Linux servers are safe and secure by default because of the strong permission structure of the Linux operating system. Besides, a Linux control panel like ispmanager makes it easier to secure a Linux server further. However, there are times or instances when things get out of hand. Thus, it is vital to adopt best practices to run and properly secure your server effectively.
Suppose you are interested in how you can further strengthen the default security configuration of your Linux server. Below, you will learn 5 steps to secure your server irrespective of your Linux distribution, be it Ubuntu, Debian,, or CentOS.
5 Steps to Securing Your Linux Server
1. Update your server
The first step to secure your Linux server is to automatically or regularly update the operating system and all installed software and local repositories. Besides, by applying the latest patches, you can ensure that you have the most recent security fixes. Thus, it would be best if you regularly looked for recent updates for your operating system and software.
There are two ways to effect updates of software and local repositories. First, you can use the Update Manager, which searches for updates and prompts you once updates are available. Second, you can use command lines to update your system.
Use the command below if you use Debian or Ubuntu.
$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y However, use the command below if you use CentOS or Fedora. $ sudo dnf upgrade
2. Improve your login system
Setting strong passwords and setting up SSH (Secure Shell) keys to log in to a server and its accounts are vital for system administrators and web hosting providers to prevent unauthorized users and hackers from accessing a server.
For instance, if you do not like using passwords when logging in to your server, you should opt for an SSH key. The SSH key is a more secure method to access a server without a password. You only need to generate and upload the SSH key through a command and assign the key to your server.
Similarly, strong passwords aid the elimination of security risks on a Linux server. However, people and system administrators are used to passwords that are easy to remember but insecure. Thus, passwords must be regularly rotated among alphabets, numbers, and symbols for extra protection. Furthermore, you may have difficulties remembering passwords. In this case, consider using a Linux password manager.
3. Install and enable a Firewall
Firewall is vital for protecting your server from online threats or attacks. It would help if you installed and enabled Firewall right away. In addition, Firewall is flexible. Thus, you can configure an Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) only to allow the network traffic you desire.
For instance, you can access the internet without allowing other networks to reach your server by preventing incoming traffic or connections from your network while allowing outgoing traffic. On Debian or Ubuntu, you can use the command below to install UFW.
$ sudo apt install ufw After installation, use the commands below to enable access to SSH, HTTPS and HTTP, respectively. $ sudo ufw allow ssh $ sudo ufw allow https $ sudo ufw allow http The following command enables the UFW. $ sudo ufw enable
If you want to disable UFW at any time, you can do so with the following command.
$ sudo ufw disable
Lastly, the command below will show you the connections denied and allowed on your server.
$ sudo ufw status
4. Set up Two-factor authentication (2FA)
Almost every internet platform or transaction uses a 2FA to shore up security. Similarly, you can add an extra layer of protection to your server to authenticate users before assessing your server. You may be asking how 2FA works. The 2FA involves receiving in your email an additional one-time digit password (OTP) as a user after entering your username and password details into the system.
The 2FA is simple to activate and enable, especially if you use a Linux control panel like the ispmanager Linux control panel to monitor and control your server. Usually, a user generates the one-time digit password (OTP) through Google Authenticator on a cellphone and inputs the password in the one-time password field in the control panel. You can find here the instructions to enable 2FA on your server with ispmanager powerful web hosting control panel.
Furthermore, if you still desire to make your server more resistant to attacks and unauthorized login attempts, you can combine 2FA with SSH (Secure Shell) key. Using 2FA and SSH key allows login attempts to your server to require a second credential – an encrypted, text-based password – in addition to OTP.
5. Audit and back up your server regularly
Securing a Linux server is different from what web hosting providers can do once. So, you have to keep examining and adjusting the security of your server to ensure that everything is working as it should. For instance, users or system administrators sometimes reboot the system or server and need to remember to restart or turn on security tools that do not restart themselves. Thus, ensuring that the security tools you use restart once your server reboots is vital.
Apart from unauthorized users assessing your server, it is also possible for your server to crash when it runs out of resources or memory. So, you have to continually monitor the server’s memory usage, server storage, and system log. Furthermore, it is equally essential to back up your server regularly to ensure you can roll back changes on the server, especially in cases where things go wrong. Thus, it would help to adopt a backup approach that involves creating an extra offline copy of your files and data.
Linux servers are safe to a considerable degree. However, web hosting providers and system administrators need to do more to secure their servers with the current internet environment. Nevertheless, you will significantly secure your server if you follow the steps shared in this article.