Bulletproof Your Website: A Guide to Avoiding Unwarranted Bans & Blacklists

Build your bulletproof site and safeguard your business

The online space has become a battleground where websites, personalities, and content creators – ranging from eCommerce stores and campaign websites to profiles on alternative content platforms like Patreon or YouTube – are frequently targeted for various reasons. 

Digital platforms have taken action against figures and organizations across the ideological spectrum. On one hand, platforms have banned or restricted content and accounts for what they perceive as harmful misinformation or incitement, as seen with various political figures and influencers. For example, Donald Trump’s blog and Shopify store were taken down in 2021 after he had been banned from several social media companies for his views.

On the other hand, there have been instances where platforms faced criticism for suspending journalists and activist accounts, which sparked debates about censorship and bias. A notable example is when Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) faced scrutiny for its decision to temporarily suspend the accounts of several journalists and commentators who had been critical of Musk’s politics, like the account for the TrueAnon podcast.

These situations underscore the complex challenges of moderating content and maintaining an open yet safe online environment. 

Organizations, particularly if their viewpoints are controversial or unconventional, must prioritize proactive measures to safeguard their online presence. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This means that reacting to threats or violations post-occurrence is often too late and can result in irreparable damage.

This post will cover the common methods used to take down websites associated with controversial figures. We’ll show you why WooCommerce is a resilient platform for eCommerce stores caught up in such takedowns and explore strategies to construct a robust WooCommerce store from the outset!

Common ways websites get taken down

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic. They exploit the massive scale of the internet to overwhelm a website, making it inaccessible to its intended users.

The impact of DDoS attacks on websites and online platforms can be devastating. Beyond disrupting the normal operations of a site, DDoS attacks can destroy user trust, damage reputational integrity, and lead to significant financial losses.

The case of GiveSendGo

GiveSendGo – a fundraising website – fell victim to a malicious cyberattack. 


GiveSendGo was used to raise millions of dollars for a protest, and they confirmed that hackers breached its network and disclosed the names of donors, sharing this news on X/Twitter:

GiveSendGo announced they have been experiencing heavy DDoS and bot attacks on their X/Twitter page.

This incident was not just a straightforward DDoS attack. The perpetrators also discovered an exploit within the website’s security framework, which caused disruption to services and led to a significant data leak.

Before using GiveSendGo, the fundraising campaign had been hosted on GoFundMe, which didn’t disburse the raised funds and instead donated them to a charity of their choice. This decision met with widespread public backlash, resulting in refunds being issued to the donors.

This GiveSendGo incident showcases the multifaceted nature of threats facing websites, especially those associated with contentious or politically sensitive causes. It shows us exactly how important robust digital defenses are to safeguard against just DDoS attacks and other potential vulnerabilities.

Violating hosting provider or domain service policies

When it comes to why websites are sometimes taken down, one big reason is that they break the rules and Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) set by their hosting provider, domain registrar, or domain registry.

Hosting companies and domain services may not have the right resources or abuse management frameworks to properly vet individual cases, so they make their T&Cs to compensate for this and cover more broadly. As a result, more users get banned or blacklisted.

Another issue is that these providers can change their rules later on. So, even if your website was compliant when you first made it, new rules could suddenly put it at risk of being shut down or losing its domain name.

For instance, the Whois.ai domain registry has updated its T&Cs in a manner that seems to target or disproportionately affect certain ideologies, which could lead registrants’ domain names to get suspended or canceled.

Choosing the right service providers

To protect your website, it’s important to choose services with a good system for handling these issues. They should be able to tell the difference between:

  • Serious legal problems like, “This site stole $1000 from me”.
  • Less serious issues like, “This site said something I disagree with”.

The first claim is, of course, illegal and necessary to investigate, and the second is based on subjective moral principles.

For instance, NameSilo, a domain registrar, bases its policies around legal compliance rather than subjective beliefs, offering a more stable and predictable platform for website owners.

NameSilo’s homepage.

Opting for certain domain extensions can provide an added layer of security. The .link domain extension is recommended for potentially controversial businesses or figures, as its associated registry, Nova, primarily focuses on legal breaches rather than subjective content evaluations.

How WooCommerce can be used for bulletproof stores

Create bulletproof online stores with WooCommerce.

The advantage of being open-source

As a fully open-source platform, WooCommerce offers significant advantages over closed platforms. Closed platforms, despite their ease of use, hold a significant degree of control over your content and data. This control can become a double-edged sword, especially when disputes arise. 

Larger players might pressure Amazon, for instance, into shutting down smaller players who pose a threat or risk to their business. These larger players can often claim that the smaller parties are violating Amazon’s policies when it might not be true.

In contrast, the open-source nature of WooCommerce offers a level of autonomy and security that closed platforms cannot match. Users can:

  • Easily back up their content and data.
  • Have the ability to implement a distributed architecture so that shifting the site to a different hosting environment is always an option. 

Despite building a robust and safe WooCommerce store requiring more resources and time, it’s essential for those operating in controversial spheres for long-term resilience.

Wide range of hosting options

WooCommerce’s flexibility extends to hosting options. The wide array of hosting providers available means that businesses can select those that align with their needs, including providers that don’t enforce strict content policies and are open to hosting all forms of legal content.

