How to Hack a Web Server? – A Step by Step Complete Guide

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By Sina Nasiri

In modern-day economies, customers have shifted to online shopping. The idea of being online to get access to almost everything we can imagine including the products and services that we desire is quite intriguing.

Websites store personal data, such as credit card numbers and email credentials. However, inaccurate configuration and poorly-written codes in web servers are a threat and can be easily used to get unauthorized access to the web server’s sensitive information.


One of the most talked-about and biggest server attacks was the breach of Github in 2018. Github is amongst the most popular code management services used by developers worldwide.

Github was hit by a DDoS attack. Unfortunately, the biggest software development and version control platform was not ready for the inflow of traffic which ultimately surged to 13 terabits per second.

This blog will shed some light on web server hacking techniques and the measures you can take to protect the server from malicious attacks. How? By telling you how to hack a web server!

What are Usual Security Issues in a Web Server?

Web servers are computers, software, or hardware that host websites. Servers run on operating systems that are connected to the back-end database and run several apps without any issue.

In the past few years, the use and popularity of web servers have increased manifold because various online services are executed as web apps. Thus, smoothing out web hosting. A web server can be easily accessed through the name of the website domain.

The web server can be considered as hardware that is used to host the server, software or hardware, or both of them. Its purpose is to transfer files, email communication, among a lot of other activities.

Now, let’s dive into vulnerabilities that hackers usually leverage on:

  • Default email ids and passwords are easily cracked by hackers. Default settings execute tasks, like running commands on the server, which can be effectively utilized to breach the security.
  • Might get unauthorized access to the system through discovering bugs in the web server software or operating system.
  • If the user has an easy password, configurations like allowing users to implement commands on the server might not be good at all.
  • Updating the antivirus tools, patching the webserver software and operating system can give rise to security gaps for hackers.

What are the Different Types of Web Servers?

There are 3 types of common web servers that every user should be aware of:

  • Apache HTTP Server: It is the most commonly used web server in the industry. It is a free and open-source software for Windows, Linux, macOS, and several other operating systems.
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services: It is the second most used web server in the industry. Many of the asp and aspx websites are hosted on IIS (Internet Information Services) servers.
  • Nginx: It is free and open-source software introduced in 2004 by Igor Sysoev. NGINX is a modern web server that can be used as a load balancer, reverse proxy, HTTP cache, and mail proxy.

Common Web Server Attacks

There are numerous techniques used for webserver attacks. We are explaining some of them here as follows:

  • DoS (Denial of Service): With Denial of Service attacks, the webserver might crash or become inaccessible to legit users.
  • Sniffing: Unencrypted data sent over the network may be cut off and used to get unauthorized access to the webserver.
  • Phishing: It is a social engineering attack that is used to get private and sensitive data, like personal details of users, contact, name, email address, and credit card number. It is an act of fraud that comes from mimicking a well-renowned source.
  • Poisoning: Web cache helps to store web documents, like web pages, images, and passwords, temporarily. It is a method where the hackers send duplicate entry requests to the webserver and redirect the user to virus-infected websites.
  • Misconfiguration: This technique is used when non-required services are on and default configurations are used. Attackers can easily find gaps with respect to default settings or remote functions and can leverage them easily.
  • SSH Brute Force Attack: In this method, an attacker uses trial and error practice to guess the login details by updating passwords.

Best Tools Designed for Server Attacks

  • MPack is the best exploitation tool. It is backed by MySQL and written in PHP language.
  • Neo Split is a great tool for installing and deleting programs.
  • Metasploit is an open-source tool for developing, testing and using exploit code. It is used to find issues in web servers.
  • Zeus can be used to transform a compromised computer into a bot. Now, what is a bot? Well, it’s a compromised computer system that is used to execute internet-based attacks.

Some Measures to Prevent Web Server Attacks

In order to secure a web server from internal and external attacks, it is highly suggested to keep it in a safe area. Any small or big-scale company, or even individuals, can adopt the below-mentioned measures to protect the website from web server attacks:

  • Antivirus Software: It can be used to get rid of malicious software on the webserver.
  • Firewall: These can be effectively used to put off simple DoS attacks by holding up all the incoming traffic and finding out the source IP addresses of the attacker(s) or hacker(s).
  • Patch Management: A patch is an update that fixes a bug in the software. Patches can be easily applied to the web server and operating system as well.
  • Vulnerability Scanning System: It consists of tools like NMap, Snort, Scanner Access Now Easy (SANE).
  • Disabling Remote Administration: To protect your computer from hackers, turn off the remote administration feature and you will be good to go.

Make sure to disable all unsecured and unnecessary ports to keep your website server fully protected from hackers. Try to always allow encrypted traffic only as this will ensure that there is no unauthorized access provided to invaders.


This post discussed web server security issues, attacks, tools used for preventing webserver attacks, and what measures you can take to keep your server secure from attackers.

Understanding the right security practices will go a long way to prevent a web server from any malicious activities. We are hopeful that you would find this information worth the while and we will be happy to know if you want to mention any important element to this post which we have missed or you think can be a good addition to it.

Good luck with your website launch and if it is already live, we wish it takes you to places and that it does wonders to your business growth.

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