong passwords
While it’s widely known that having strong passwords is crucial for everything, users still have to be reminded about this as it still remains the number one threat to security. Use these tips to create a good password:
Keep in mind that every password and username must be unique – never the same one twice. It’s also good practice to change them regularly.
5) Create Regular Backups
VPS server security doesn’t involve just protecting yourself from hackers. It also includes keeping all your information safe as well.
Even the smallest data leak results in disastrous consequences, but these can be avoided. One crucial way to do this is to create backups.
Even though hosting providers offer backup services, you should always take matters into your own hands and create them yourself.
When it comes to making data copies, relying on your host can be a bit risky as they might not store everything or create & keep separate versions with every backup. It’s best to do them regularly and to store them in different locations outside your server.
Also Read: Different Types of Data Backup
Another great way to boost your VPS server security is to use software that is meant to do just that. Some of the recommended tools are:
- Firewalls. These either allow or deny access to your system and keep away all unwanted traffic that could be harmful. It’s a great way to protect yourself for HTTP floods, SQL injections, and similar cyberattacks. Whether you install a new firewall or tweak a pre-installed one, you should configure traffic filtering, how it blocks/allows access from certain IP addresses, and close any unused ports.
- Antimalware/antivirus programs. These come in handy when harmful software does slip through into your server by continuously scanning the system for any suspicious files or applications. Both paid and open-source solutions are great. Don’t limit yourself to just one antivirus program.
- cPHulk. This tool usually comes with cPanel, and it protects the server from unwanted login attempts by blocking the IP addresses that fail to do so successfully several times. Activate it by going to the WHM Security Center and clicking on cPHulk Brute Force Protection.
- SSL certificates. These encrypt all information sent and received with a special encryption key, meaning that no one can see, intercept, and read the transmission and its data. This way, you fully protect your and your visitors’ sensitive info.
Keep in mind that monitoring server logs are also crucial for achieving better VPS server security. You’ll have a better understanding of your system and how it works.
It’ll also help you prepare for possible attacks and hackings attempts, and you can set up alerts for certain issues. A great server is a well-protected one, so take the time needed to protect it and everything on it.