DDoS Attacks Lead to Downtime and Lost Revenue for Hosting Providers

Corero is pleased to note that one of our customers, InMotion Hosting, has won PC Mag’s Editor’s Choice Award for The Best Web Hosting Services for 2016. One of the key factors for the win was uptime, which is increasingly recognized as the most important feature that hosting providers must offer to website customers. After all, if a customer’s website goes down, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for that customer to conduct business.

In its product review (released on January 7), PC Magazine noted that The aforementioned features are valuable to the Web hosting experience, but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. Recently, we've added uptime monitoring to our review process, and the results show that most Web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Web hosts with uptime issues are heavily penalized during the review process and are unable to qualify for our top ratings.”

When choosing a hosting provider, customers have an ample array of choices, with a variety of features, but not all hosting providers score well in terms of uptime. In an earlier (October, 2015) review of inMotion Hosting, PC Mag wrote: “Uptime is an incredibly important aspect of the hosting experience. If your website is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. That is a nightmare scenario. Thankfully, InMotion has a dependable uptime.”

Hosting providers have had more difficulty in ensuring uptime because of the rampant proliferation of cyberattacks that can easily impact service availability and, in some instances, completely take down a hosting platform. In particular, DDoS attacks are on the rise in terms of frequency, volume and severity. In the past couple of weeks DDoS attacks have been making the news because they’ve crippled the websites of several organizations such as the Minnesota Court System, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Linode and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. However, those high-profile news reports only scratch the surface of the DDoS problem that plagues the Internet. Hosting providers are not immune to DDoS attacks.

In fact, just days after installing the Corero SmartWall® Threat Defense System in its Los Angeles data center, InMotion Hosting was hit with one of the largest volumetric DDoS attacks they had ever seen. This provided a good real-world test for the Corero solution, and the shared server that was targeted by the attack remained online to service customers throughout the duration of the attack.

A DDoS attack on a single client of a hosting provider can create major collateral damage to other hosted customers; essentially they become innocent bystanders who suffer because they are hosted on the same shared facilities as the intended victim. And when websites go offline because of a cyberattack on the hosting provider servers, the website owners aren’t sympathetic to the hosting provider; they’re likely to jump ship.

Hosting providers can help keep their customers happy by defending their servers against DDoS attacks. A happy customer is a loyal customer, which equals revenue. As the PC Mag review suggests, uptime reliability matters. Hosting providers with a reputation for good uptime have a competitive advantage in two areas: customer acquisition and customer loyalty. Furthermore, hosting companies incur a lot of costs every time they have to scramble to mitigate the damage from a DDoS breach. The bottom line is, downtime equals revenue losses.