7 Ways to Secure Your VPS

This blog will provide 7 essential ways to protect your VPS against possible unauthorised entry and cyber risks.

Why Securing VPS is Important

While VPS instances are generally considered safer than shared hosting due to their isolated nature, it is still possible for the security of a VPS system to be compromised. If a VPS is breached, the owner of the VPS can end up spending thousands of dollars with stolen personal and financial information, customer data loss, and destroyed website content. To prevent these types of cyber threats, it is crucial to take necessary security measures. In this article, we will discuss seven strategies you can implement to help secure your VPS from hackers, malware, and other threats.

7 Ways to Secure VPS

1. Keep Your System up to Date

Keeping your VPS software up to date is a crucial step in maintaining its security and protecting it against potential vulnerabilities and exploits. Outdated software can leave your system open to potential attacks by hackers or malicious software as it lacks of software updates, which often include critical security patches and bug fixes that address known vulnerabilities. End-of-life (EOL) product, such as Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R, Windows 7 operating system, is an example of outdated software. Its vendor no longer deliver services or stop generating updates that correct flaws and protect the software from hackers. If you’re using any EOL products, it’s advised to take proactive security measures or upgrade them to newer versions/editons.

To prevent these types of security risks, it is essential to regularly update your VPS software, including the operating system and any applications or services that you are running. If possible, you can set up automatic updates. This will ensure that your system is regularly updated with the latest security patches and other critical updates without requiring you to manually check for updates and install them. In addition to updating your VPS software, it is also important to monitor for any new security alerts or advisories related to the software you are using. Keeping abreast of the latest security threats and vulnerabilities will help you take any necessary action to secure your VPS and prevent potential attacks.

Keep Windows Server updated

For Windows VPS, you may find the tutorial useful:
How to Install Windows Updates on Windows Server 2019

Check screen version on Linux servers.
Keep the Linux Kernel and software updated
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
yum update

2. Change Default RDP Port and Change Default SSH Port

Connecting to a VPS via RDP (for Windows VPS) / SSH (for Linux VPS) is a common practice among users, but it comes with a risk of becoming a victim of a brute-force attack. This is because the default port (Port 22 for SSH and Port 3389 for RDP connections) is well-known and frequently targeted by hackers. By probing IP addresses on these default ports, attackers can create a list of potential targets and launch brute-force attacks. Changing the default ports is a simple but effective step you can take to protect your servers from such attacks. To learn more about how to implement these security measures on both Windows and Linux VPS, please refer to the video guides below.

3. Use a Strong Password

In today's digital age, hackers have become increasingly resourceful and sophisticated in their techniques, making simple passwords no longer a safe solution to secure your VPS accounts. Weak passwords can easily be guessed or cracked using automated software tools, which can give attackers access to your VPS and sensitive data.

To protect your VPS, it is important to use strong and unique passwords for all accounts, including the root account and any user accounts you create. You should avoid using simple or easily guessable passwords such as "password," "123456," "QWERTY," or personal information, such as your name or birthdate, in your passwords. Strong passwords are typically long, complex, and contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, for example, m#P52s@ap$V. Finally, it is important to regularly update your passwords, especially if you suspect that they may have been compromised or if you have used the same password for an extended period of time.

To create a strong password, you can use a strong password generator. A password generator is a tool designed to generate a strong password that are complex and less susceptible to being easily guessed or hacked. Usually, the generator creates random password by following certain rules you set. Simply search for password generator in browser, you can find many solutions.

Search for password generator

With a strong password in hand, you can then follow the Youtube video tutorials to change passwords for accounts in your VPS.

4. Enable Firewall

A firewall provides network security by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic based on user-defined rules. In general, the purpose of a firewall is to shield your network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic. By blocking traffic that does not meet the security criteria, a firewall can help prevent unauthorized access to your VPS and protect it from potential security threats.

There are different types of firewalls you can use to secure your VPS, including network-based firewalls and host-based firewalls. Network-based firewalls are typically installed at the network perimeter and protect multiple hosts or devices, while host-based firewalls are installed on individual hosts or devices to regulate traffic to and from that host.

