For many businesses, websites are one of the main tools to communicate with new or old customers, especially if the business is entirely online-based. However, the more advanced your online business gets the more attractive it is for various illwishers. One of the common ways of attacking a website is using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. To protect the websites from DDoS attacks, various measures are used by the hosting providers, but these apply only on the network level and there is much you can do on your own if you want to enhance your website’s safety. In the following article, we are going to have a closer look at what DDoS attacks are and how you can protect your VPS hosting from them.
What are DDoS attacks?
DDoS attacks originate from more basic Denial of Service attacks (DoS). They consisted in sending too many requests to a web service so it gets overloaded and crashes. In the olden days, they were used with the help of one or two PCs in the basement of some hacker and these were enough to bring down a service back then. Nowadays the scales have grown, so performing an efficient DoS attack requires engaging a global network of devices (laptops, smartphones, PCs), known as “botnets” that are controlled from a central control point. That’s why the Denial of Service attack has become a Distributed Denial of Service attack and they still pose a real threat to websites, even big websites like websites of significant brands or the government.
Why are DDoS attacks harmful and who’s vulnerable to them?
A DDoS attack is not likely to harm your data and the contents of your website, but it can still be trouble. DDoS attacks, in the first place, cause downtimes, which may last up to several hours. A period of inactivity of your website means decreases in revenues and losses of potential customers, reduced SEO rankings, etc. They can also be applied in a specific period of time if you are going, for example, to make a special offer within it or this is your rush hour, when your website is needed most. The DDoS attacks may target specific websites for various reasons: they may be performed by dishonest market competitors, who don’t mind playing a dirty game, “hacktivists” or other persons that want to bring down the website of an ideological opponent. The DDoS attacks may, however, also target random websites, if they are performed by cyber racketeers threatening site owners with DDoS attacks unless they get a ransom, or just by evil geeks trying to entertain themselves by harming innocent digital entrepreneurs. Nobody is safe from DDoS attacks.
Which kinds of DDoS attacks are there?
DDoS attacks are not all the same, targeting different part of infrastructure in different ways.Here are some of them:
HTTP flood, when the server is overloaded with HTTP requests, which the server is trying process.
SYN-flood when the server is overloaded with fake SYN-requests, when lots of half-opened connections are initiated, so the server spends resources waiting for them and it’s hardware crashes.
UPD flood. The server is again overloaded with a big number of things to process. In this case these are User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets.
How to protect your website from DDoS attacks?
The first thing you can take care of when enhancing your DDoS attack protection is to look for a provider offering servers with DDOS protection. Taking care of their clients, a good hosting provider will offer servers with powerful firewalls and use special network devices that will ensure that a DDoS attack is suppressed at the very start.
Besides that, there are a couple of things that you can do on your own
- To protect your website from data loss, apply an efficient backing-up policy.
- Make sure that your applications and operating system are up-to-date so no old bugs that can cause breaches in security remain.
- Keep an eye on your website’s performance to detect any signs of DDoS attacks once they arise. If your performance is decreasing while there are a lot of dubious traffic peaks, this can be caused by a DDoS attack. To monitor the traffic, you can also involve some special software and hardware.
- When you are looking for a hosting plan, opt for something with sufficient bandwidth. This will make your website more resistant to DDoS attacks.
- Also, make sure to correctly configure your firewall. Leave it open only for the ports that are required by your business goals – HTTP, HTTPS, SSH.
DDoS attacks are a common way cyber criminals use to damage the web presence of any online business. Nobody is fully protected from them, but there are various ways that can help you achieve it. We hope that his overview was helpful, thank you for your attention and have a nice day!