use DDos protection to secure your server and website

How to protect your server and website from DDoS attacks

5 min read

Given the alarmingly high number of recent online cyberattack rates, it is unsurprising that DDoS attacks have also increased in regularity.

Since we previously discussed the nature of DDoS attacks and their most common types, in this article we are going to focus on some of the ways in which they can be mitigated, providing some of the most useful solutions.

If you are worried that your website or online application can be a target for such DDoS attacks, then make sure to stick to the end of this article in order to learn how you can minimize the damage that they can cause or even fully prevent them from occurring in the first place!

DDos attacks in a nutshell

The sole purpose of a DDoS attack is to essentially flood the server, network or firewall using fake traffic. Once overflooded, the firewall becomes incapable of stopping any of the incoming malicious traffic. 

This ultimately results in your server shutting down, due to its inability to cope with all of the incoming traffic, causing your website or application to go offline along with it.

This means that you can lose valuable uptime and also potential customers who were willing to make a purchase. Depending on the time needed for the server to restart and become fully up-and-running again, you could be looking at quite a substantial potential loss of profit. Not to mention that such downtime can also affect your search performance as it can negatively affect your user experience score.

How to protect your server and applications from DDoS attacks

Generally speaking, there are a number of different, alternative ways in which you can protect your website or application from succumbing to such attacks.

Use your hosting provider’s DDoS protection

Our first suggestion includes making use of your hosting provider’s built-in DDoS protection function.

Due to the increasing number of such attacks over the last couple of years, most hosting providers do offer additional DDoS protection on their behalf, which you can easily use to protect your website/app.

We at VPSBG, for example, offer our customers 1.8TB/s cloud DDoS protection, which is capable of handling very large volume attacks. With such protection our clients never have to worry about their website becoming a subject of such attacks or any downtime, which might result from them.

Employ third-party DDoS attack mitigation

If your hosting provider doesn’t offer you strong enough protection or you have some other concerns, you can always feel free to employ a third-party’s DDoS attack mitigation services.

However, you do need to keep in mind that such services are often expensive and are mostly used by large enterprise websites such as different online ecommerce stores, financial institutions or service providers.

Cloudflare is one such third-party option. It is a global content delivery network that also specializes in DDoS attack mitigation.

Mitigating TCP-SYN & other protocol attacks

TCP-SYN attacks can be limited with a given software solution that uses a mitigation technique with the help of a SYN cookie.

Additionally, other protocol attacks can also be prevented by making some special system configurations and by establishing some extra server firewall rules.

Tips for preventing Layer 7 attacks - Slowloris, HTTP

As we already mentioned previously, DDoS attacks aim to overflood the server and network with artificial traffic in order to essentially crash the system, resulting in a long period of downtime.

The following tips can help you prevent this:

  • Optimize and configure your server applications according to the best practises
  • Always use up-to-date software development tools
  • Keep your software updated
  • Utilize good working cache policy as it will help your server to not overload during high influxes of traffic
  • Upgrade your server in terms of resources - your server needs to have enough RAM and CPU power in order to cope with high levels of traffic
  • Create custom firewall rules

Attacks through software or application vulnerability

Software or application vulnerabilities can offer a backdoor for hackers, which they can exploit. Although such issues are usually patched quickly once the flaw has been discovered, system administrators don’t always apply the updates in a timely manner.

This can, consequently, lead to data leaks and application crashes. And although it is possible to manually restrict access to the website or application, most of them remain in the public domain, being prevented from doing so.

Because of this, the most effective way to protect your website or application remains to regularly update all existing software including the operating system, the CMS if you are using WordPress for example, and any other libraries and plugins. It wasn’t that long ago when over 50% of all existing WordPress installations were found to have a vulnerability.

Overall, the best way to protect your website or app from such DDoS and UDP flood attacks is to use a hosting service with a built-in or optional DDoS protection such as our KVM VPS and VDS servers. Additionally, you should also manually employ good firewall configuration and caching practices while also making sure that your operating system and software are always kept updated.

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