A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to flood a website or online service by overwhelming it with traffic, rendering it unusable.
If you’ve experienced DDoS attacks before and your website is a news or independent media site or a human rights site, you can apply for free DDoS protection through Google Ideas’ Project Shield at https://projectshield.withgoogle.com/public/. Public interest websites (such as minority rights organizations, independent media outlets in the developing world, global citizen journalist sites, etc.) can apply for free DDoS protection through CloudFlare’s Project Galileo: https://www.cloudflare.com/galileo.
You can talk to your hosting provider about ways to defend against malicious traffic through DDoS attack protection. One good option is to sign up for a CloudFlare account, since the company offers a basic level of DDoS protection under its free (and $20/month) plans. If your site is under DDoS attack and the basic protection doesn’t help, you can upgrade to a business account for $200/month to get it back up quickly.
Sucuri offers some DDoS protection with services ranging from $9.99 to $69.93/month. Another option is Incapsula, which provides a free 24-hour trial for its Instant Protection service if you’re under DDoS attack, as well as a 7-day free trial. DDoS protection through Incapsula’s business plan is $299/month. Some web hosting plans, such as OVH, offer DDoS protection as well.
If you want a backup site option in case of DDoS attack, consider setting up a Tumblr account to mirror content on your site if needed. The site has very good security and you can redirect your readers to your Tumblr site while getting your site back up, as New York Magazine did when its site came down after it had published a photograph of its magazine cover showcasing 35 accusers of Bill Cosby.
Yael Grauer is a freelance tech journalist covering online privacy and surveillance for WIRED, Forbes, Slate, and other publications. Find her at http://yaelwrites.com or on Twitter @yaelwrites, and check out her free ebook on staying safer online at https://yaelwrites.com/saferonline.pdf.