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Running a small company or a home-based business requires laser-like focus. Of course, you want a web presence, but with everything else you have to do, you may decide to hire a web-hosting company to support your website. Web hosts offer an array of options – email, storage, integrated e-commerce, etc. But according to the FTC, there’s another feature you should factor in when comparison-shopping for web hosting services: security.

There’s not a small business in the country that isn’t concerned about the security of its site. Before selecting a web host, the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTech) advises small businesses to consider the security features the web host offers as part of the package.

OTech just released a study of some of the most popular web hosts used by small businesses. One thing they looked at was whether the web host included SSL/TLS in the set-up of clients’ sites. (SSL/TLS is a method for establishing a safer connection between a user’s computer and a company’s website.) Here’s the good news: Most of them included it as part of the package or offered it for an extra fee. Either way, it’s something small businesses need.

OTech also looked at whether the web hosts included email authentication technologies. Tech types use names life SPF, DKIM, or DMARC, but it boils down to this. Those protective services reduce the risk that a hacker can steal your email address to use it in a phishing scam. OTech learned that only 3 of the 11 sites they looked at included those protections by default.

What should this mean for your small business? When hiring a web host, pay close attention to the security features of available plans. Plans with SSL/TLS and strong email authenticating technologies can better protect your business and your customers. If it’s not clear what the hosting company is offering, call the customer service line and ask. Make sure that the web host you choose shares your commitment to security.


Excellent and timely article. Thank you!

A root to any individual and/or business (small or large) is knowing transparency when shopping for a web host. Small businesses are most vulnerable. A suggestion may be to stay with established companies like Google or WordPress. SCORE offers web site development and security protocols to assist small businesses as well. In a world of “The Wild, Wild West”, it is reassuring to know the FTC and supporting agencies are available. Though, it’s usually post rather than preventative .... caveat emptor!

Why do your posts always sound like you are an outsider?

hmm.. I wonder.

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