How To Set Up Your LAMP Server For Security

Being able to host your own website gives you a sense of ownership like few other things on the web can do. Even more than the web, it gives you a sense of ownership just liking buying your own car or owning your own home would do. It is something that is yours and you can do whatever you want to it. It is nice to know that there is a place in cyberspace where you will be able to express your own ideas and no one can say no to you as long as it is legal. Sure you may be able to use a service like Facebook or tumblr to do something similar but when you are on websites like that you have to play by their rules. When you are hosting your own website you can do what you want.

But while there is a lot of upside when it comes to hosting your own website, there are a lot of downsides as well. Some of these downsides will happen because you were not prepared and some of these downsides will happen just because that goes along with the territory of owning a website. For example, having some people unhappy with your content can sometimes seem like a daily occurrence. There are always going to be trolls when it comes to your work so you should just be prepared for it. And having to worry about downtime is also a concern you will have when you are hosting your own website. Even a service like Google will go down every now and then. That is just the nature of the web and something that you are going to have to get used to. But the one thing that you can prepare for is the security of your website.


Getting your server ready

There are three levels of security you have to worry about when you are hosting your own web page. These different levels are the hardware level, the software level, and the presentation level. The web can be a complicated place because there are a lot of webmasters that have to worry about all three of these levels. This is especially true if you do not have managed hosting. If you have managed hosting then that means you do not have to worry about taking care of the hardware level as much because the people that you rent the server from will do that for you. But that also means that you do not have control of that server as well and you may not be able to install all of the software that you need on there.

If you do not have a managed hosting then getting the hardware ready means installing the flavor of Linux you want on the computer server. We say Linux because we are talking about a LAMP stack and the L in that equation stands for Linux. While we say “hardware” level it does not mean actually messing with the hardware because most likely it is going to be in a different state than you. What we mean is installing Linux and then the accompanying software that you are going need. You are getting the hardware ready for actual use. You want to make sure that it is an up to date version of Linux that you are using. If not then you can leave yourself open to a lot of security holes.

Now that you have installed the correct flavor of Linux, you are going to want to look at the server software you are going to be using. This will be the actual software that is going to be serving your web page to the users so you want to make sure that it is good. Most people these days use Apache but there are other alternatives. Whatever you use you want to make sure that it has all of the security patches up to date.

Now that Apache has been installed and it is updated, now it is time for the presentation layer. The presentation layer is the website you are going to be hosting on this server. While the HTML in the site is probably going to be safe, it is the JavaScript and the PHP or other server side software that you use that should concern you. These days the main way that black hat hackers are able to get into your system is through the presentation layer software. So not only does it have to be coded right you also have to worry about all of the holes that might be in the actual runtimes of the software itself. So if you are making the website yourself, make sure you look up some security tips and follow through with them. This could be the difference of having to have an elite hacker taking down your website or just an everyday script kiddie.

When you host your own website you have a little bit more responsibility then you would normally have. Make sure you are up to it.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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