Preventing sites being hacked

The last couple of days have been pretty interesting in a weird kind of way.

I often look at my phone or ipad to keep track of what’s going on with the various websites we manage.  On Sunday night I had a look at my phone as I was about to turn in for the night and I got a bit of a shock.  I had 8000 emails.  Yes 8000 and it was going up rapidly.  This not surprisingly set off alarm bells.  It turned out that one of the sites we mange was being attacked!

Now if this has never happened to you, then it can be a scary thing.  Suddenly people are trying to break into your site and you don’t know how to stop them or what to do about it.  If this has never happened to you, you won’t have experienced the standard response of a web hosting company.  For many their only solution is to take the site off line and hope that the attack stops.  Some do go further and introduce more blocking but in general there isn’t much they can do.   Now I don’t know about you but I think this is a pretty poor response.  If you get a website you want it to work and you don’t want to worry about hacking and other technical stuff you want to focus on building content for people to read.  So when I set up Websites4Christians I was determined that we’d do better!  So we don’t just supply hosting we provide a managed website service.

When it comes to Christian websites and indeed any website most site owners don’t have the time to learn the technical stuff to protect the site.  Moreover they often don’t want to.  They just want a site that gives them a place to put up information for visitors.  But the reality is that websites need managed and updated.  Think of it like the windows software on your computer of OS on the Mac.  It needs updated regularly.  This protects it from malicious hacks and helps to make sure it’s working correctly at all times.  Your website is just the same it needs updating to protect it and keep it up to date.  When you’re sold hosting they don’t mention this because most companies don’t provide that aspect.  They assume you’ll do it.  However my experience is that most people don’t have the time and often don’t have the skill needed.

siteAttacksGraphSo at Websites4Christians we provide that service as part of the package.  Extra security software and on-going updates to help protect your site.  I won’t detail here all the things we do but they include blocking hacking attacks and backing up on a regular basis the software.  We also have methods of dealing with attacks when they occur – as the sadly do.

The upshot of all this is that when I got the 8000 email detailing the attack I was pretty relaxed.  I knew that our software would have protected the site and that although there was stuff to do there was no disaster looming.  In the end the hacker gave up at around the 23,000 attacks level.  I guess the went to prey on another site that was less protected.  I’ve included a copy of the graph that shows the attacks on the left.



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