The Internet is has a large community of spammers, hackers and vandals who derive their value from harming others. During the last five years, battling hackers and recovering from their attacks has cost Net Step more than $25,000 so we're getting rather aggressive to protect our system.

Hardware Firewall
In 2013 we added a hardware firewall to our system, which isn't cheap, but it enables us to control access to many parts of our server.

However, we can't block normal website traffic for obvious reasons so their's still an information super highway that bad people can ride onto our server.

Blocking Bad Traffic
Testing on our server indicated that 419,500 of the 683,210 visits to our server yesterday were visits by "bots" or automated crawlers that roam the web looking for email addresses and vulnerable sites. That would be like having 60% of your phone calls being from telemarketers...it's a massive waste of resources. We were able to install a couple systems that block all of that traffic so the server should be much happier.

Caching
Website caching saves a copy of a visited page for X minutes. This reduces database queries and speeds up the server. The down side is you must manually delete the cache or wait X min to see changes. We implemented 30 minute caching on all our sites on March 10, 2013, but we can adjust that for each site. Please let us know if this is causing problems for you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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