Offshore hosting can be an excellent solution for certain businesses, offering increased privacy and often less restrictive content policies. While offshore hosting can involve navigating different legal jurisdictions and potentially higher costs, the benefits in terms of privacy and autonomy can be substantial for those operating in certain domains.

Control over security measures

An integral aspect of building a bulletproof WooCommerce store is the control over security measures. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) provide an additional layer of protection against DDoS attacks and similar threats. 

Cloudflare, one of the most popular CDNs, exemplifies the benefits of this technology. It enhances website security by rerouting malicious traffic away from your site. Cloudflare is generally regarded as a neutral CDN, making it a suitable option for businesses or figures that might be deemed controversial.

The ability to accept crypto payments

For certain businesses, the ability to transact in cryptocurrencies is necessary. Traditional banking systems can pose challenges for these entities, making cryptocurrencies an attractive alternative. WooCommerce facilitates this need by enabling crypto payments.

Crypto payments provide a level of financial autonomy and privacy that is hard to match with traditional banking methods, making WooCommerce an even more appealing choice for those seeking to safeguard their financial transactions from unwarranted scrutiny.

Hello Mood: A shining example of a bulletproof Woo store

Hello Mood homepage.

Let’s look at Hello Mood’s case and how we at Saucal helped them build a bulletproof site despite them operating in a sector often labeled as ‘high-risk’.

Hello Mood, like any website dealing with THC products, faced significant challenges typical of high-risk businesses because of the varying legal status of cannabis and related products across different jurisdictions, both within the United States and internationally. This legal complexity can lead to increased caution from web hosting services, payment processors, and regulatory bodies due to legal liability, regulatory compliance issues, or concerns over facilitating transactions that may not be legal in all areas. 

Since Hello Mood’s site was experiencing rapid growth, it led to frequent crashes and slow-loading pages. Their self-hosted solution was complex and hard to manage, which resulted in lost sales and growth potential. 

At Saucal, our approach involved migrating Hello Mood’s platform to our custom-managed WooCommerce hosting stack, optimized specifically for high-volume, high-traffic WooCommerce sites no matter the business sector.

The aim was to create a comprehensive solution for them, starting from building a robust and secure WooCommerce platform to integrating alternative payment solutions that cater to their specific business model. We wanted to focus on keeping their website operational and thriving despite their industry challenges.

The results? 

  • A WooCommerce-specific setup that runs more efficiently.
  • Increased capacity to handle traffic and transactions.
  • Server response times improved by up to 57%.
  • Reduced server management time for the Hello Mood team.

That’s why whether you’re a startup navigating high-risk waters or an established player facing controversial tides, Saucal is your partner in building an uncancellable WooCommerce store!

Building an uncancellable WooCommerce store with Saucal

At Saucal, a leading WooCommerce agency, we can help you create an online store that is effective as well as bulletproof. Our expertise extends beyond mere development; we specialize in identifying and implementing tailored solutions that cater to your specific needs.

We have a proven track record of building bulletproof sites for public figures and assisting multiple enterprises and companies in constructing sites that have endured multiple attacks but remained solid. Our experience in fortifying online presences in the face of adversity ensures that your WooCommerce store is functional and resilient against any potential threats.

Whether it’s advanced security solutions or navigating the complexities of payment processing, our team is equipped to handle the unique challenges that come with operating in potentially controversial or high-risk domains.

Saucal’s managed WooCommerce hosting service

Our managed WooCommerce hosting service is designed to provide stability and protection against website takedowns through:

  • Robust security measures: We employ state-of-the-art security protocols to safeguard your store against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other cyber threats.
  • Performance optimization: Our hosting solutions are optimized for speed and reliability, guaranteeing your store remains operational and responsive, even under high traffic.
  • Regular backups and updates: We conduct regular backups and updates to ensure your store is secure and running the latest, most stable version of software.
  • Scalable infrastructure: As your business grows, our hosting service scales with you, providing the necessary resources to handle increased traffic and transactions seamlessly.

If necessary, our Saucal team can also transition your store to offshore hosting. This option provides an additional layer of security and privacy, especially beneficial for businesses operating in sensitive or politically charged environments.

Build your bulletproof site and safeguard your business

Because running an online business puts you at risk of unpredictability and ever-shifting norms, the importance of proactively safeguarding your online presence cannot be overstated. Rather than merely reacting to challenges as they pop up, it’s necessary to build a foundation that can withstand the various forms of challenges – from unwarranted bans to aggressive cyberattacks. 

WooCommerce is an ideal eCommerce platform, particularly for those operating in high-risk areas. Its open-source nature, coupled with a wide range of hosting options, provides an unparalleled level of control and flexibility. This control extends to security measures, where tools like CDNs offer added protection, and the ability to accept crypto payments opens new doors for financial autonomy.

However, harnessing the full potential of WooCommerce requires expertise and experience. This is where partnering with WooCommerce experts like Saucal becomes invaluable.

Our team at Saucal has the technical expertise and strategic insight to build robust and resilient online stores. We understand the nuances of WooCommerce and how to tailor it to meet the unique challenges and needs of your business.

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