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Website security: it’s that thing site owners all want, but it’s often so nebulously defined. Chances are good that if you’re reading this, then you need secure web hosting for an online shop, an institutional website, or a membership-driven user portal, and we’re here to help.
Many hosts do the bare minimum to secure their shared hosting plans; others advertise themselves as “the most secure” and charge inflated prices to match, without doing much more than conforming to basic industry standards. We’ve tested all the top hosts to find the ones that balance price and user-friendliness while providing solid security measures.
As you may have guessed by now, because you probably read the title, we found ten providers that we like a lot. Of all, Hostinger impressed us the most, being both affordable while also offering top-grade security. Read on to see why, and which other hosts made the list.
Here’s the quick rundown on every security feature we like to see in a hosting provider’s plans, with a beginner-friendly explanation of each. If you don’t spend your whole life doing web stuff, these are the very basics of what you need to know about hosting security features, and why they’re important:
SSL Certificates. SSL (AKA Secure Sockets Layer) is a method of encrypting any data that is sent from your visitors to your site so that it can’t be easily intercepted, and every website with this feature is associated with an “SSL Certificate.” SSL doesn’t prevent your website itself from being hacked, but it helps protect your users, and in turn, your bottom line.
Firewall. A firewall prevents people from connecting to your website’s server in ways that are not authorized – in other words, they can look at your website or purchase your products, but they can’t make changes to the files on the site or upload files to the server. It’s also one of the most reliable tools used to stop brute force attacks. If your host sees repeated attacks coming from one IP address, they can have the firewall block it.
Antivirus Protection. Most web hosts run their servers on some variation of the Linux operating system, so they scan for Linux-targeted malware, of course. But they also need to scan for Windows and Mac malware, because sometimes hackers will try to upload viruses targeted at Windows and Mac users. Having a good antivirus on hand protects your site and everyone who visits it.
DDoS Protection. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks occur when someone directs a bunch of already-infected computers to access a website all at once and repeatedly. Depending on various factors, these attacks can take websites down for days at a time, and sometimes longer. DDoS protection is designed to give your website more (temporary) resources to handle the increased traffic so regular users aren’t affected, and to identify the source of the attack and block it.
Good Customer Support. Sometimes you just need to get a human involved. Having a lot of automated security features is a good thing, of course, but no solution is 100% perfect. There may be times when you need tech support to go in and remove malware for you, or help you deal with an active attack.
Bonus Points for the Hosts With the Following Features:
Two-factor authentication. Making it harder for anyone but you to log into your hosting account is always a plus.
Automated website monitoring features. When someone tries to attack your site, you want to know about it, and you want at least some protective measures to be taken automatically.
Web application firewall (WAF). Basically, this is a fancier version of a standard firewall, designed to prevent attacks on interactive web apps, more so than content-focused sites.
Custom-developed security solutions. Third-party security solutions are good and all, but I like to see proprietary security features from the hosts themselves. It means they have something built specifically for their server setup.
Hostinger is currently our top-rated budget hosting provider here at Website Planet, and for good reason: the starting prices are low enough that almost anyone can afford to make their first website and (hopefully) start making money off it, if that is the goal. It’s also quite beginner-friendly, it provides good support, and it delivers some of the best server performance available from shared hosting.
But all the low starting prices and easy-to-use features in the world won’t stop a hacker. Fortunately, Hostinger has kitted its servers out with a wide range of effective security tools, outlined in the feature section below.
The host also goes out of its way to monitor, secure, and maintain its hardware and facilities. Besides 24/7 server monitoring, Hostinger has a dedicated internal security team, applies OWASP secure coding practices, and regularly updates and backs up its systems and data.
A free domain name is included with some hosting plans from Hostinger
A custom-built firewall. Remember how I said custom-built security solutions were good? Hostinger agrees, and it has its own firewall that was built in-house. Gotta love that.
Imunify360 (cPanel hosting) and BitNinja (VPS plans) security suites. These are well-respected, third-party security solutions that, when combined, provide the following (and more): antivirus and anti-malware protection, Webshield software that automatically identifies online attackers (bonus points!), and a web application firewall (more bonus points!).
Advanced security modules for PHP. PHP is a programming language that is used to power a lot of websites. And I do mean a lot. Most of the popular content management systems (including WordPress, which accounts for 40% of all websites) run on PHP, so making sure those systems are secured is paramount. Hostinger thought ahead on this one.
Free SSL certificates. Even if you don’t need to encrypt form data from your site visitors, you should be using SSL, or browsers like Chrome and Firefox may flag your site as insecure. Luckily, Hostinger includes SSL certificates available for free. As well it should.
