What Anti-Virus Options are Available?

On any public facing machine, it is vital to have anti-virus constantly running to help detect and remove potential threats. In this article, we are going to discuss the different anti-virus options that are available in both our windows and Linux hosting environments.

Windows Anti-Virus Options

On our windows environment, we offer two anti-virus options. Avast is our default option, and ESET is our ‘Premium’ option.

Option 1: AVAST Anti-Virus

AVAST, which is provided free of charge, is one of the top leading anti-virus programs out there. If you’ve never heard of AVAST, then you may have heard of AVG, which was bought out by AVAST back in 2016.

We believe security is the most important aspect of any business and we want to make sure we equip you with the tools necessary to accomplish this task of securing your server, which is why we offer this product as the default & included (at no additional cost) anti-virus program.

This AVAST solution is installed by default on all dedicated server environments (Unless you choose the alternative add-on option).

Option 2: ESET Anti-Virus

ESET AntiVirus is also one of the top leading anti-virus programs out there, providing superior protection, with a lower resource usage footprint. ESET will provide you and your clients an enterprise solution for only $2.50 / month (or £2.00 / Month for UK customers). We currently offer this for all of our dedicated server solutions.

This ESET solution is installed on all of our shared mail servers, as well as our dedicated server environments for those that chose this add-on upon ordering or requested the upgrade.

We’ll describe the reason for using ESET on our shared mail servers in the section below for recommendations on which product is best for your business.

Which Anti-Virus Software Should I Choose?

Now that we’ve laid out the two options that we offer our customers let’s talk about which product might be best for you and your business.

When considering each option think about what services you’re going to be hosting on the server.

If you have e-mail being hosted on the server, for example, then we’d strongly recommend using ESET Anti-Virus due AVAST being known to remove e-mails from Inboxes due to it considering them as spam.

If AVAST is using too many resources on your server, then ESET is a great choice for you since it has a much smaller resource footprint.

More information on the reasoning on using ESET over AVAST for servers handling e-mail below:

Skip below for continuation of recommendations if you’re not using e-mail on your server

If you are familiar with how SmarterMail works (the mail software used on windows platform), then you’ll know that under each users inbox is a .GRP file for each date the user has e-mail. Each one of these .GRP files contain e-mail(s) for that entire day. So if AVAST believes this file contains spam then it’s going to review that entire file which will in return remove all e-mail from your inbox for that specific day.

I’m sure you’re thinking “Why don’t you create an exception rule for .GRP files, then?”. We have actually created numerous rules that still get bypassed, including a flat exception to the .GRP file itself. We have found that these rules do not work and e-mails are still being triggered as spam and being quarantined (and sometimes completely deleted) from the server. We attempted to work with AVAST on this directly with their team, however, we found this to be to no avail.

In cases when you may not have e-mail hosted on the server (such as using external email providers like Google Suite, or have another separate e-mail server hosted with us), then you might be comfortable with keeping the free anti-virus software installed on the server. AVAST has worked great for most of our dedicated server customers, however, there have been cases when an upgrade to ESET was necessary for better performance that best suits the customers’ needs. We have had several cases of AVAST having false positives for PHP directories over the past couple of years, which can completely break the functionality of sites on the server using the specific PHP version that AVAST quarantines files from.

The above is only mentioned for full transparency of the differences we’ve noticed between the two anti-virus options and is not meant to persuade you one way or the other. We believe that both options are excellent for meeting the needs of all the different types of businesses we work with.

Linux/cPanel Anti-Virus Options

If you are familiar with Linux based systems, then you may know that there are not many compatible anti-virus programs. This is especially the case for cPanel based servers, as currently, the only AntiVirus directly supported by cPanel is ClamAV.

There is potential that additional anti-virus programs will become available and be supported by cPanel… at which time we’ll update this article with the relative information.

ClamAV - cPanel Supported

ClamAV is enabled across some of our shared cPanel web servers, however, this is not a default enabled feature for our dedicated cPanel servers.

The reason this is not enabled by default is due to the slowness that can be caused for e-mail sending on the cPanel based server… as essentially every e-mail has to be scanned by ClamAV prior to processing and attempting delivery. Due to this, it can cause e-mail delays for busy servers that handle a lot of mail day-to-day.

On a busy server, this can also cause the resources on the server to become consumed and cause some slower performance (depending on the resources you have allocated to your VM).

You can read more on cPanels Security & AntiVirus at their below documentation URL: