You’ve probably heard about firewalls before. But do you actually know what it does and why you need one?
Sites are under constant bombardment from different types of attack and leaving a server connected online without even a basic firewall is incredibly risky. You wouldn’t leave your front door open whilst you sleep at night would you?
What a basic firewall allows you to do:
- Give selective access to specific users and block any unwanted ones, both identified by their IP addresses
- Can minimise the chance of attacks on your server
- Be set up easily. A hosting provider such as ourselves can do this with minimal fuss and offer a firewall solution tailored to your needs
A basic firewall should be able to deter a low-level intruder – think of them as opportunistic burglars. But if you’re unlucky enough to be targeted by the Butch Cassidy of the online world then you’re going to need a more advanced configuration.
Windows & Linux Servers
When using a Windows or Linux-based server, such as the ones we provision, there is a built-in firewall which allows you to set up basic settings to block unknown users from connecting via something called Remote Desktop Protocol – this is essentially gaining root access on your system.
What else can they do?
Services such as IIS, MSSQL, MySQL, FTP, Email and Apache can also be properly filtered to only allow connections to these services from trusted IP addresses, as well as block any unauthorised access.
A more advanced server setup and firewall configuration will be purpose-built and be able to provide better protection from attacks and even more secure connectivity.
There are 2 methods to implement a firewall:
The first method is using a set of IP tables – these enable you to allow or deny access to specific services and IP addresses. If you’re comfortable using the command line then this is the most suitable option for you.
The second method is better suited for those that aren’t big fans of the command line – known as the Advanced Policy Firewall – which enables you to configure a firewall using a simple text editor.
Implementing a firewall is one of the quickest and most effective ways to protect your server from attacks – they can highlight weaknesses in your site(s) that you might not have even been aware of.
Whether you require a basic firewall or a more advanced setup is totally down to you but feel free to get in touch with us if you need a bit of advice as to which route to go down.