How to Protect WordPress Site from DDOS Attacks
Hackers can do a number on your online business. Besides defaming your blog, posting malicious comments (some of which can contain links to malware) and doing their best to steal your login info, they can also forcibly pull down your web page using what’s called a DDOS attack (short for Distributed Denial of Service).
As blogs function exclusively by being accessible, taking down your blog is the physical equivalent of locking the doors to your business when customers are trying to get in to buy.
Hackers can perform DDOS attacks for several different purposes: sometimes they do it to make a point, as with hacktivism; other times they do it to prove that they can; still other times they do it because they don’t like you or your page.
Fortunately, you aren’t required to be a helpless victim. While a truly determined hacker can cause you real trouble, taking the correct preventative measures before an attack and the proper reactive measures during and after an attack can make things much easier for you. Here’s where you should start.
Use a Virtual Private Network
Hackers don’t just attack entirely at random. Like all criminals, they need a target. One of the best ways to avoid becoming the victim of a hacker is to make sure everything you do online is anonymous. That’s because a hack on you is almost certain to lead to a hack on your blog.
One of the best ways to avoid this outcome is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). While a VPN was originally designed with business security in mind, everyday people and website administrators have been using them for the following features:
- Anonymous internet usage
- IP address selection via remote servers for avoiding geo-blocking
- Data encryption
- Relatively affordable costs
When you access the internet through a VPN, your device becomes nearly impossible to trace, and all data you send and receive becomes encrypted to outside users. This is when you’re accessing the internet through a vulnerable network, as you’re likely to do when managing your site while on the go.
There are many different options when it comes to choosing a VPN. If it’s something you’re considering, it will pay to read this review written by Secure Thoughts specifically about different VPNs and their strengths.
Monitor Your Site’s Traffic
An effective way to put a stop to a DDOS attack before it becomes a major issue is to keep an eye on network traffic. Different symptoms should raise a red flag:
- High volume access requests from one IP
- Reduced site performance
- Slow load times ( How to optimise database for speed – A must read )
An unusual number of requests from a single source can indicate an attack. You can then restrict that IP address’s access to your page to prevent further damages, notify your provider or temporarily pull down the page to contain the problem.
Your .htaccess file and WordPress admin Panel both can help you a lot to restrict IP addresses a lot. 12 Htaccess hack every WordPress user must use
Another telltale sign of an attack is a reduction in your page’s performance and load time. Just visiting your page from time to time is enough to notice. If you see a big drop in performance, contact your provider to make sure nothing is wrong on their end. Once you identify an attack, you can take measures to stop it. Being proactive can keep things in check.
Hide my WordPress plugin can hide all the vital information of Your WordPress website thus a hacker will take longer time to guess that you are actually running your business on WordPress.
Use Updated and Secure Plugins
Plugins can be a close ally in protecting your page, but they can also be your greatest weakness. That’s because plugins that aren’t maintained and updated regularly frequently contain security loopholes for hackers to exploit. Even if the author has been updating their plugins, it does little good if you aren’t automatically or frequently applying the latest versions to your page.
One popular plugin that aids you in securing your page from hackers and attacks is Wordfence Security. Super Security is another WordPress plugin that can scan your site, traffic and also take timely backup of your website in case of doom’s day, It helps secure your login details by letting you use Two Factor Authentication and establishes a firewall to screen entry into your page. You’ll also be able to block intrusions, which I mentioned above as a key step in mitigating and avoiding the effects of a DDOS attack.
Other options include:
- iThemes Security
- Acunetix (generally good for all types of pages, not just blogs)
Beyond that, be sure you’re getting plugins from a reputable location. There are numerous other security plugins to help aid your page, but you should get them directly from WordPress when able. Hackers are just as capable of creating fake websites to host “secure” plugins that are just designed to scam you into downloading them and provide a backdoor.
Moderate Your Page and Yourself
Your blog management is just as important as security software and plugins; if you aren’t managing the comments and data fields on your pages, you could make yourself a target for hackers.
If someone comes to your page looking for trouble—especially in the comments section—get rid of them. The saying “Don’t feed the troll” is especially important in these cases because it just gives them a reason to come after you.
That also means not looking for trouble beyond the safe confines of your blog. It’s great to publish posts elsewhere and to try to advertise to bring in visitors, but make sure it’s at the right place and with the right tone.
Be careful who you’re getting attention from, because less reputable sites are more likely to draw in less reputable visitors.
Comment Policy is one such place where you can define the type of comments actually you want from your readers and discourage hackers and spammer. A Good comment policy always help you to spend least time on moderation and also help you to avoid DDOS attack on your WordPress blog.
Do Some Coding
Even if coding isn’t your specialty, it can be worth learning enough to alter your page’s configurations to be more secure. If you’re resistant to learning code or just not interested, consider contacting your webmaster to see if they can implement some more advanced codes for you. When in doubt, always consult a professional.
For instance, brute force attacks that make numerous attempts to guess your login can, successful or not, cause loading problems on your page.
The inclusion of a secondary login screen is easy enough to accomplish, and that can throw off bots that try to force their way in. You can find the strings for that here, among other useful security code bits.
There are many different ways to mitigate the risks and effects of a DDOS attack. Your level of preparation, proper use of security software, and choice of moderation and advertising can have a huge impact on whether or not you become the target of hackers. Stay updated and monitor your page for strange activity.
If you still have questions or concerns about what you can do to handle DDOS attacks, feel free to leave a comment below.
About the Author: Caroline is an internet security expert for http://securethoughts.com that specializes in keeping hackers away from their victims. She hopes to promote good safety habits online and educate users on how to avoid common pitfalls and scams