The Virtual Private Server security is ensured by several methods. Website isolation, root access, and third-party security applications are some of the more important ways.
This article takes a look at how server virtualisation through a hypervisor ensures just that.
What is a Hypervisor for VPS Security?
A hypervisor is a piece of hardware, software, or a combination that sits on the server and creates VMs or Virtual Machine. Do check out our blog on the advantages of hypervisors to understand hypervisors in detail.
There are multiple VMs on a server, and each VM draws resources from the server. The resources of the server are dedicated to each VM and are un-shareable. However, each VM is independent of other VMs on the server. They are also completely isolated from one another. All this is done by the hypervisor.
In a hosting setup, each VM is a website. The implication, of course, is that each website gets dedicated resources and that all the websites are isolated from each other. This architecture has several advantages when it comes to security. Some of the important ones are listed below.
Benefits of Hypervisors and Virtualisation for Security
1. Isolation reduces your risk exposure
Isolation of VMs and, therefore websites, is a huge advantage to website security. When a website is isolated from other websites on the server, the security setup of other websites is rendered useless.
In hosting methods where there is no isolation, if one website has lax security, there can be adverse effects on all the other websites. However, when websites are isolated, this problem is nullified.
So, in a VPS setup, if a website is attacked successfully, it’s only that website that is impacted.
2. Provision to use third-party applications
As websites grow, so do the threats, given that they usually have more customer data. With VPS Hosting, you can install server-wide third-party applications even if they’re not supported by your hosting provider natively.
Today, there are a whole host of cloud-based security applications that can protect your website effectively. However, you cannot always use them in a hosting setup where there’s no website isolation. This happens because an application installed on one website can affect the user experience of other website owners.
Isolation achieved by virtualisation and hypervisors enables hosting providers to allow users to use whatever applications they want. This way, if there’s a security application that can help your website better, you can simply install it without having to wait for your hosting provider to allow it.
3. Hypervisors enable root access
Root access, in a Linux system, is quite similar to ‘Admin’ access in PCs. Essentially, a root user is given the highest level of clearance and can make any changes to the system.
However, the hypervisor allows for virtualisation and, therefore, complete isolation of websites which makes it possible for hosting companies to offer root access with their VPS Hosting plans.
There are several security advantages of having root access. For starters, it allows you to manage your ports. A port is basically a channel through which the server can communicate with the outside world. Unfortunately, unused ports can become points of attack for hackers.
With root access, you can disable all unused ports so that hackers cannot exploit them. Additionally, you can also modify port numbers with root access. This is important because of the frankly alarming number of bot attacks that happen on servers.
A bot attack is when a ‘bot’ or a piece of malicious software attacks your servers. Bots developed by hackers are now so good that they can carry out a complete attack on a server with no human intervention. One of the enablers of this problem is that a lot of website owners leave their port numbers unchanged. So, a lot of servers become similar targets.
With root access, you can swap and change port numbers, thereby mitigating the problem of bot attacks on your website.
4. VMs can be ‘rolled back’
One of the advantages of virtualisation is the fact that VMs can be rolled back. For example, if a VM is infected, for whatever reason, it can simply be rolled back to a state that it was before the infection.
The advantage of this is obvious, of course. If there’s been a successful hack, then the website can be restored to its former self. Additionally, it’s not just hacks that can unintentionally alter a website. Technical faults can, as well.
The rollback option, enabled by virtualisation, ensures that you can always roll back your website to a time where everything was optimal.
VPS Hosting is getting more and more popular by the day, and for a good reason. VPS provides dedicated hosting like performance at a fraction of the price. What’s more, the security offered by virtualisation, root access, and the hypervisor means that VPS security is quite comparable to dedicated hosting as well.
Of course, it’s crucial that you choose the right web hosting provider. A good web hosting company will put a lot of money and expertise into offering secure, reliable, and fast VPS Hosting. They use additional firewalls, hire experts with years of experience, and use security tools that help your VPS powered website be safe at all times.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Head to our Servers Blogs category for more information on different types of servers, tips to maximise server performance and more.
Eastlink Cloud Pvt. Ltd.
Tripureshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal