Compare Secure Hosting
If you want to open an online store or host any kind of private information, secure web hosting is vital. However, you can’t assume that every host offers the same type of protection.
VPS hosting plans and dedicated servers are typically the most secure types of hosting. For all hosting types, you’ll want to look for SSL certificates, CDNs, firewalls, and attack protection. For e-commerce security, your host should offer you a way to obtain PCI compliance.
Below we discuss our recommendations in detail, but here’s a preview of the best 5 hosts for secure hosting:
- Bluehost: Best Overall Hosting
- WP Engine: Best Managed WordPress Hosting
- Liquid Web: Best Dedicated Hosting
- DreamHost: Best Hosting Bandwidth
- SiteGround: Best Hosting for Customer Support
How Did We Choose the Best Hosts for Secure Hosting?
We evaluated the security features of over 300 hosting companies. We chose hosts that provide server monitoring, malware detection, attack protection, two-factor authentication, and integration with security add-ons.
Then we picked the hosts that got the best customer reviews.
What Is Secure Hosting?
Security is an important concern when looking at a web hosting plan. But there’s no single feature that makes one hosting platform more secure than any other.
Rather, a constellation of individual factors contributes to overall web hosting security.
Most web hosting companies are engaging in at least a few of the standard security practices, but that doesn’t tell you how secure they are compared to competitors.
It’s important to look at a number of different security measures that you and your hosting company might take to keep your site secure.
Top 5 Secure Hosts
It’s easy for a web hosting company to claim that they are “secure,” because that word doesn’t have a clearly defined technical meaning.
This can make it difficult to choose a secure host.
The five below are a few of our favorite options for those looking for a safer, more secure host.
Bluehost is a large website host well-known in the industry for its WordPress expertise. It is also popular for its variety of “one-stop-shop” solutions and services, as well as bargain prices. Bluehost currently powers over 2 million sites worldwide, mainly out of its huge data center in Utah. Also, the company offers almost every website hosting service that you might possibly need, such as advanced hosting like VPS, managed WordPress hosting and dedicated server. Besides offering a complete range of website hosting services, the company provides SEO services, marketing training, social media marketing, graphic design services, and content creation.
Bluehost also has an advanced and reliable WordPress hosting category called WP Pro. Note that WP Pro is available in 3 tiers. It is an excellent managed WordPress offering that gives your website back end the coveted white-glove treatment and also includes amazing social media, SEO, and email marketing tools. And WP Pro’s 3 plans (Grow, Build, and Scale) all feature unlimited website hosting, domains, monthly data transfers, and storage, which is great.
Pros and Cons of Bluehost Managed Hosting Services
Bluehost is an incredibly reliable hosting provider that has strong customer service, offers uptime, and great value for money. So, if you are looking to host your WordPress website, this is one of the best providers for you.
- Solid uptime
- Generous storage
- Prices are above average
What Customers Are Saying
|Money-Back Guarantee||60 Days|
WP Engine doesn’t offer standard web hosting, so they aren’t the right provider for you if you’re looking for Windows servers. What they offer is managed WordPress hosting, and they can help you create everything from blogs to enterprise-level websites. They also offer a free WordPress development environment called Local, which you can install on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices to build, test, and deploy WordPress sites. When you’re ready to go, you can connect it to WP Engine and deploy your sites.
WP Engine’s Startup plan costs $25 per month and supports a single website, with 10 GB storage, 50 GB bandwidth, and up to 25,000 visits per month. Growth starts at $95 per month and includes 20 GB storage, 200 GB bandwidth, and up to 10 websites. If you need more than that, you can choose from the Scale or Custom plans. All plans include a global CDN, automated SSL certificates, and an SSH gateway.
Pros & Cons of WP Engine Web Hosting
WP Engine is for individuals or businesses who want to design a professional website using WordPress. Although it isn’t an alternative to Windows web hosting, WP Engine offers some tools for Windows users, including Local, a development environment for building and testing WordPress sites. Support is available 24/7, but customers on the Starter plan are limited to phone support during CST business hours.
