News: More Spam Protection

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Spitt 6:47 am on 26 December, 2014.

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    You may or may not care about this, but as a website owner, I am always trying to cut costs, while improving performance. About 2 years ago, I switched over to a VPS, aka Virtual Private Server. This had the effect of raising the site’s cost, and improving performance, but at the same time, costs went up. Ok, no problem, I  figured I would be able to save the site from going down so often. It is a somewhat popular site, bandwidth happens. Sadly, I started running into some of the same errors as I had before, which would cause issues with the site being taken down. With a site which received 1k-4k hits a day, I didn’t expect that it would cause me errors with a VPS.

    So I started to look for a solution. The first thing I learned is that my database was HUGE. The increased size came from 2 (imho) essential plugins. The first is called Pretty Link, which tracks your clicks on links which I make up to look … well pretty. Also called a link cloaker. The second was a plugin which would do 2 things. First, it would allow users to rate posts. It had a secondary action which I truly found essential however, which was to track which posts got the most visitors. Now both of these could have the logs removed. Here’s what I found… we went from a 130mb database file down to 50mb. Now it’s a matter of periodically cleaning out the cache on both of these plugins.

    This helped immensely, but we still had huge spikes. where the site would be taken down. For this, I began tracking what was being hit, when a surge occurred. Now this one shocked me. These huge bursts of traffic, were from spammers. They were literally forcing my site down, almost like a DDOS attack. The next step, was to actually go back to standard hosting and add on an anti-spam plugin. I went back to godaddy, had them put up a wordpress site, but then when we would get hit, I didn’t have to deal with the issue internally (which sucked if I was afk and unable to restart the server – as it would stay dead till I could). I simply let godaddy handle it. But that cropped a new set of issues. Mainly, the issue was connection limitations. The site wouldn’t scale if I had too many visitors, so essentially the site would go down for a time, if legitimate people were visiting.

    So we went over to a grid type host. Thats what Media Temple is btw (our current host). Now what happens, is we get charge for overage charges. Sadly this also means that last month, we quintupled our hosting cost. We actually got charged over 5 times what the site hosting should have cost!!! This then told me a couple things. Mainly, that everything I have done, hasn’t been enough. Time to do more.

    So it’s recommended that I grab a caching plugin. A Caching plugin will convert php to html, which is to say that what ever I make in a post, won’t be pulled each time from the database. Instead, a page is created, which you will then be redirected to. So each time, the database isn’t pulled, thus removing some of the processing power. So at this point, it’s been running for a couple days. I went to go check the stats today, and found something interesting. First, the estimated overage was less then the previous amount – this is good. Second that comment posting, is now the number 1 pull on the site.

    We again have to refer to those damned spammers. Where everything else, which you do on the site takes up x% of power, the highest drain on the processing power, is comment posting. This pulls in 5%-8% of the processing power. Really, all this could be solved with just renaming the file for posting, but it would also break the site. I have added another anti-spam program which is supposed to stop most spammers from actually seeing the comment form, thus lowering the processing power as well. However, the results I won’t know, till tomorrow when I can check it again, possibly the following day since I might want to see it on a full 24 hour cycle.

    If you’ve ever wondered why I moderate comments… I give 2 reasons… 1) the anti-spam doesn’t stop 100% of all spam. We get around 1k-3k spammers trying to hit every day, of that maybe 10% get through to the moderation queue. You never see it… 2) I don’t allow vulgarity on the site, I will clean up your comments. I will remove comments which say we suck or any other number of rude comments. Here’s an interesting statistic for you…

    Stop Spammers has stopped 1,007,641 spammers since 2014/01/28.

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