Nexcess is more expensive than Hostinger but it makes up for this by being even easier to use in general, while also having incredibly reliable servers and advanced security features.
It also has experts on hand to step in whenever you need help – its support team is one of the best. Nexcess’s fully-managed CMS-specific plans are ultra-secure, partially because it manages its own global, PCI-compliant, Tier 4 data center facilities. The iThemes Security Pro plugin is also included with all plans, ramping up security considerably.
Built specifically for WordPress sites, iThemes works 24/7 to protect your site from malware, brute force attacks, spam, bots, attacks, and more.
Nexcess, on the whole, is the best option for anyone who doesn’t want to do all that much except tweak their website’s design and put in the content. Leave the rest to the experts, and enjoy a beverage of your choice.
Web application firewall and antivirus software. That’s right, Nexcess comes with one of them fancy firewalls, and the standard but oh-so-necessary antivirus protection. If you want to build the next great web app (we’ll pitch it as “Uber for Facebook”), Nexcess’ firewall will have you covered, with a side order of DDoS protection.
Managed hosting and real-time monitoring. You can get managed hosting plans for WordPress, Magento, and WooCommerce, which means that a team of experts will manage everything related to your web hosting, including security and software updates. On top of that, Nexcess boasts advanced website monitoring capabilities to spot problems whenever they might show up.
This hosting is PCI DSS compliant. Without going into the incredibly complex details, this means that Nexcess is officially considered secure enough that you can take online credit card payments through their servers. The people who are in charge of that sort of thing have decreed it so.
Free SSL certificates. Nexcess has you covered in this department. Your visitors need never fear the dreaded “unlocked padlock” icon that shows up in the browser’s address bar when visiting an unsecured site.
Want cheap, reliable, and secure hosting with all the trimmings? Do you want to have it with a company that’s been trusted by Fortune 500 companies since 1999? InterServer offers all of that and so much more, including easy ways to install hundreds of popular web apps on your account.
InterServer is not third on this list because it’s inferior in terms of security, but because its data centers are all in North America. This means it’s a great option for serving customers in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico – and even some parts of Western Europe – whereas your site may load more slowly in the rest of the world.
As to security, InterServer actually has its own in-house security suite included free with all plans – InterShield Security. IP blacklist checks and blocking, account isolation, threat scanning, PHP privilege controls, and more are included, working together to protect your site from known threats.
Custom-built security suite. InterServer’s security suite, developed in-house, includes a virus scanner, a firewall powered by machine learning, a regularly-updated malware database (to help out with those scans), and more.
Includes Imunify360. In addition to its own suite of tools, InterServer uses Imunify 360 to supplement its own security system. Hey, redundancies are important for security. Hey, redundancies are important for security. Hey… you get the idea.
DDoS protection. Once again, there is no need to worry that some script kiddy (an amateur hacker who buys pre-made hacking tools) will be able to knock your website down because they got mad about a site comment. (It happens more often than you might think.)
Free SSL certificates. Being around since ‘99, InterServer has figured out this SSL thing.
Kinsta is an interesting beast. It’s all the way down at number four because, well, it’s expensive as heck. Also, it only hosts WordPress and WooCommerce sites, applications, and databases. That’s right, nothing else. And it costs more than any other host on this list. However, for a good reason – mainly, its services are hosted on the ultra-secure Google Cloud platform.
That’s why Kinsta still made the list: because it’s the fastest, most reliable, most convenient WordPress hosting around. Moreover – because this host specializes in WordPress – the team at Kinsta knows exactly how to secure a WordPress site, and they’d be more than happy to do it for you when needed. It’s the ultimate in paying more so you can do less of the work yourself.
Two-factor authentication. I’d like to reiterate how important it is that your actual hosting account doesn’t get hacked, as stolen accounts can be a real pain to get back. Kinsta has two-factor authentication to help you avoid that.
Enterprise-grade firewall and DDoS protection. Kinsta comes with everything you need to protect your business, blog, or magazine site when it gets popular. After all, popularity brings the angry people with botnets out of the woodwork.
A full-on security guarantee with expert help. The Kinsta support team will manually remove malware for you if need be. It’s a part of Kinsta’s security guarantee, which is standard on all plans. The team will make your site secure if they have to go in and do it themselves, but there is a caveat: the security guarantee will not be honored if your site uses pirated WordPress plugins or themes. You should always make sure you have the rights to everything on your site, in any case.