- Local development environment
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- No shared or VPS hosting
- No domain names or email
What Customers Are Saying
One customer speaks highly of their experience with the support team: “I’ve needed help with technical questions and troubleshooting several times … and the chat tech support specialists are always excellent. I get really clear answers in a very timely manner and they often think of things I haven’t even thought of yet.”
The site mentions only PHP4 and PHP5 compatibility and the “Learn More” link is broken, though, so it’s not clear how up-to-date Liquid Web’s commitment is.
The web host specializes in managed services, and it gives guaranteed support response times around the clock, as well as guaranteeing 100% uptime.
Pros & Cons of Liquid Web Hosting
Windows hosting plans are still in the works, so if you’re trying to get started right away, then A2 Hosting may not be an option. But with their impressive uptime, 24/7 customer support, and generous refund policy, they may be worth the wait. In the meantime, you can explore their other hosting options, including dedicated servers and VPS hosting.
- High-performance plans
- 100% network/power uptime guarantee
- Excellent support team
- Windows options coming soon
What Customers Are Saying
|Money-Back Guarantee||Full refund within 30 days|
DreamHost is one of the biggest names in the business, notable for their WordPress hosting plans and 97-day money-back guarantee. If you’re looking for shared hosting, then you can choose from either the Shared Starter plan or Shared Unlimited, both of which come with a free domain, free SSL certificate, and website builder. The Starter plan costs $2.59 per month and supports one website, with email costing an extra $1.67 per month. The Unlimited plan offers unlimited websites and unlimited email at your domain for $4.95 per month. With either plan, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth and storage, automated backups, and an easy-to-use control panel. As for support, DreamHost promises 24/7 availability, although live chat is only available between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. PST. There’s also an online knowledge base where you can find detailed guides and answers to frequently asked questions. If you’re in the market for something other than shared hosting, you can also choose cloud hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, or standalone email hosting.
Pros & Cons of DreamHost Web Hosting
With a 97-day money-back guarantee and unlimited bandwidth and storage, DreamHost is a cost-effective hosting provider with a range of different services. However, not all of their offerings are available on Windows servers, so you’ll need to confirm its suitability before settling on a plan. For example, their cloud servers come preloaded with Linux, but can be configured to run Windows or another operating system of your choice.
- 97-day money-back guarantee
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Limited options for Windows
What Customers Are Saying
DreamHost gets positive reviews for its technical capabilities and customer support: “I have never had an issue that was not resolved quickly, and in some cases, DreamHost proactively dealt with the issue before I was aware of it.” Another customer says “I’ve rarely had a problem with their service and when there is a glitch, they are on it, helping a not-particularly-computer-literate person fix the problem quickly.”
|Money-Back Guarantee||97 days|
SiteGround is one of the more popular shared hosting providers and the company provides multiple server types like shared, WordPress, WooCommerce, and cloud hosting services. When it comes to the performance of their servers, SiteGround beats out most of their competition. These servers have an average page loading speed of 534ms and an uptime of 99.99%.
SiteGround also excels at customer service and tech support. They are available to help with any issues that develop with your site 24/7. Their reps are very knowledgeable about their systems and resolve most issues promptly.
SiteGround’s hosting services come with a variety of bonuses like a free SSL certificate, email accounts, and CDN. Their plans also offer free website migrations for customers who already have websites hosted by a different provider. Other noteworthy features that come with SiteGround hosting include:
- Integrations with popular apps like Weebly, WordPress, and Drupal
- Reseller and collaboration tools
- Unmetered SSD storage and bandwidth
- 24/7 customer service with Live Chat support system for quick access
Pros and Cons of SiteGround Managed Hosting Services
- Blazing fast servers
- Fast and secure tech stacks
- Staging environments provided
- Limited storage space on starter plans
- Requires a 3-year contract for the lowest rates
What Customers Are Saying
SiteGround doesn’t offer much storage compared to other shared web hosting providers. However, it receives nearly universal praise for its customer service, with customers reporting near-instantaneous responses. That response time adds a significant element of peace of mind for users who need some extra help setting up the platform or working through any unexpected issues.
