Imperva Incapsula Review

Speed up WordPress – increase security


In a nutshell this is what Incapsula does:

Incapsula offers state-of-the-art security and performance to websites of all sizes. Through a simple DNS change, your website’s traffic is seamlessly routed through Incapsula’s globally-distributed network of high-powered servers. Incoming traffic is intelligently profiled in real-time, blocking even the latest web threats: from sophisticated SQL injection attacks to scrapers, malicious bots, intruding comment spammers and thwarting multi-Gigabit DDoS attacks. Meanwhile, outgoing traffic is accelerated and optimized with Incapsula’s global CDN, for faster load times, keeping welcome visitors speeding through.

I’ve always been interested in how to make my website faster but with the news about brute force attacks on WordPress, I wanted a more secure website as well. Researching WordPress security, I was surprised to find the following image from Incapsula on what sort of traffic you actually get.

I don’t know how accurate this study is, I would like to see more data but I was surprised to say the least. I didn’t know just how much bandwidth could be wasted by automated services on your website.

So I decided to try Incapsula to see what it could do for my website and try and show you through this Incapsula review, just what this product can do.

But what can Incapsula do against all of this? A much easier way of answering this would be to watch their promo video

Install Incapsula
The installation was pretty easy and within 5 mins I was done. All that is required is to change your DNS records, you can see more about the setup here.
For WordPress users it’s also advised for you to install their WordPress plugin.

By using this plugin you will have no change to your originating IPs when using Incapsula. Incapsula acts as a reverse proxy and all incoming connections to your website first pass through one of Incapsula’s servers. This plugin will ensure that you continue to see the real originating IP of your website visitors.

Once this is all setup, it’s just a waiting game for Incapsula to start collecting the data.

Inside Incapsula

inside-incapsula

Once the DNS changes have been made and Incapsula has had time to do its job, you’ll see an image like above when you log in. This is a 7 day run down of what has been going on with your website. As you can see my bot visits out-number the human visits by quite some way.

Not all bots are bad however, I need Google-bot in order for my website to be found as well you a large number of other good bots but Incapsula reports that in the last 7 days there’s been 158 bad bots on my website!

Incapsula security

To test the security of Incapsula, I deleted my Askimet plugin as Incapsula can handle comment bots and protect me from spam. I also let it run for 7 days to see what it would report. Here’s my 7 day run down of what happened on my website.

Going further into the Incapsula dashboard you get a run down of the top attacking countries with USA being my top one with 30% next is China with 20%.

Incapsula also gives you a run down of the types of threats to your website.

threats

So it’s clear that bots are my biggest problem and Incapsula also shows what type of bot is causing the most problems, in my case it’s the comment spammer with 94%. I did want to test just how good Incapsula was so I deleted my Askimet plugin. Considering the amount of comment spammer bots visting my websites, Incapsula does a very good job of protecting my website. Although I still get a couple of spam comments a day without Askimet, I’m still impressed with Incapsula.

comment-spammer

Incapsula will also email you when there’s a threat. This is an email I got yesterday when someone tried to login to my website. Incapsula blocked the request.

login

This image is also provided by incapsula showing the top client applications. It surprising just how many bots are out there on the Internet!
bots2

To get a better idea of bot vs humans, Incapsula provides you with the following image. This is a nice example of just how much of your bandwidth is being wasted with unwanted bots on your website.

bots

Incapsula speed

Not only does Incapsula do a pretty god job of protecting your website but it also increases the speed of it. By blocking unwanted bots and saving your bandwidth, it not only saves you resources and money but you also get to use their CDN for a faster website.

So I wanted to test the speed of Incapsula, I switched to advanced performance and tested the before and after. The results are below.

Before advanced Incapsula-speed

After advancedIncapsula-review-speed2

According to Pingdom switching to advanced performance on Incapsula increased the speed of my website by just over 50%!

You can also see the response time of the CDN location centers.

response-time

With the advanced setting of Incapsula it also caches dynamic cotent which you can read about here. There’s also a good article on how a CDN can help your SEO by Incapsula.

I’ve been impressed with Incapsula, it not only protects me from spammers and bad bots but it has also increased the speed of my website by over 50%. I found Incapsula very easy to use and once the setup is done everything is done automatically for you leaving you with a peace of mind of a faster website with better security.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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1 Comment
Head of Data Center at a university with 1,001-5,000 employeesVendor

A very good review of the product with matching graphics and stats to prove it. This is really something worth considering for anyone operating a high-traffic site, and I would definitely like to implement this for our university web services.

21 November 13
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