For years I have hosted several domains in my basement. Not a lot of traffic at all. I decided to host it myself because I anted to be able to have complete control over what was going on. If I wanted the latest version of PHP, I got it. If that then broke the authentication for my MySQL database I updated that too.
But lately I’ve been having some significant trouble keeping on top of things. Not because of version compatibility issues but because of malicious evildoers. When I first put up a domain I installed a guest book, it was a simple form and perl script. You could enter your name and email and a comment – these would be appended to a file that was visible from the web site. It worked fine for a long time I had thousands of well wishers leave nice messages but don’t try that now.
I never did figure out what drove some people to post the most vile and disgusting things in this simple guest book; God know I have no traffic and there was no profit in it. But I know what is driving these evildoers in my current turmoil – and that is click fraud. The blog software I was using ran as an application on a different port and used a redirect to get traffic from the web server to itself.
It took about 6 months for someone to find and exploit this and my web server was hammered with traffic from China mostly requesting to be redirected to the ad server for autos.com. I noticed this right away since it made my DSL unusable and I killer the mod_ http_redirect which solved one problem but also killed my bolg server. Of course I could restrict the traffic or block these ip addresses – and I did create a 404 page that was full of “Free Tibet” and “Support Democracy in China” text and links hoping that these Ad Scammers my site would be blocked and perhaps my 404 page was blocked but their traffic to me, which is what was causing me all of my problems, was not blocked.
So here I am, back on the air; at a hosting company, bluehost.com, which has been a good experience so far. Their tools are easy to use, the price was right and so far the site has been quick – let’s hope they have more patience in dealing with evil than I have.