Dedicated Hosting is one of the most powerful hosting platforms available today. In a Dedicated Server setup, an entire website, along with all its resources are dedicated to a single user. Due to the elimination of resource sharing, the Dedicated Server Hosting setup offers advanced security, privacy customizability and control.
One of the ways in which Linux Dedicated Server Hosting offers control and customizability is through root access (similar to ‘Admin’ access in Windows Servers). In this article, we will decode Dedicated Servers with root access and how you can make the most of the full root access in Dedicated Hosting.
What is Root Access in Linux Dedicated Server Hosting?
The word ‘root’ refers to a username in Linux. All Linux systems, irrespective of whether it’s a server or a normal home computer, have one username that’s called root. In Linux, the root user is the default administrator for a computer. Therefore, a root user has the highest level of access in any Linux based computer. A root user can edit files, delete applications, modify system configurations, and basically take control of the server settings.
Thus, in a Linux Dedicated Server, root access allows the user to install applications/software, delete applications/software, tweak security settings, ensure regular Dedicated Server maintenance and so much more, thereby guaranteeing complete control.
In most forms of Shared Servers, root access isn’t given to the customers because multiple people have to share the resources of a single server and giving root access to all customers isn’t really possible. However, when you have a Dedicated Server, you are the sole operator of the server and therefore, you get root access.
Let us now see how you can benefit from this root access.
Tips to Make the Most of a Dedicated Server with Root Access
Regulate access to the internet for applications
One of the most important tenets of cyber security is to avoid the problem completely when there’s an opportunity to. Some applications on your Dedicated Server need an internet connection to function.
However, you’ll find that there are a whole host of applications that don’t need an internet connection to function. Yes, they may need to be updated every once in a while but their core function does not require them to be online.
Ensure that you disable internet access for all such applications. Every time an application has to go online, your network is at potential risk. While that may seem like an exaggeration, the fact is that minimizing risk is the best way to avoid cyber attacks. Disabling internet access to specific applications is an important part of that.
Basic port management
The number of cyber-attacks taking place around the globe has unfortunately been going up for a while now. One of the major contributions to these rising numbers is bot attacks. Bot attacks are cyber-attacks that are completely conducted and executed by pieces of software called bots.
One of the main reasons why bots can attack websites is because most websites stick with the same default server settings. It’s easier to program bots when targets are all alike.
To prevent bot attacks, ensure that all unused ports on your server are closed. Fewer open ports mean fewer places to attack. Also, make sure to change the default port numbers on the server. For example, the default listening port for SSH is 22. Change that to another number. It’s easy to do and there are many guides online.
When your website is accessed by a browser, your server sends across information in the form of text, files, images, videos, and so on. Once all this data is downloaded and processed, it’s displayed for the visitor to see.
When someone wants to use an image that’s on your website, the right way to do it is by downloading the image and then reuploading it to their website separately. However, some people just don’t bother with this process. Instead, they just copy the link of the image and post it on their website. This is called hotlinking.
When the URL of an image is pasted on a webpage, the onus of loading that image falls to your server, irrespective of what website that image resides on. So, if some 20 websites have an image that originally belongs to you and they’ve all just pasted links, your server will be loading images on 20 websites that aren’t yours.
Hotlinking is bandwidth theft and with root access, you can disable all hotlinking. Images, videos, animations — all media.
Use third-party applications whenever necessary
One of the most important advantages of having root access is that you can install and uninstall server-wide applications on your Dedicated Server without any approval from the web hosting company.
There’s a whole range of important security applications that aren’t natively supported by web hosting companies. However, with root access, you don’t have to worry about it. You can install security applications that are specifically designed for small businesses and collect fees on a subscription basis, such as SiteLock Website Security.
These applications monitor your website continuously, scan for malware, virus, and do so much more. In the long term, the security of your server is crucial.
Restrict access to root user credentials
The only disadvantage of root access is that it allows you to do whatever you want to do. There are no further checks, it won’t prevent you from doing certain things — nothing. It’ll execute whatever command is given to it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy to cause serious trouble.
Therefore, ensure that the people who have access to the root user credentials are people who know how to use them. It’s not even a question of malice. Well-intentioned people can cause serious problems just out of sheer ignorance. So, ensure that root access credentials are only given to people who absolutely need it and know what to do with it.
However, along with the root access, it is imperative to look at other critical features like the quality of the server hardware, the tech support, the hosting panels provided and the overall reliability of the hosting provider. For instance, HostGator India offers 24×7 dedicated tech support with all our Linux Dedicated Hosting plans. For more details, you can go through our product page today!