Site backups & monitoring. Kinsta-hosted sites, applications, and databases are monitored for uptime and performance and backed up automatically daily. Plus, you can also purchase additional, more frequent or external backup services.
If you’re on the hunt for affordable, secure web hosting for a variety of applications – from WordPress to e-commerce hosting – HostArmada comes highly recommended. The host offers competitively-priced, powerful-than-average cloud hosting, including shared, VPS, and dedicated options.
One of the bonuses of HostArmada hosting in regards to security is the free Imunify360 AI-Based Web Application Firewall included with all its plans. In fact, HostArmada rolls in many notable security tools and features, covering the most important aspects of securing your site and data – from encryption to backups, protection to recovery, and more.
To improve its security, HostArmada has also separated its security teams and efforts into two fleets – the Web Server Security Fleet and the Environment Security Fleet. The Web Server Security Fleet focuses on securing its web servers, including surveilling traffic and blocking incoming attacks. In contrast, the Environment Security Fleet is responsible for identifying and mitigating existing threats, such as scanning and malware removal.
A free domain name is included with some hosting plans from HostArmada
Daily backups. Get 7-21 (depending on your plan) free daily backups included with your hosting plan. Backups are stored remotely and can be restored manually via cPanel or the HostArmada team (by request).
Free malware scanning and removal. HostArmada automatically scans for and removes malware for you, keeping your site safe and secure.
Patching. HostArmada will patch all server-level vulnerabilities as soon as they are reported.
User account isolation. All shared hosting plans from HostArmada are isolated on its servers, ensuring minimal threats from other users on the server.
InMotion Hosting will fit the bill for many US-based customers, having good prices, decent performance (though the servers are a bit slower than InterServer’s), and a slightly confusing but still generally usable interface.
InMotion Hosting boasts a highly-trained support team and an extensive knowledge base as its claim to fame, alongside providing solid security. If you don’t mind learning to do certain tasks on your own and your website targets users in North America, InMotion Hosting stands as a reliable choice.
SSH access is granted, alongside SSH keys and ironclad authentication, ensuring maximum customizability and security. The host’s Security Suite is also included with all plans, covering all the basics, such as malware and hack protection, patching, DDoS protection, automatic backups, and more.
PHP malware protection by Monarx. Okay, remember how I said most of all the websites out there run on PHP? InMotion Hosting has accounted for this by integrating Monarx, a third-party security product that helps to prevent PHP-based malware from being left on your site undiscovered. Third-party attacks and bad WordPress plugins begone!
Firewall, antivirus, and expert help. You get the usual firewall and antivirus software combo, and that will take care of many potential threats on its own. As previously mentioned, the support team is well-trained and ready to help. While the hosting plans aren’t managed like those on Nexcess, you can request manual virus scans if something has gone very wrong.
DDoS protection. You know the drill by now. Someone tries to take your site down, but haHA! It stays up! Can’t complain about that.
Automatic backups. InMotion Hosting’s Backup Manager automatically backs up your site and data for you, also allowing you to schedule and restore backups.
A2 Hosting is reliable, is available globally, and delivers some of the best shared hosting speeds we’ve recorded. It also has a great track record of server uptime, which speaks to the security features in play. And there are quite a few extra security features as well.
A2 Hosting only got to the bottom of this list because of our experiences with its customer support team. The biggest problem is that it can take a while for you to get help, and in an emergency, that’s definitely not ideal. But the technological solutions in play can do a lot to make up for the lack of immediate human response by preventing most problems before they become problems.
A2 Hosting’s Perpetual Security services ensure security is kept at a high level. Featuring 24/7/365 HackScan, KernelCare kernel update software, Reinforced DDoS Protection, a firewall, brute force attack protection, scanning, server hardening, and monitoring, the host is committed to limiting threats for all of its infrastructure and customers.
CSF, brute force detection, and antivirus. A2 Hosting offers a comprehensive suite of security tools including antivirus software, a well-regarded firewall solution called ConfigServer and Firewall (CSF), detection for brute force attacks, DDoS protection, and an additional firewall. Oh, that’s not enough? How about the 24/7 use of HackScan, servers that have all non-critical components disabled, and more? It’s a lot of protection in one place, and A2 Hosting has decades of experience keeping its servers running.
Two-factor authentication. Again, this feature can help to keep one person’s website from magically becoming someone else’s website because someone used their pet turtle’s birthday year as a password. Look, I’m sure Donatello is a really clever pet, but everyone needs a more secure password. Like your social security number… KIDDING. Kidding. Never do that.
