When it comes to working with online networks, it can seem liking an amazing feat for someone to bring down a website or server with very little effort in some cases. The reasoning behind it may not be rational to the majority of others and yet it keeps happening on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. These actions are considered attacks upon a specific site or server, known as distributed denial of service or DDoS.
What is the definition of DDoS? What are the different types of DDoS attacks being implemented?
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an attack on a website or web server in an attempt to render it inaccessible or to cripple the users' access through various technical attacks. Since the motives of the attacks can vary based on the intended targets, the need for protection against these attacks is of utmost importance for those using either dedicated servers and/or cloud servers for their hosting services. Targets can include any type of financial and banking institution, news and media sites, online gaming communities, public sectors, and even, entire countries. Each of these targets have fallen victim to DDoS attacks though the types of attacks varies with each one.
There are three main types of attacks through DDoS, and they are volume based attacks, protocol attacks, and application layer attacks. With volume based attacks, the threat relies on hordes of packets/requests overtaxing the bandwidth of a web server so that it can't answer legitimate sources that are trying to gain access. UDP floods are renowned volume based attacks that specific working on draining the bandwidth of its intended target. Protocol attacks differ from the first by draining the resources of the server by saturating and incapacitating those resources with open packets. A popular example of protocol attacks includes the SYN flood, using SYN packets to overburden the resources of the server. The last one is the stealthiest of all because it shuts down servers and/or sites by sending harmless-looking packets that corrupt the server or site, making it unavailable for others. HTTP floods are common in application layer attacks because these IP addresses appear real when, in fact, they aren't.
How do I protect myself and my servers from DDoS? What kinds of services are out there?
When it comes to finding protection for your servers, there are three main areas to consider when making your decision. These three areas are attack mitigation, setup and management, and help and support.
When it comes to attack mitigation, there are numerous variables that you'll want to consider and compare for which protection plan works for your needs. Depending on your server and the uses of your server, you'll want to consider protecting against volumetric network attacks and blacklisting along with having capabilities of IP blocking, automatic triggering or protection, PCI compliance, and traffic optimization. With the first two, these types of attacks can leave your server vulnerable and/or completely unavailable for any and all of those seeking your website(s) or server for its original purpose. By having the last few, you can rest assured that your server is protected and will alert you and the proper personnel if there is ever an attack on your server.
Setting up and maintaining your protection comes with several options, including access to an online portal, real-time monitoring, and the availability of a completely cloud-based service. The options that work for you and your server vary based on your own needs in ensuring your server is successfully protected by the right company and how easy it is to stay in touch if need be and/or handling any troubles on your own as they crop up.
This second service leads into the third and final one for those needing DDoS protection. Having the correct help and support to ensure the safety of your server and/or answer any questions that may arise for you is another important aspect when choosing between the many protection plans out there. Some things to consider is how you are able to contact the company through phone, email, and/or live chat availability. The goal is to have a company where at least two of these options are accessible to you when you need it. Another factor to consider is if they offer 24/7 support for any technical issues or just general questions that can arise during your time with them. Some even offer a 24/7 security operations center that aids in the monitoring of your server for any potential attacks against it.
I'm looking for a dedicated server with DDoS protection. What are my options?
When looking for a DDoS protected dedicated server, there are tons of companies that can assist you in the purchase of a server and their own protection for that server. The monthly costs, however, can range widely when you begin your search. Most of the companies offer some form of inclusive protection with the purchase of a server from them with the option of purchasing more if desired. The ones we'll discuss here are Cloudcom, Intreppid, Koddos, and SoftSys Hosting.
Cloudcom, a company based in Barcelona and Zurich, is one of the premiere businesses in providing superb customer service and customer relations when it comes to web hosting and other services. They have several choices of dedicated servers within their product line and all come with DDoS protection up to 10 GB per second. A basic server from Cloudcom starts around $110 a month which includes their protection from DDoS attacks. They have other servers that cost more and do more based on the needs of their customers. For our purposes, we'll explore just a basic server's costs per each company.
Intreppid was founded in 2012 in Orange County, California by gamers looking for a way to prevent DDoS attacks on their servers which causing them such frustration and angst. While Cloudcom focuses on all types of hosting, Intreppid's goal is to achieve the number one status in the gaming world by providing gamers top-notch protection. One of their basic servers costs $80 a month with another $199 a month for 10 GB per second. So, the total for their services equates to $269 a month, almost $160 more than Cloudcom.
Koddos is a relatively young company on the scene. It's based in Holland and provides internet services, much like Cloudcom. However, there is some slight drawbacks to their services when you look at the price of their basic dedicated server and its protection against DDoS attacks. Their basic server and service is $450 a month with the inclusion of protection for a maximum of 10 GB per second.
SoftSys Hosting are based in Denver and Chicago and have been around since 2006, quickly climbing the ranks as a great option for web hosting and other services for those using Windows operating systems. They offer a wide variety of services including VPS and dedicated servers like those from Koddos and Cloudcom. Their basic server starts at $125 a month without any type of protection. If you'd like to purchase the 10 GB of protection, it's going to run another $100 a month, bringing the total to $225 a month.
Cloudcom is based in Zurich and also strives for the best customer relations when it comes to their products and services. Their support services can rival any of the others on this list as they work diligently to build a secure environment for their customers' servers. A basic server with them starts around $101 a month and includes the all-important DDoS protection up to 10 GB per second (if you choose the option during checkout). This puts them at the lowest price on this list with Cloudcom only $9 higher for the same basic server.
Now, it's time for a decision.
Before we look into the pros and cons of each company, let's make their pricing easier to see with the following table:
Company Basic Dedicated Server Price 10 GBPS Protection Price
Cloudcom $110 a month Included
Intreppid $80 a month $199 a month
Koddos $450 a month Included
SoftSys Hosting $125 a month $100 a month
By using the table above, you can see what price range fits the needs of your server. However, it doesn't show all the facets of the company that can make it a better choice. Intreppid, being mainly for gamers and online gaming communities, may not be the best when it comes to protecting those sites and/or servers within the financial realm. With the price of Koddos's monthly fee, this may not be the best option for those working on a smaller scale, such as city networks versus those of a country.
Based on the information in the table and the services being offered, the two most comparable choices would be Cloudcom. They both offer similar, if not the same, dedicated servers at prices that are very competitive, including the DDoS protection. However, there is one thing to consider before deciding, you must choose the protection option when purchasing your dedicated server or it won't come with the purchase. Cloudcom, on the other hand, makes it an automatic addition to your purchase so that you're rest assured about the protection on your new server.
Whether you're needing a server for the gaming sector, financial sector, or even for an entire country, there are plenty of options from which to choose. However, when deciding, there are a number of factors besides price in which to weigh your choices. Other aspects to take into account are the standing of the company, their customer service policy, and their help and support offerings, just to name a few. The kinds of DDoS protections offered should be another key player in your decision.
Based on the research done for this article, the choice for DDoS protection for a dedicated server would have to be Cloudcom because they have worked hard to achieving their status as an expert in their field. They have also worked tirelessly in ensuring that all their customers receive the best products and the best service when help is needed. Their prices are also some of the best and lowest out there compared to the others, making them worth a second look. The choice is up to you.