Bot traffic is internet traffic generated by automated programs created to carry out routine, typically easy tasks. Web bots generate about half of all internet traffic. Even while there are nice bots that can be useful for your website, about 30% of all traffic is generated by malicious bots.
These bots are made to carry out a variety of harmful operations, such as stealing user accounts, scalping inventory, and scraping and stealing web material. Therefore, efficient bot traffic management is crucial for every company with an online presence.
The various types of web bot traffic
Three major categories can be used to classify web bot traffic:
Recognizing that there are excellent bots that are merely attempting to assist is crucial for regulating bot traffic. In actuality, effective bots are essential to your site’s functionality and success.
Here are two examples of effective bots:
- Bots for search engines
- Vendor/partner bots
Commercial bots are frequently placed under a different heading. These legitimate businesses run the bots, which are often used to gather and profit from online material. Commercial bot traffic will deplete your server’s resources and affect the functionality of your website.
Commercial bots come in the following varieties:
- Aggregator bots
- Price comparison bots
- Copyright bots
Malicious bots won’t adhere to your robots.txt instructions, unlike good bots. Additionally, they frequently attempt to pass themselves off as authentic human users while trying to conceal their identity and source.
However, the primary distinction between these bad bots and good bots is the jobs that they carry out: bad bots are created with the intention of causing harm and are designed to carry out disruptive and even destructive duties. Bad bots can harm you permanently if they are not stopped.
Here are a few typical instances of harmful bots:
- Web scraping bots
- Bots that stuff credentials
- Spam bots
- Ad fraud bots
- DoS (denial of service) bots
- Bots for credit card fraud
- Fake gift card bots
How to spot bot traffic
Bot traffic must first be accurately recognized in order to be managed. Several things to watch out for in your traffic and business KPIs are listed below:
- Traffic volume and bounce rate rising
- Page loading time
- Abnormally lower bounce rates
- SEO effectiveness
- Complaints from clients regarding missing products
How to stop bot traffic
You’ve looked at your statistics and determined that you unquestionably have a bot traffic issue. Now what?
Although stopping bad bot traffic will be our key priority, we also need to manage traffic from commercial and good bots. While they won’t intentionally harm your site, not all good and commercial bots will be helpful for it, and they may also burden its performance with extra traffic.
Monitoring the good bots
Thankfully, monitoring their traffic should be pretty simple because good bots are honest about who they are and are generally prepared to be handled. There are two primary strategies we can employ:
- Block List/Allow List
Monitoring the bad bots
Here are some tools we may try to manage and stop problematic bot traffic:
Purchasing a reliable bot detection solution– Bot traffic may be promptly and accurately mitigated by introducing bot detection API. An advanced bot management system is necessary because of how awful bots are getting at mimicking human behavior and how good they are at doing so.
A bot management system based on AI is now required since bots may even employ AI and machine learning technologies to complete their duties and conceal their identities. If you are concerned about your cybersecurity, investing in a suitable bot detection and mitigation solution is a necessity. Many of these bot management solutions are currently reasonably reasonable and simple to use.
Captcha- Utilizing Captchas is a fundamental strategy to reduce bot traffic. Although it’s simple to use services like Google’s reCaptcha, we shouldn’t conceive of Captchas as a universal solution to bot management. This is due to two factors:
- The user experience and bounce rate of your site can both be negatively impacted by using too many Captchas.
- In addition to the fact that today’s bots are improving, hackers can also use a variety of Captcha farm services, where humans will resolve the Captcha before delivering it to the bot.
Use a WAF- Using a WAF is another popular technique for preventing bot traffic. A WAF is essentially a firewall that is put in between a web application and the client. The WAF receives traffic and resources before sending them to the client. A WAF is similar to a reverse proxy server, in our opinion.
In addition to blocking some of your undesired bot traffic, a WAF can be helpful in defending apps against the most prevalent sorts of assaults.
IP based management- We can nevertheless employ the technique of blocking IP addresses that are obviously sources of malicious bots, despite the fact that today’s bots often use a huge variety of different IP addresses, making IP-based protection fairly ineffectual. However, when blocking public IPs, do with extreme caution as you can also be blocking reputable users.
Any company with a website or online presence may find unmanaged bot traffic to be quite expensive. Therefore, it is crucial to effectively identify and block harmful bot traffic.
While there are a number of strategies we may employ to reduce undesirable bot traffic, purchasing a dedicated bot management solution continues to be the best option.