Millions of years ago (about 1998), we paid people people a lot of money to host our websites. Thousands of years ago (about 2005) we still did. This is because the internet speed required to suitably host a website was only found on the Internets “backbone”. Web servers were a magicians tool that mere mortal man couldn’t understand. Now though, internet speed at home is great (mainly) and most people can understand enough to host their own site, so why do we still pay?
In the old days (old days! Lol. I’m not that old and my childhood is already in a science museum) we would pay a company that housed its servers on the Internets backbone. These magical dark artists would host our sites and back them up and patch the mystical servers when needed. They would boast things like 99.9% up-time guaranteed. And we loved them for it. It was great, and it was easy. What it wasn’t, was cheap, but that was OK, we were paying for a service we could not do for ourselves.
Let’s Talk Hosting
If you look on Google or any other search engine, look on YouTube or similar, you will find thousands of results on how to turn your computer into web server. You can get a static IP easily enough or there are services that will re-point your web traffic to your dynamic IP. This, so far, is easy and cheap. GREAT!!
So let’s say you have followed a nice guide on YouTube and you are hosting your own website for a small business. You are saving money because you are hosting it yourself, yes? Brilliant. Let’s just check a few things, is it:
- Fully patched and up to date?
- Is there any anti-virus?
- Firewall configured correctly?
- Firewall up to date?
- Do you have a back up of your web-server and/or website?
- How about a backup of EVERYTHING on your network?
- How stable is your internet connection?
The thing is, yes, most of the tings on this list are easy to configure and do if you have the knowledge – and don’t forget we don’t know what we don’t know. So you may think you have everything covered. But what people frequently forget is a small, insignificant detail. A minor little thing. A mere trifle.
What Have I Missed?
You have just advertised your network to the whole word. Which you probably don’t actually want to do. You want the world to see your beautiful website, of course, but you have told every hacker in the world where you network begins. Its most vulnerable entry point. It’s Achilles heel.
Let me put it this way, if you were a soldier being held down by a sniper, instead of hiding and mis-directing him (or her, let’s be fair it is 2019), you have just stood up and waved a flag whilst playing the national anthem. Inconspicuous, you are not.
This is what you have just done in a web/hacker way. You have announced exactly where your servers are to every hacker in the word. So here is the question: DID YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THAT???
If you employ someone like me on a full time basis who is constantly checking, updating and patching, and keeping up with the latest threats and also monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic, then OK, fair enough. You are probably safe enough.
If you don’t employ someone like me, then you are broadcasting your location to snipers whilst having no armour or defence, which could make life “interesting” for you.
If you use a hosting company, this very real threat is eliminated. Your servers are not on that network. Your data is safe. It is now someone else’s responsibility to take care of all that web and hacker stuff. Phew!
So, when we look around we can see a load of hosting options that are, actually, really cheap. Especially when compared to how they used to be millions of years ago (still in the 90’s remember). Codixy (other companies are available) do packages starting at around £5 per month. Is your security worth £5 a month to you? If you were to be attacked by a nice little hacker man, your data encrypted and ransomed, would that be more than £5 per month do you think?
Maybe you like to gamble. You think that nobody is going to be interested in your website or your company or charity or personal site. You now what? Maybe, just maybe, you are right. The chances are of course, that you are wrong. I work for a disabled sports charity and their website was hacked a few years ago. What did the hacker gain? Nothing actually, I am not bad at what I do. It caused inconvenience and me to get mad at a certain large hosting company, but apart from that, they lost nothing.
So, conclusion time. That time we all look forward to. What is my considered opinion? What is my point? Well, my point is that it really doesn’t matter what sort of site you have, sooner or later, some nice little hacker is going to try and ruin your day. They say that there are two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked. It’s up to you whether it just annoys you or it ruins you. £5 a month isn’t bad for a security blanket is it?