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What is the best way to protect my website from distributed denial-of-service attacks?

To be able to protect your website from DDoS attacks, you need to first understand how these attacks happen. The Denial of Service attacks or DoS attacks happen when any IP address gets bombarded with too much of traffic. When the IT address points to any server, the legitimate traffic to that server gets blocked and the site soon becomes unavailable as the users can no longer contact the server. The DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attack is another form of this attack which is also popularly called the flood attack. Here, a group of servers get flooded with overwhelming number of requests. These may be triggered by scripts which run on compromised machines and they lead to the server resources getting exhausted. So, in a DDoS attack, the perpetrator will use multiple systems in many locations for flooding or overwhelming servers with traffic requests.

Key steps which you can take to stop these DDoS attacks and protect your websites:

- One of the first tricks to prevent a DDoS attacks from happening is to ensure you have ample bandwidth. This helps to foil many of these attacks as there is always sufficient bandwidth or processing power for servicing the requests. You can make the infrastructure DDoS-resistant by buying more bandwidth to handle traffic spikes triggered by malicious activities. However, as attacks have become more amplified now, this step may not be enough to control the attacks.

- To make it challenging for attackers to launch DDoS attacks successfully you can spread the servers across multiple geographic locations. There should be an optimum balancing system for distributing traffic amongst them. Ideally, you could set up the data centers in different countries, or at the least, in different regions within the same country. But for this step to be effective these data centers have to be connected to distinct networks. This will ensure there are no networking bottlenecks or point of failure on such networks.

- You can also try to configure your servers to prevent DDoS attacks. For instance, you ma configure the router or firewall to shed incoming ICMP packets from outside the network. This can stop specific DNS or ping-based attacks.

- Another useful strategy to prevent DDoS attacks on websites is to deploy effective firewalls in the network and use WAFs or web application firewalls. Many hardware providers now offer software for protecting against DDoS attacks. These may be useful for stalling SYN attacks as they monitor the number of incomplete connections and then flush these when the numbers reach a specific threshold value configured by them.

- There are also security providers which offer appliances which can be installed in front of the network firewalls. These are designed to stop DDoS attacks before such attacks can take effect. This can be done using many techniques like monitoring traffic behavior, blocking abnormal traffic or blocking traffic depending on known attack signs. But the drawback is that these appliances themselves may be limited in the volume of traffic which they can manage. Today's DDoS attacks may be of a very high magnitude which is hard for them to handle.

- Finally, you should ensure that your DNS servers are redundant and you can place these in various data centers. You can even move onto a cloud-based DNS vendor which can give you higher bandwidth or multiple POPs in tier 3 data centers spread across the globe.

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