How to Protect Yourself from a Website Outage

bombIf you are a GoDaddy customer your website was probably down for part of, or all of Monday. 

The outrage started around 12 PM Central on Monday, and lasted until 6 PM. Some users were affected even longer.

This not only affected websites for thousands, possibly even millions, but also affected customers' email. Imagine being without your business email for 6 hours. You'd either be jumping for joy or losing out on business deals.

What Happened?


Well, after 5 hours GoDaddy is still mum on details, but good money is on a DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attack. The goal of a DDoS attack is to bring a website, or service down for its users.

DDoS attack

The most popular method of DDoS attack is to bombard a server or servers with a massive number connection requests. Because the server can't tell the difference between geniune connection requests and an attack it tries to serve the requested connections. However they can't keep up with the flood of incoming requests and the server fails and times out.

Once the site or service is down, the hackers continue to pound it with requests to make sure it stays down.

If you have a domain registered through GoDaddy, chances are they are also hosting your DNS. You may even have a hosting package through GoDaddy, as well.

The attack shut down GoDaddy's DNS service, which is what has caused millions of websites and email accounts to go down.

How can you protect yourself?

If you are on GoDaddy and have been through a few of these attacks, you may want to move your domain to a new domain registrar. Namecheap and Hover are good options.

Another option is to have separate company manage your DNS like easyDNS. LyntonWeb uses GoDaddy as a registrar for several domains, but we manage our DNS through separate services and were unaffected during the attack.

There are also many proxy services that you can use to protect and defend yourself against malicious attacks.

What about your email?

At LyntonWeb, we love our Gmail, and we use Google Apps to manage our mail. There are many more email providers out there, such as Office365Rackspace, and FastMail

GoDaddy has been the victim of several attacks and boycotts over the past few years, the two biggest ones in response to GoDaddy's support of SOPA and when photos of CEO Bob Parson's elephant hunting trip hit the net (warning, this link could be a little graphic).

As the largest online registrar, GoDaddy is a major target for hackers. Make sure you know the risks before choosing the internet services that power your domain name.

-DDoS graphic via Cisco

Update:

GoDaddy released a statement today (9/11/12) saying that yesterday's outage was caused by "a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables" and was not a DDoS attack. You can read GoDaddy's statement here.

 

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