Managed WordPress hosting. To mitigate issues related to delayed responses from the support team, you can opt for a managed WordPress hosting plan, which, like Nexcess and Kinsta, entails A2 Hosting’s team taking care of updates, security, and other essential site maintenance tasks for you.
Secure data centers. A2 Hosting protects its server hardware and data centers with keycard access, locked cages, and video surveillance.
Scala Hosting ups the security of its hosting services via its security suite. Just like HostArmada’s firewall, the entire Scala Hosting SShield suite is AI-driven, automatically detecting suspicious behavior via machine learning – without relying on virus databases and such.
Via Scala Hosting’s (also) proprietary hosting panel – SPanel – users are able to manage their security. However, all SShield tools are automated – including 24/7/365 monitoring, 99.998%-accurate attack blocking, and notifications. Yes, you’re also sent a report in the event of a suspicious instance so you can fix it ASAP.
IONOS offers a free Wildcard SSL/TLS certificate, which allows you to secure not only your main site, but any additional sites or sections under subdomains (“subsection.domainname.com”). It features 256-bit encryption instead of 128-bit encryption, improving the security of your site. If you go with another host, you may need to pay extra for a similar grade of SSL.
The host also runs web servers on the HTTP/2 network protocol, which is more secure than HTTP/1.1. Besides this, IONOS includes all the expected security tools and features with its plans – DDoS protection, backups, and site scanning. Plus, the host has georedundant servers, which mirror your site data across many data centers, ensuring it stays up all the time.
With a smart web application firewall (WAF), AI-driven anti-bot, 24/7 server monitoring, and free SSL (Let’s Encrypt), SiteGround is one step ahead of hackers and malware. The host also specially developed a free WordPress security plugin (SG Security), which helps secure sites hosted on this CMS against threats that may target its vulnerabilities. For an extra fee, you can also add Site Scanner (an advanced malware scanner) to the mix.
SiteGround plans are also hosted on ultra-secure Google Cloud servers, which offer improved security as well as global performance. Should the data center hosting your site be affected by a disaster, you’re also covered. Geographically distributed backups allow for fast recovery and restoration of your site data.
So Which Host Should You Go With?
That depends on your specific needs, but the fact that this listicle even exists means some options are better than others, and you should start by looking closely at the top three:
Hostinger has all the security features you’ll need and is very cheap for new website owners. But despite this, still incorporates above-average security measures into its plans.
Nexcess offers managed hosting with built-in security they will configure for you, which can save you so much time. Its in-house-managed data centers further ramp up security – as does the included iThemes Security Pro, which is especially useful if you’re hosting a WordPress site (which can be subject to increased risk being a plugin-based CMS).
InterServer is reliable and one of the grandaddies of the web hosting industry… if you want a provider with a pedigree and a deep knowledge of online security. The host’s InterShield Security suite is complemented by Imunify360 tools, leading to a very secure hosting environment.
Okay, that was a lot of information. For your convenience, here’s a quick rundown of all the hosts and what makes them special.
In brief, it can be. Plenty of shared hosting providers do just the basics to keep expenses low. Winning web hosts understand that if they don’t do more to ensure their clients’ websites are safe, those clients will leave. If you jumped straight down to this FAQ, go back up to the top of our list to find the best secure hosts that are also reasonably affordable.
Which host is the most secure?
The one that’s not actually connected to the internet. Okay, that sounds like a joke (and mostly it is), but no security solution is perfect, and new threats are emerging all the time. The most important aspect of choosing a secure hosting plan is finding a provider that takes it seriously. It must put in the work required to keep its security measures current, and it must respond quickly to problems that arise.
Are secure web hosts expensive?
They certainly don’t have to be. We’ve dedicated a large portion of Website Planet to reviewing the best hosts and the best ways to build your first website. After all that investigative work, we have yet to find any compelling evidence that the most expensive options are automatically the best.
You may find yourself paying more for specific features or convenience, but you absolutely can get reliably secure hosting at reasonable prices.
Is Hostinger secure?
Yes. On top of being a generally affordable, feature-filled, and easy-to-use hosting provider, it has a comprehensive suite of security features and great customer support. Hostinger is at the top of our list of the best web hosts in 2023 for that reason and many more.
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
A freelance author, graphic designer, and photographer, Caitlin Greyling writes about web hosting, web builder software, graphic design, tech, and electronics, and has published hundreds of product reviews and comparisons for Website Planet, The Daily Mail, and Durability Matters. Her creative and technical knowledge has been showcased at PictureCorrect, Photutorial, and others. She is currently studying for an NCTJ diploma in journalism. When Caitlin’s not working, she’s exploring nature with her son and dog or relaxing at home with her cat.