VPS Hosting has gained immense popularity in web hosting due to the host of benefits it offers. Positioned as the perfect combination of Shared and Dedicated Hosting architecture, it offers the control and isolation of Dedicated at prices closer to Shared Hosting, making it the perfect choice for growing websites. The account isolation and dedicated allocation of resources are the USPs of VPS Hosting.
Another feature that makes VPS a winner is the total control over the virtual server that it offers. This control is made possible by full root access, which allows you to customise your hosting space as you see fit. But for the effective utilisation of the root, access demands a level of expertise and knowledge.
Let’s take a look at the meaning and uses of full root access in VPS Hosting.
What is root access in VPS?
The construct of ‘Root’ is native to Linux, and it essentially refers to a type of user. A root user has access to the entirety of the server. A root user can edit, move, delete, or install any file, application or program.
An easy way to understand the root user is to think of your home PC running on Windows.
Every now and then, if you try to delete an application, Windows will open a pop-up window and ask for ‘Administrator’ access. It tells you that only the administrator can do that particular task. The idea is to ensure that a guest user isn’t making unilateral changes to the computer.
The ‘Root’ user is like the ‘Administrator’ for Linux systems. Root access basically means that you have access to all the files of the system, and you can make any modifications of your choice.
Thus, root access is available on Linux VPS plans. But what is Linux VPS?
VPS Hosting, if you aren’t already aware, is a type of web hosting where multiple websites share the resources of a server but do not share resources between themselves. When you buy VPS, you get the option to choose the Operating System of your choice – Windows or Linux. The VPS plan that runs on the Linux OS is called the Linux VPS Hosting plan.
In a VPS Hosting setup, server virtualisation powered by a hypervisor allows for complete isolation of each virtual server from the other. Once resources are allocated to a website, those resources become non-shareable. They are boxed in for that website. This allows the website to be turned into an independent virtual machine that is not affected by the resource consumption of other websites. The virtual server becomes a small server of its own and allows web hosting companies to offer root access to their customers.
The root access in VPS allows you to run your website like a server of its own, allowing you to make whatever changes you want – you can install server-wide applications, edit system files, make changes to the security configuration of your server, and do so much more.
Root access in VPS — how to optimise your VPS with it
- Port management:
Most cyber-attacks on websites happen through bots. These are malicious programs written by hackers that automatically target a website and steal data. What enables these bots is the fact that most website owners never change or close open ports.
The way to avoid these attacks is twofold. One, close all ports that you’re not using. Closing these unused ports will lower your risk exposure. The way to do this is quite simple when you have root access. You can just ask your server to list all ports that are open and aren’t being used.
Second, change the default listening ports. For example, the default SSH listening port is port 22. Change to another number. Most bots, at least today, cannot attack your network if you’ve changed the default ports.
- Disable all hotlinking:
Hotlinking, simply put, is bandwidth theft. The way it’s done is quite simple. When someone wants to use an image that’s on your website, the proper way to do it is by downloading that image and then re-uploading it to their website. However, a lot of people just grab the link of the image that’s on your website, and they paste that link online.
The problem with this is that whenever that image needs to be loaded, your server has to do it. Think about it — it’s not an image that is bringing revenue or views or clicks to your website, and yet, your server is having to spend resources to load your image on a completely unrelated website. While it may not seem like a huge problem if your website is still new and small, it’ll become a huge problem as your website grows.
Root access allows you to disable hotlinking to all media. This ensures that your server isn’t wasting resources to load media on some other website.
- Regulate applications accessing the internet:
Some applications need to use the internet to work. Those applications should have access to the internet. However, there are a lot of applications that don’t need to use the internet for normal functioning. Ensure that those applications don’t have access to use the internet.
Each application accessing the internet each time constitutes a threat. If applications don’t have to go online, they shouldn’t be. Use root access to disable access.
- Consider installing a third-party security application:
There are several third-party security applications that provide enterprise-level security for your website for a nominal monthly or yearly charge. Without root access, installing them is a bit of an issue. You have to contact your web hosting company and tell them why you want an application. They’ll review your request and then decide if they can allow it or not.
With root access, you don’t have to do that. You have complete control. So, if you’re cautious about security and want to better fortify your website, consider installing a third-party security application.
- Restrict access to root users:
The only disadvantage of having root access is that it’s very powerful, and if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you can easily erase everything on the server or modify critical files, which can crash your website.
The best way out of this is to restrict access to root user privileges. Not everyone needs root access. An employee who edits photos and videos for your website does not need root access. Neither does an employee who keeps books. The fact is that the only people who need root access are system admins. Root access allows you to create user profiles and allocate privileges to users. Use this feature. In fact, arguably, this is the first thing that you should do when you get root access.
The root access in VPS is a powerful way to secure your website. It’s also a great tool to increase the performance of your website.
HostGator India offers complete root access with its VPS Hosting plans. Along with root access, we offer pre-installed cPanel, powerful SSD storage drives, Linux servers with KVM hypervisors, pre-integrated DDoS protection, 24×7 customer support and much more! Visit us today to know more.