A distributed denial of service or DDoS attack is one of the worst things someone can do to your website. To put it bluntly, DDoS attacks are all about shutting off your website, potentially damaging your incoming traffic of visitors and making your site inaccessible. It’s not as bad as a malware attack or a hacking attempt but you still need to find ways to prevent a DDoS attack on your WordPress website.
That’s because apart from ruining your SEO, a successful DDoS attack is also an indication of your website’s lax security. If you can’t defend yourself from one or can’t recover well enough, then it’s only a matter of time before cybercriminals try something else. Something more damaging.
Not to worry, we’ve prepared for you some effective tricks and tips on how to prevent a DDoS attack on your WordPress website, whether potential or premeditated ones. This way, your blog’s visitors can enjoy a regular dose of your website without any interruption.
Know the symptoms
The first step one should always do in order to protect their website from DDoS attacks is to know what happens under a DDoS attack. It’s like being your website’s own doctor, for that matter. Some of the symptoms or possible pre-emptive actions associated with a DDoS attack are as follows:
- Network slowdown
- Bad connectivity
- Intermittent website shutdowns
- Severe or prolonged inexplicable website performance issues
Now, those might signify something else, of course; still, it never hurts to check whether your website might have been targeted or is currently experiencing a DDoS attack. In this
Web Application Firewall
One of the primary defenses you can have against DDoS attacks is a web application firewall. This is the kind of firewall or protection that goes between the website and the traffic it receives. Web application firewalls are similar to antivirus plugins for your website. As such, there are many versions and services offering these kinds of firewalls.
You’re going to have to review your options, however, when it comes to web application firewalls. Sadly, there isn’t a repository or store for them like WordPress plugins; their purpose is more specialized and needs to be dedicated. You also have to take note that web application firewalls alone might not be enough and need to be paired with other safety measures.
Spread out your servers
This has to do with you maintaining a strong and versatile network architecture. By that, we mean something that DDoS attackers will find difficult to target: spread out servers. Servers that are located in different geographic points on the globe is something that cybercriminals will find hard to tackle with DDoS attacks.
Now, the hard part is that this structure might be more expensive, meaning it’s a no-go for many bloggers starting out, especially those who only need one server. Now, if your blog is already an empire or you’re branching out and have a business, you might want to consider doing something like this; it adds a layer of protection for your sites against DDoS attacks.
This might sound more drastic compared to other measures but country blocking just might help you prevent a DDoS attack. The reasoning behind this is that DDoS attacks are often distributed all over the world. That means cyber-attacks particularly DDoS, can come from some foreign visitors to your website that you don’t usually get.
Now, the conundrum behind this is that geo or country blocking might deny you some valuable traffic from other countries. However, if you notice an influx of visitors from certain places and their visits to your website coincide with DDoS attacks, then you might have to consider such an extreme option.
Monitor the traffic
The thing about some DDoS attacks is that they tend to happen during the peak of your traffic. This is no coincidence as the people behind this made DDoS attacks to cripple a website’s service. Cybercriminals usually do this by introducing fake traffic to your website in hopes of crashing your servers.
This type of DDoS is called volumetric attacks, though not all DDoS attacks are volumetric. That’s why checking whether your traffic spikes are legitimate or not is quite useful in checking whether you’re being targeted for a DDoS attack. You can easily monitor what kind of people comprise your site’s traffic with tools and plugins.
This advice can also be done in conjunction with country blocking once you find out an influx of artificial traffic from a certain location.
XML-RPC is a WordPress API; it allows third-party applications to interact with your WordPress website. One of the many functions of XML-RPC you can utilize is for accessing the WordPress dashboard or app through your mobile phone. Now, the thing is, a lot of people don’t use the mobile app for WordPress.
It also just so happens that XML-RPC is an API that hackers and cybercriminals can exploit not just for DDoS attacks but also other kinds of security threats. Meanwhile, blogging is usually best done on a desktop for better coding flexibility and many other functions. That means disabling XML-RPC can do your website well. To do it, refer to this guide.
Disable REST API
Another API you might want to disable would be the JSON REST API. This API allows plugins and tools to access your content or WordPress data for updates or even deletion. You can do this manually and it’s usually better that way. Like the XML-RPC, REST is also exploitable for DDoS attacks.
Hence, it can be more trouble than its worth since you don’t exactly need it active all the time. You can follow this instruction or simply download a plugin in order to disable JSON REST for a more secure website and a quick way to prevent a DDoS attack.
As with most security measures for your website, taking full advantage of cloud services is always a huge help. You can actually outsource DDoS protection or prevention to cloud services.
You’ll also find plenty of companies offering DDoS protection through the cloud with a quick Google search. It’s up to you to select which one best fits your financial capabilities or security needs. In any case, a combination of at least two of these measures can ensure that you prevent a DDoS attack on your blog.