18 months of spam fighting

I could never understand why web hosting companies were so terrible. No matter who I signed up with, my blog was always unstable as hell, regularly becoming unresponsive for no apparent reason. I’d decided this was the Way of Things until I moved over to Damian‘s hosting, and he quickly found the cause: wongaBlog is regularly nuked by spammers. I’m on some zombie list – heaven only knows why – and the botnets regularly flood the site with such voluminous garbage that it falls over.

This was more than Damian had signed up for, but he valiantly fought off what amounted to DDoS attacks on his server. We tried plenty of remedies, and eventually had the blog locked down so tight we had to watch for regular users blocked in the crossfire. But the nature of botnets means you can never predict where the next wave will come from, and it was a continual battle to respond. Each new attack would take out the machine until Damian got there1, which was far from ideal. He did a great job keeping up with them, but eventually the spamming scale became too great and I was causing problems for other clients on the same server.

On his recommendation I’ve now moved over to Lunarpages, who use stupidly powerful servers even for the little guys. Things seem ok so far, though I expect an admin somewhere has had an interesting week.

But Damian deserves huge thanks for 18 months of swarm-fighting. It was way beyond the pay grade, and very kind of him – I’m most grateful. Hopefully his servers are more stable now.

  1. techy detail: such attacks would see the server load jump from 0.02 to 20 in seconds, taking out the slice and forcing a reboot []

In need of a new domain

I need to change domain name. wongablog.co.uk regularly suffers massive spam attacks, and the resulting load takes down my site and anything else on the server (sites somewhat more important than little personal blogs). Individual attacks can be dealt with fairly quickly, but every new batch of zombie machines require individual attention, and it’s never going to stop.

The easiest way of dealing with this is to upgrade to a ridiculously powerful server with lots of bandwidth. This costs a lot, though, and isn’t an option.

The other solution is to ditch wongablog.co.uk and set up some kind of bot-befuddling forwarding system so links still work. This is my host’s recommendation, and certainly seems sensible. So I need to set up a new domain in the not-too-distant future.

wordofwonga.co.uk and worldofwonga.co.uk have both been suggested, or I could just go back to the old wandwaver.co.uk. I’ve a couple of ideas, but nothing that particularly grabs me. Obviously I’m not asking people to put any effort into this, but should anything happen to occur, please let me know…thanks muchly 🙂

Blog Updates

Feeling much better today, happily 🙂 Haven’t done much, though.

I’m altogether fed up with my website going down all the time. I’m registered with a service that tries to download a text file every minute or so and emails me if the server doesn’t respond for a length of time. Over the last few weeks this has been happening anywhere between four and fifteen times per day, for anything up to twenty minutes. Various people have commented on my website being down recently, I contacted my hosts – IXWebhosting – and they deny any problems. My hosting is up for renewal in a couple of weeks, so I’m going to be moving providers (again), this time to the very highly-regarded Textdrive. It’s a little more expensive than before, but I think it’s worth it to get decent service. I’m hoping it’ll be faster, too. I’ve transferred ballisticduck.co.uk to their servers today, and once I’ve figured out how their system works I’ll move the whole blog over. That’s no small job, so I’ll work myself up to it.

Played around with the blog this afternoon: just tidying up a few things. The poll should now work properly, and no longer requires a page refresh. The times on the front page are now displayed slightly differently, and the archive pages now display related posts and a smaller tag cloud. Nothing very exciting. The webcam software was causing my computer to spontaneously restart, weirdly, so that’s still disabled while I try to figure out the problem.