An IP or Internet Protocol address is a series of numbers separated by dots. They are basically the detailed location of your hardware which also allows devices to communicate with each other over IP-based networks such as the internet. An IP address generally looks like this:
An IP address can be used to find the exact location of any device including the locality and where it is situated.
But sometimes, these IP addresses are used by hackers or spammers to attack or spam a website. If your site is being constantly nagged by the same IP address or set of IP addresses, you can block them to safeguard your website from such attacks. Blocking IP addresses results in denying the access requests of visitors with that IP address.
As the owner of a site, you can provide the list of IPs you want to block from visiting your site. You can do this manually or by the use of plugins. There are many popular and effective plugins on WordPress you can use to block the IPs of suspicious visitors.
But before you start putting up a shield for your website and block some IP addresses, you must keep some pros and cons of the process in mind.
Advantages of IP Blocking
· First line of defense – You can use IP blocking to block the IP addresses of some known visitors who have been creating trouble to your website. Although this doesn’t guarantee complete security for your website, it is a viable basic defense mechanism for your site against spammers and rookie hackers.
· Blacklist common harmful visitors – There are many lists on the internet listing out the IP addresses for some well-known trouble makers. You can blacklist those addresses so they may never get a chance to get to your site in the first place.
· Country-wise restriction – The troublemakers generally originate from specific countries in many situations, particularly those with weak cyber-crime laws. If that country doesn’t come under your targeted audience, you can block any or all IP addresses originating from those countries.
· Utilize htaccess to reduce load – htaccess (https://www.wpwhitesecurity.com/wordpress-security-hacks/block-ip-address-htaccess-wordpress/) can be used to do the task in order to reduce the load on your site.
Cons of IP blocking
· Blocking valid users – You may accidently block IP addresses of some valid visitors of your site thus affecting your site traffic and viewership.
· Crash occurrence – Blocking IP addresses is not an easy task, and if done incorrectly, it may lead to crashing of your site which is an irreparable damage. So tread cautiously while you are blocking IP addresses of your visitors.
· No guarantee of complete security – You may restrict a trouble maker by blocking his/her IP address, but there’s no guarantee your site is completely safe. He/she may visit or attack your site by any different IP address. So, it is more like a cat-and-mouse game.
· Blocking search engine crawlers – You might end up blocking search engines crawler by mistake while performing IP blocking of malicious visitors and bots which can lead to an SEO catastrophe for your site.
· Losing particular audience – Visitors from all over world may visit your site for your content. Country-wise blocking thus can lead to the loss of a potential visitor-base for your website.
· Loss of a larger audience base – IP addresses are many-a-times shared by some users. Employees of an office for instance may have the same IP address and sometimes, an entire country also uses a small cluster of IPs for some particular purposes. Therefore, you may block out a whole group of visitors unknowingly by blocking a single IP address sometimes.
Seeing all those cons may dissuade you from blocking IP addresses completely as you don’t want to lose your site traffic at any cost. But, the cons can be reduced significantly if you use firewall services like MalCare or Sucuri instead of going for manual blocking of IP addresses without affecting the benefits gained from it.
MalCare, for instance, not only helps you with IP blocking but works as a complete malware scanner for your site. It picks and scans every suspicious activity on your site using its advanced algorithm making sure only legitimate threats are being blocked. It can detect even complex hack attempts and deal with them effectively. It also possesses a self-learning algorithm which helps it to learn to identify different kinds of hacks overtime.
IP blocking is a basic but good method to safeguard your website from spammers, bots and minor hackers. They help you to avoid constant attacks from a troublemaker by completely denying him access to your site. You can employ this method as a basic