Protecting Your WordPress Site from DDoS Attacks

As a business owner, you are always looking for ways to optimize your WordPress site for greater traffic influx and higher rankings. However, all your efforts can go to waste if your site ends up being hacked. This not only costs you money but can also compromise the reputation of your brand. While WordPress offers powerful features and a secure codebase, it is not immune to various forms of malicious cyberattacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that are becoming increasingly rampant.

In this guide, we will discuss DDoS attacks in greater detail and provide steps that you can take to manage your website security like a pro.

What is a DDoS Attack?

A DDoS attack is a type of cyber attack that utilizes compromised computers and devices to send and request data from a WordPress hosting server, allowing a malicious user to gain control over your site. Unlike Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which are carried out by a single machine, DDoS attackers manipulate multiple compromised machines or servers to enhance their spread across different regions. The compromised machines create a network (botnet), with every affected machine acting as a bot and launching attacks on the targeted server or system. This allows them to remain undetected for some time, causing maximum damage before the real owner can block them.

What Happens During a DDoS Attack?

During a DDoS attack, your server resources are depleted, while the website load time is increased. This can cause performance issues or completely crash the server by overwhelming the server’s resources like memory, CPU, and sometimes even the entire network. The primary point of origination of these attacks is from a hacker-controlled botnet of vulnerable IoT devices. Since the Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing internet segment, it makes it more prone to common IoT security threats, especially DDoS.

What are the Different Types of DDoS Attacks?

DDoS attacks come in different varieties, with a separate style of functioning that results in several subcategories for classification. The most common ones include:

1. Volumetric DDoS Attacks: These attacks involve flooding a target with a request to overload bandwidth capacity without directly targeting WordPress. The main aim of these attacks is to target the underlying operating system, along with the webserver.

2. Application Layer DDoS Attacks: These attacks focus on layer seven, which is the application layer, or your Apache or NGINX web server, along with your WordPress website. This type of attack causes the maximum damage relative to bandwidth spent.

3. Multi-Vector DDoS Attacks: Hackers take a multi-vector approach and use multiple techniques for targeting.

4. Protocol-based DDoS Attacks: These attacks follow the same exhausting forces model as others but are mainly focused on the transport and network layers as opposed to the application or service.

Methods to Keep Your WordPress Site Safe From DDoS Attacks

It’s crucial to understand that a DDoS attack isn’t a WordPress hack in a traditional sense. These attacks cannot steal a website visitor’s information, and the sole purpose of carrying out these attacks is to overload the website resources, which at times is used for extortion or blackmail. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent these attacks:

1. Employ a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs cache copies of your website on their respective data centers, reducing the strain on your server and decreasing the overall loading time. They also act as a firebreak to DDoS attacks by restricting resultant traffic from overwhelming your website and detecting anomalous attacks and downs in traffic, mitigating it effectively.

2. Switch to a New (Better) Hosting Provider: Choose a hosting provider that is well-equipped to handle moderate strain and has excellent protection protocols against traffic floods at the server level.

3. Use a DDoS Protection Service: CDNs offer DDoS protection as an incentive, but you can also sign up for a dedicated DDoS protection service as an alternative.

4. Blacklist Suspicious IP Addresses: Monitor IP addresses that display suspicious activities, such as unreasonably high numbers of visits, repeated login attempts, and IP clusters, which eventually flood your website with traffic.

5. Set Up a Firewall: Firewalls are software that has preprogrammed rules to protect your computer from unauthorized access. You can configure your firewall to limit the number of users accessing your website during a specific period and filter out bots.

The Bottom Line

Websites, big or small, often fall prey to DDoS attacks. Hackers use these attacks as a form of blackmail against businesses, which is why you should take measures to scan your WordPress site for vulnerabilities and set up WordPress DDoS protection. While most WordPress users have a lower possibility of suffering from a DDoS attack, it’s always smart to consistently apply the best security practices to enhance the safety of your site.

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