How to Prevent Bot Traffic

Alex McConnell
Alex McConnell
10/12/18
4 Minute read
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Article Contents

    Bot traffic makes up almost half of all internet traffic. From SEO spiders to spambots, there are billions of bots crawling sites all over the internet — so it’s difficult to avoid them, which is why bot prevention is so important.

    Malicious bots make up most of this traffic — so if you’re experiencing a lot of bot traffic, you need to know where it’s coming from and how to mitigate it. Learn about bot prevention.

    Do you need to worry about bot traffic?

    Bots can target all kinds of websites, software, mobile apps, and APIs. So if you’re online, there’s a chance that bots will visit your site. Due to this, understanding bot prevention is crucial to be able to catch this early on.

    Sometimes this is a good thing. Search engine bots and copyright bots are helpful for your site, as they prevent content theft and index sites in Google. But most bots are bad and can cause serious issues for your business, including:

    • Website downtime — costing businesses $350,000 an hour on average
    • Data breaches — which can result in large fines and penalties
    • Customer fraud — causing anxiety and financial problems for customers
    • Skewed marketing analytics — preventing you from making the best decisions for your business
    • Reputation damage — making it hard to retain existing customers and win new business.

    While all online businesses are vulnerable to unwanted bot traffic, larger websites are most likely to be targeted which is why bot prevention is so important. Some industries are also affected more than others, including:

    Businesses in these sectors must implement bot prevention and anti-bot solutions that prevent malicious bot traffic from accessing their websites, apps, and other online networks.

    Should you block all kinds of bot traffic?

    Because not all bot traffic is bad, there’s little value in a solution that blocks all bot traffic. In fact, this can actively damage your SEO since you’ll be preventing Googlebot and other search engine spiders from finding and indexing your website, therefore your bot prevention needs to be measured.

    Instead, you need to find a solution that can detect bot traffic and distinguish between different types of bots. It should allow good bots to crawl your website as needed while blocking malicious bot traffic.

    How to tell if you’re experiencing bot traffic

    Manual bot prevention is difficult. Not only does it take up significant staff resources, but it also requires constant focus and fast decision-making. Plus, if you end up with false positives, you may be blocking genuine users and good bots from accessing your site.

    Bot detection software is the best way to identify and stop bot traffic. The most effective solutions automate the whole bot prevention process, so you won’t need to constantly monitor your site analytics for signs of rogue visitors.

    5 ways to prevent bad bot traffic

    There are many ways to block unauthorized bot traffic from your website and there is a variety of bot prevention solution options. Below we have compiled a list of the best bot prevention tools:

    1. Web application firewalls

    One of the most widely-used security bot prevention solution options, web application firewalls can protect your website from some known bots.

    Pros:

    • Most businesses already use WAFs
    • Free open-source versions available

    Cons:

    • Requires manual monitoring and updating
    • Can only block known threats
    • Ineffective against sophisticated bot attacks
    • Slows your site down

    2. CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA forms

    Bot prevention with CAPTCHA implements challenges that verify human users when they submit a form or log in to your website, this extra security can be a good first step in bot prevention.

    Pros:

    • Often free to install
    • Can verify human users

    Cons:

    • Easily evaded by many modern bots
    • Outdated technology
    • Reduces conversions by up to 40%
    • Results in poor user experience

    3. Blacklisting IP addresses

    Some website owners choose to maintain an IP blacklist, which is a bot prevention solution that prevents certain IP addresses from sending traffic to your website.

    Pros:

    • Effective against some threats

    Cons:

    • Requires manual monitoring and updating
    • Can only block known threats
    • Ineffective against sophisticated bot attacks
    • Can take a long time to notice malicious activity

    4. Monitoring analytics for unusual behavior

    There’s a wealth of data available for your website, which you can use to monitor key metrics such as failed login attempts and unexpected surges in traffic, and this is a great way to implement bot prevention without CAPTCHA.

    Pros:

    • You can set up alerts to notify you of specific suspicious activities
    • Free basic analytics tools available, such as Google Analytics

    Cons:

    • Requires manual monitoring
    • Hard to detect low-and-slow attacks
    • Difficult to attribute activity without advanced behavioral analytics
    • Can take a long time to notice malicious activity

    5. Bot prevention software

    Dedicated bot management tools  are designed to identify and mitigate malicious bots, preventing them from damaging your website.

    Pros:

    • Fast to deploy, detect, and deflect bot attacks
    • Can block unknown and sophisticated threats automatically
    • No impact on user experience or site performance
    • Gives you the best return on your investment
    • Preempts attacks, blocking more threats than any other bot prevention technique

    Cons:

    • No free version available

    What’s the most effective way to block bad bots?

    Bot prevention systems can identify bot traffic more efficiently than any other bot prevention method. Netacea’s bot management system has been shown to detect and block six times as many threats as other traditional security systems.

    How Netacea can help you prevent bot traffic

    Whilst we acknowledge that there are a variety of bot prevention vendors, we firmly believe we offer and implement the best bot prevention services out there.

    Netacea uses an agentless approach to bot protection that allows you to analyze and prevent malicious bot traffic before it impacts your business. By analyzing all traffic at the edge with a single deployment we help you understand all your traffic source intent, mitigate and prevent bot attacks in real-time.

    Find out for yourself how effortless our bot protection software is to help you prevent bot traffic with our live demo or book a call with our team to discuss your bot traffic challenges in more detail.

    Block Bots Effortlessly with Netacea

    Book a demo and see how Netacea autonomously prevents sophisticated automated attacks.
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    Block Bots Effortlessly with Netacea

    Demo Netacea and see how our bot protection software autonomously prevents the most sophisticated and dynamic automated attacks across websites, apps and APIs.
    • Agentless, self managing spots up to 33x more threats
    • Automated, trusted defensive AI. Real-time detection and response
    • Invisible to attackers. Operates at the edge, deters persistent threats
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