CloudLinux is an add-on for cPanel web hosting services that installs a new kernel that helps system administrators to better manage cPanel web hosting users. We have recently deployed CloudLinux across our range of cPanel web hosting servers as a way of improving the level of service that we provide to our customers. Here I’ll be explaining the importance of CloudLinux in cPanel hosting and how our new setup compares to the old scenario.
The old scenario…
Before CloudLinux, there were no restrictions in place on cPanel hosting systems that prevented a single user from hogging major server resources, such as the CPU(s) for example. This meant that if a hacker was intent on bringing a server down, all they had to do was find a website on their chosen server that contained even just one vulnerability. They could then exploit this vulnerability using a number of methods; the idea here would be to maximise the resource usage on the server so that there are no free resources remaining, which would then cause the server to crash.
So what does CloudLinux do?
CloudLinux in a cPanel web hosting environment creates an individual virtual container for each website. System administrators can then set hard limits for individual websites so that the performance and security of one website can’t impact on the performance of its neighbours. Parameters that can be set include the amount of CPU power that a single website can use and disk IOPS; these are beyond what a regular cPanel installation can facilitate, which is often limited to specific account features like MySQL databases and FTP accounts. With each virtual container having a pre-determined hard limit, you can make much more accurate predictions about potential server load, enabling you to retain adequate spare capacity.
The virtual container can act as a buffer against any websites that are targeted. So if a website using a cPanel hosting package is compromised, only that particular website and environment is affected – hackers will have no way of breaking out of that environment to attack other websites and data.
Users will now know when it’s time to upgrade to a new type of hosting. CloudLinux helps to keep shared hosting a fair business with which all clients get access to their full entitlement of resources. When a user hits their limits, then they know it’s time to start optimising their website to make better use of their available resources, or alternatively to upgrade to a more powerful form of web hosting, i.e. a VPS or dedicated server.
As a summary, CloudLinux plays an important role in cPanel web hosting and providing a service that is fair to all customers. The virtual container created for each website provides a buffer against any malicious attacks so that only the compromised website is affected and the attacks don’t have the power to spread beyond this. The facility to more explicitly limit the resources of each website provides a fairer service to all and means that no single website will have the power to utilise all available resources and in turn bring the server down. You could also see this as a way of increasing account density since you can more accurately plan for loads placed on servers. And with your servers under less pressure they are less likely to crash or experience issues, allowing you to see reduced support costs.