Optimising the security of your website

Find out how to make your website more secure

Last updated 10th December 2021


This guide will provide you with basic knowledge to ensure that your services are always available, protect your data integrity and secure the access to your solutions. It only applies to websites hosted on OVHcloud shared Web Hosting servers.

The recommendations below are ordered by decreasing importance and increasing technical difficulty, which means that the first steps are the most essential. The security of your site will be measured by the element least protected. We therefore recommend carrying out all of the actions described in this guide.

However, if you experience any difficulties carrying out some of them, please do not hesitate to contact the OVHcloud community or our partners.

This guide explains how to improve the security your website.

OVHcloud is providing you with services for which you are responsible, with regard to their configuration and management. You are therefore responsible for ensuring they function correctly.

This guide is designed to assist you in common tasks as much as possible. Nevertheless, we recommend that you contact a specialist service provider and/or discuss the issue with our community on if you have difficulties or doubts. You can find more information in the Go further section of this guide.



Step 1 - Check the security of your devices

This first step is essential. Infecting your computer with a malicious software can potentially give the attacker access to all of your keyboard input. As a result, the credentials you use to log in on your OVHcloud Control Panel or the admin interface for your website would be compromised.

In addition, the growing phenomenon of ransomware (about 400 cases in France in 2020) may not only lead to the encryption of all your personal data, but also jeopardise your business by making all your data, devices and software inaccessible.

First, check the security of your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop:

  • Check your OS and software for updates.
  • Run a full scan of your desktop, after updating your antivirus/anti-malware software.
  • Change your desktop admin password regularly (for more information on how to create strong passwords, follow the instructions of this guide.

Step 2 - Secure the access to your OVHcloud Control Panel

To secure your customer account, enable two-factor authentication and follow the instructions of this guide.

Remember to update your customer account information and to add a backup email to your account.
In the event of your login details being lost and/or the primary email address for your OVHcloud customer account being unavailable, a backup email as well as updated personal information will be essential to help you regain access to your services.

Step 3 - Back up your website regularly

Regularly backing up your data, no matter which solution you choose, is the most important security operation for you to make. It will always be possible to reinstall a software or order a set of new devices, but the recovery of data, once they have been deleted by mistake or after your hard drive has crashed, will rarely be possible.

OVHcloud regularly backs up your data on its infrastructure. However, a handling error such as a delete operation launched manually on a live database, or a non-renewal of your services, will result in the permanent loss of your data and all their backups.

Start by backing up the data that makes up your website (FTP AND database files), following the instructions in this guide. Import them on your desktop or on an external device, such as a NAS server or a USB drive.

Website management software (CMS) also provides the ability to install automatic backup plugins.
Check the official forums for your favourite CMS or contact the OVHcloud community.

Step 4 - Find out how to recognise fraudulent emails

Phishing emails are a security threat to your website because they can contain malware or install it. To learn how to recognise and protect yourself from them, see this guide.

Step 5 - Set up automatic renewal

If your services are not renewed, OVHcloud has the legal obligation to delete all data associated with your hosting plan, as well as all of their backups, when your subscription expires. We systemically send follow-up e-mails to our customers reminding them of their renewal dates before the end of their actual subscription.
However, these follow-up emails may arrive in your spam folder or the email address associated with your OVHcloud account may have been typed incorrectly by mistake or may no longer be available.

If your website plays a major role in your professional activity, enable automatic renewal across all of your OVHcloud services.
We also recommend checking regularly the validity of the payment methods you have registered.

Step 6 - Check that your website is up to date

Check your website updates regularly, following the instructions in this guide.

Also remember to use a recent version of the PHP programming language on your Web Hosting plan.

Step 7 - Activate HTTPS

Set up an encrypted connection to your website using the HTTPS protocol by following this guide. By enabling this protocol, you can encrypt all of the information sent via your website (particularly data entered by your users on its forms).

Step 8 - Protect your forms

Forms on websites can be targeted by hackers/spammers. Protect your forms against attacks by implementing CAPTCHA plugins on your website.

Step 9 - Set up a security plugin on your website

Add a security plugin recommended by the CMS publisher to your website:

Step 10 - Check if your hosting contains malware

In this step, you will need to log in to your FTP space. It involves technical skills to recognise possible malicious files on your web hosting. If you experience any difficulties with this verification, please do not hesitate to contact our partners.

If you have any doubts regarding the safety of data hosted on your FTP storage, please also carry out the checks in step 1 once again and change the password for your FTP space.

Step 11 - Test your website backups

As explained in step 2 of this guide, to regularly perform backups of your website’s data (FTP files and database) is the most important security action for you to make regarding websites.

But even having backups of your website on your desktop can not be considered as sufficient: you also need to test these backups (especially the databases) to ensure that they will work properly the day you need them.

You can perform these tests locally, for example by importing your data on WAMP. Then you need to be sure that you configure your WAMP server with the same parameters as OVHcloud Web Hosting servers.

You can also create a test version of your website (e.g. test.mydomain.tld) within another folder of your FTP storage space (you can still use a basic template).

Go further

What to do if your WordPress site is hacked

Responding when your hosting is deactivated for security purposes

For specialised services (SEO, development, etc.), contact your OVHcloud partners.

If you would like assistance using and configuring your OVHcloud solutions, please refer to our support offers.

Join our community of users on https://community.ovh.com/en/.

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