Common Hosting Security Features
So, what types of features would make a host more secure?
The most common hosting security features include:
- DDoS Protection
- Virus Protection
- Security Protection
- Spam Filter
- SSL Security Certificate
- Domain Name Privacy
Below, we look at what the most popular hosting security features are, what they protect your site from, and how they work.
You may have experience with firewalls on your local computer: it’s software that stops users from accessing certain types of content or specific websites.
Web server firewalls are similar but in reverse.
What Is a Firewall?
A firewall is a piece of software that filters request activity before it reaches the webserver.
Firewalls block requests based on a number of different factors.
IP-address blacklists are the most common type of filtering, blocking connections from known offenders.
Most web hosting companies have some kind of firewall.
Often, the firewall is shared by many customers, so requests blocked from accessing your system would likewise be blocked from accessing another site.
This is especially true for shared hosting plans.
What Is a Dedicated Firewall?
Some hosting companies offer something called “Dedicated Firewall” as a service.
This allows for specific rules to be made concerning who is (and isn’t) blocked from accessing your website.
This is usually not needed, but it can be if you process especially sensitive information.
For example, white lists from sites sharing the same firewall can be a potential attack vector.
DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a type of attack where thousands of requests are sent to a website all at once, overloading its ability to process them and effectively shutting the site down.
Who Launches DDoS Attacks?
DDoS attacks are usually automated and the request volume comes from a distributed network of (usually hijacked)computers.
DDoS attacks have been launched by:
- Online activist groups
- Organized crime rings
- Government agencies.
What Is DDoS Protection?
DDoS protection requires a number of related tactics, the core of which involves analyzing DDoS activity so that requests related to the DDoS are blocked while legitimate traffic is still able to get through.
Many web hosting companies, and even several CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), have some kind of DDoS protection.
There are a number of computer viruses live on the open web, and they can seriously compromise your sensitive data and your operational integrity.
A secure web hosting platform must include a robust anti-virus system that is updated regularly and consistently monitored.
What to Look for in Anti-Virus Protection
This security system must not only protect the datacenter where your website is hosted but have back-end protection for each individual site as well.
The datacenter protection protocols differ on a host-by-host basis, but on a server level you’ll want to look for bundled software like Sitelock, Incapsula, or even Cloudflare CDN integration.
No matter how secure your web hosting plan, there is almost always some possibility of an attack.
No system is fully immune.
If your site has already been hacked you should contact your web host as soon as possible.
For this reason, especially sensitive data should be protected with live security monitoring.
This means that a computer system is constantly analyzing traffic and activity, and will report to a live human if any anomalies show up.
The site manager can then quickly deal with the problem if there is one.
HTTPS / SSL Security Certificates
If you are asking for users to enter sensitive information, or are showing sensitive information to your users, you need to make sure that your plan has an SSL Security Certificate, which allows it to work in HTTPS mode.
Google considers SSL to be good practice for all sites and as of 2018, Google Chrome began marking sites without SSL as “unsafe.”
HTTPS creates a secure, encrypted communication channel between the user and the website, protecting from data like credit card and Social Security numbers.
Email Spam Filtering
Email spam doesn’t comprise a significant threat to site security, although a massive influx of emails could potentially cause the same problem as a DDoS attack.
Email spam filtering is a second layer of security, the kind of protection you use to make your experience more pleasant — it protects more than your website.
Anti-spam protection is the most common form of email account security and will help you in more ways than just stopping the onslaught of spam emails.
For example, spam filtering can help keep email storage costs down, it’ll decrease the chances of you missing an important email, and can help prevent negative backlash on your reputation.
Domain Name Privacy
When you purchase a domain name, your name, address, and other contact information becomes available for anyone who wishes to have it — unless you purchase domain name privacy. This type of protection, often offered through your host, keeps your information private.
Similar to email spam filtering, domain name privacy is more about protecting you than your server.
