Published: 10/06/2022

How to prevent bot traffic

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.

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 how to prevent bot traffic from visiting and compromising your site.

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.

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. Some industries are also affected more than others, including:

Businesses in these sectors must implement 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.

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 detection 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 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:

  1. Web application firewalls

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


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


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

CAPTCHA forms are designed to verify human users when they submit a form or log in to your website.


  • Free to install
  • Can verify human users


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  • Outdated technology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

Some website owners choose to maintain an IP blacklist, which prevents certain IP addresses from sending traffic to your website.


  • Effective against some threats


  • Requires manual monitoring and updating
  • Can only block known threats
  • Ineffective against sophisticated bot attacks
  • Can take a long time to notice malicious activity
  1. 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.


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


  • 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
  1. Bot management software

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


  • 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


  • No free version available

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

Bot management 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.

Learn more about choosing the right bot protection solution for your business.

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