To enable a firewall on your VPS, you can use the built-in firewall software that comes with your operating system, or install a third-party firewall solution. When you set up a firewall, you can define the rules that determine which traffic is allowed and which is blocked. For example, you can block traffic from specific IP addresses or ports, or restrict traffic to specific protocols or services. This can help prevent malicious traffic from reaching your VPS, such as traffic generated by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack or other types of malware. Once you have configured your firewall, it is important to regularly review and update the rules to ensure that they are up to date and effective in protecting your VPS against potential security threats.

For Windows, we provide the following guides on how to use the built-in firewall – How to Restrict RDP Connections Access Scope in Windows Firewall, How to open port in firewall, and How to Block IP in Windows Firewall.

5. Monitor VPS Server

Monitoring your VPS is an essential part of maintaining its security and ensuring that it is running smoothly. By keeping an eye on your VPS, you can quickly identify and address any potential issues before they become major problems.

One important aspect of VPS monitoring is keeping track of resource usage, such as CPU or memory usage, and network traffic. Unusual spikes or patterns in resource usage or network traffic can be a sign of unauthorized activity or a potential security breach. For example, a sudden spike in CPU or memory usage could indicate that a process or application is consuming more resources than it should, potentially indicating a malware infection or other security threat. Similarly, a sudden surge in network traffic could suggest that your VPS is under attack or that someone is attempting to access your VPS without authorization.

To monitor your VPS, there are a number of tools and techniques that you can use. For example, you can use monitoring software to track resource usage and network traffic in real-time, and set up alerts to notify you when certain thresholds are exceeded. You can also review server logs and other system reports to identify any unusual activity. You can refer to this guide on how to monitor Linux system logs with Logwatch, a log analysis and reporting tool commonly used in Linux and Unix-based systems. It monitors log files generated by various services, applications, and system components and provides a summarized report of the log activities.

In addition to monitoring your VPS for unusual activity, it is also important to regularly review your security settings and make any necessary updates or adjustments. For example, you may need to update your firewall rules, configure access controls, or install security patches to address new threats or vulnerabilities.

Another aspect of VPS monitoring is staying alert on any abnormal events such as authentication failures, failed uploads, errors, etc. These events can give you detailed information about activities happening on the server. If you perform the monitoring regularly, you would probably detect unusual activities in time and take necessary measures. Here we put together guides on how to check abnormalities on your Windows VPS or Linux VPS.

6. Perform Backups Regularly

Regular backups are essential because they provide a way to recover your data in case of an emergency or disaster. Many events such as system crashes, malware infections, and hard drive corruption & failure can cause inevitable data loss. Aside from these situations, you may also face the same problem when performing upgrades/downgrades. If your VPS experiences a hardware failure, for example, you can use your backups to restore your data to a new VPS. Similarly, if your data is lost or corrupted due to a security breach, you can use your backups to restore the data to a previous, unaffected state.

To back up your data, you can use a variety of tools and methods, such as manual backups or automated backups using backup software. You can also choose to store your backups in a variety of locations, such as a cloud storage service, an external hard drive, or a physical backup server located off-site. Database Mart provides a Remote Data Center Backup service. They can back up your selected files in drive C to their backup servers in the remote data center. Get the service if you are interested in. When choosing a backup method and location, it is important to consider factors such as the size of your data, the frequency of backups, and the level of security and redundancy you require. For example, if you have a large amount of data that changes frequently, you may need to use an automated backup solution that runs on a regular schedule. If you require high levels of security and redundancy, you may choose to store your backups in a secure, off-site location with multiple copies for added redundancy.

7. Install SSL Certificates For Everything

SSL certificates help create an encrypted channel between the server and client to secure your privacy. Having SSL, your privacy gets protected when you are transmitting documents, entering your login details, sending emails, etc. It will not only keep user data secure but also will convey trust to users. Users would know that their privacy is being taken care of when visiting your website.

Below we provide several Youtube video guides on how to install SSL certificate for website, webserver, or email.

Wrap up

Securing your VPS is essential to protect your data and ensure that your server remains up and running. In this article, we have discussed 7 ways to secure VPS, including using strong passwords, enabling a firewall, regularly monitoring VPS for unusual activity, and performing regular backup to a secure off-site location. By following these best practices, you can help protect your VPS from potential security threats, such as unauthorized access, data loss, or corruption. Additionally, it is important to keep your security settings up to date and stay informed about new security threats and vulnerabilities to ensure that your VPS remains secure over time.