However, depending on the nature of your business, this might be an important consideration.
Are Certain Types of Hosting More Secure Than Others?
When looking for the perfect secure hosting environment, you’ve undoubtedly come across a variety of different options: dedicated, managed hosting, VPS, shared hosting, WordPress hosting, e-commerce hosting.
The hosting environment you choose will have a direct impact on your overall security.
Adding Security Features
Most hosting environments can be improved by adding firewalls, installing site-wide apps, or installing additional software.
But, some styles of hosting will be much more secure right out of the box, as we explore below.
Shared vs Dedicated Hosting
Shared hosting will probably be the least secure type of hosting since you’ll be sharing a server with dozens or hundreds of other sites. But, this depends on the security protocols of your shared host.
For example, some shared hosts employ 24/7 server monitoring, encryption, spam protection, and even offer integrated CDNs.
All of this will help to improve the security of your site without much additional effort on your end.
If you need to protect your website from censorship or certain types of regulation, an offshore web hosting company may provide security against lawsuits, take-down notices, and other types of government intrusion.
Is Managed Hosting More Secure?
Managed hosting environments tend to have a higher level of security as there are fewer sites using server resources, and site-specific security measures can be put in place. For example, if you’re using a WordPress-managed host then your server environment will be uniquely configured to protecting the WordPress CMS, and the support team behind you will have in-depth technical knowledge related to the platform you’re using.
With managed hosting, some hosts also take responsibility for keeping your site up to date, which can plug common security risks.
Use Good Software and Keep It Updated
The most secure hosting environment in the world will not keep you safe if you use software with exploitable security bugs in it.
Using well-respected software, and keeping it updated as new versions are released, will help protect your site against a number of malicious attacks.
Security for E-Commerce Sites
Generally, an e-commerce host environment should have higher security standards in place as you’ll need additional levels of protection for collecting and storing sensitive customer data, like credit card information.
Some security features of e-commerce hosts include:
- Bundled SSL certificate
- PCI-compliant payment processor
- DDoS protection
- Regular backups
- Server and sitewide firewalls.
Server environments like dedicated and VPS hosting can either be more or less secure depending on the user.
Without the proper system admin knowledge, you run the risk of creating a much less secure hosting environment.
You do have the added benefit of being the only site using the current server resources, but, again, this will depend on your ability to make the most of this environment.
Should I Choose VPS or Dedicated Servers?
Using shared hosting opens up your site to a possible security risk because an attack on any other sites on the same server could have repercussions for your site.
Hosting companies go to a lot of trouble to make sure this does not happen, but it is still inherently safer to use a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a Dedicated server than sharing a server with dozens or hundreds of other websites.
As an added bonus, going with a VPS or dedicated server will offer much more disk space, so you can grow your site as you see fit.
What Should I Look for in a Secure Host?
Keeping all of the above information in mind will help you get started finding the right secure host for your needs.
Here is a list of features to keep in mind when looking for a secure host:
- An included SSL certificate, or the option to purchase one easily
- The ability to process secure credit card payments
- Two-factor authentication to protect website and server logins
- The option to upgrade to a more secure managed hosting environment
- Inclusion of the SiteLock security tool that scans for malware and vulnerabilities
- Email anti-spam protection included
- Bundled automated backups and system restore points
- Regular network monitoring for unusual site traffic activity
- Ability to assign user permissions on a site and server level.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is secure hosting?
Is shared hosting secure?
Which hosting provider is the best?
How do I install an SSL certificate?
Is Linux more secure than Windows?
Is GoDaddy hosting secure?
Compare Popular Web Hosting Plans
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin:
Popular Host Choice for 2022
BlueHostStarting at $2.75/mo View Current Deal
DreamhostStarting at $2.59/mo View Current Deal
A2 HostingStarting at $2.99/mo View Current Deal
SiteGroundStarting at $3.99/mo View Current Deal
HostGatorStarting at $2.64/mo View Current Deal
HostingerStarting at $2.59/mo View Current Deal