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Pro Tips for Choosing the Right Web Host

There was a time, early in the history of the web, when choosing a hosting provider was easy.

You compared a number of server parameters like CPU, memory size, and bandwidth You considered some less important factors like disk capacity, along with more important factors like price, and, eventually, based on what you found, you chose the best option. You most likely chose from companies located somewhere nearby because a large amount of small and mid-sized hosters were and remain mostly local business providers.

Those days are gone. On today’s web, web hosters look very similar, and it is more cost effective for today’s customers to search among a number of services that compete on quality and value-added options, of which, perhaps the most important is server security.

At BotGuard, we work with hosting companies of all sizes and therefore have pretty good visibility to the most common issues they face. For example, the most widely-known server attacks are Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) volumetric attacks. Most providers implement DDoS protection in some way, which is important. Volumetric attacks cannot be mitigated at the specific website level. Most often it is a matter of the provider’s network infrastructure.

More subtle, sophisticated, and less visible attacks are much more common at the application layer. Such attacks consist of overloading certain parts of a website, hacking accounts, stealing website content, and blocking the normal operation of online stores. Their most common method is the intensive use of a variety of malicious bots that mimic human behavior.

Unfortunately, hosting providers are often much less protected from such attacks. Most web hosts use one of the popular Web Application Firewalls (WAF) with custom rules capable of catching some simple bots — but not much more than that. We at BotGuard recommend using a more advanced dedicated anti-bot solution as a separate additional level of protection.

How do you check to see if your hosting provides efficient anti-bot protection? It can be difficult to choose an effective partner by relying solely on ratings, reviews, and recommendations. Certainly social capital has a role, but wouldn’t a simple tool that allows you to compare different vendors make choosing easier?

That’s why BotGuard is now offering a tool that helps you choose the right host for your website. It’s a scanner that checks whether malicious bots can access website content.

You just enter the website address and the scanner checks the site’s protection against a simple bot, a fake search bot, a popular commercial content scraper, and a sophisticated browser emulator. All this takes less than a minute. Its simplicity makes it possible to use it immediately to check a website’s protection. It doesn’t require professional training or knowledge, and doesn’t pose a security threat. We deliberately made it this easy so that everyone can use it.

Protecting a website from bots, which now generate, according to various estimates, about 40% of all web traffic, is a complex professional task that requires significant resources. We believe it is the hoster’s responsibility to protect your website, so if you are a small company, it’s far better to choose the right web host with an already established bot traffic protection system than to try to come up with your own home-made solution that you will have to maintain on a daily basis.

We hope that our simple scanner will help you make the right choice.

If you have ideas or questions, write to me at nik@botguard.net.