January 17, 2023
In this digital age, the use of bots by third-party applications on websites is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look to automate tasks and create a smoother user experience. But bots can be used for good and evil! Yep, the same bots that help us can also be used maliciously in an effort to manipulate website traffic or gain access to sensitive information. As a website owner, it’s essential to be aware of what bot traffic is and what steps you can take to protect your site from malicious bot activity.
Recently we noticed an increase in bot traffic on our client's websites, and we know that can be alarming, so we wanted to give you a better idea of what could be going on. So, whether you're a tech-savvy website owner or just looking to learn more about the mysterious world of bots, here’s what you need to know…
Bots may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but they're actually a genuine and vital part of the internet. Website or internet bots are automated programs that perform a task. They can be used to automate repetitive tasks, like gathering information from websites, posting content on social media sites, or even performing simple actions like clicking a link. They’re also known as web crawlers, spiders, and robots.
But not all bots are created equal – some are good, and some are bad.
Good bots refer to those that are beneficial to a website or online service. For example, they help to enhance user experience through tasks such as indexing content to improve search engine optimisation (SEO). They’re often used for analytics purposes, allowing businesses to track and analyse website usage data to improve their services accordingly. Googlebot is an example of a good bot that crawls webpages to index them for its own search engine results page (SERP).
Bad bots, on the other hand, can have a major impact on the performance of a website and can even cause loss of service in some cases. Bad bots are often used for malicious activities such as scraping content, harvesting data, launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, injecting malware into web pages and more. All of these activities put an extra strain on the server and can lead to decreased performance or even complete downtime.
Unfortunately, it's unpredictable as to whether a bot will choose your website for interference, and it’s not due to any specific part of the website build or hosting environment. The good news is that we can put some measures in place to minimise malicious activity.
Although bots may present some challenges, there are several measures we can take to ensure your website is in the best shape.
Some other website security best practices are:
While bots are unpredictable, by implementing precautions we can help you significantly reduce the risk posed by bot traffic entering your networks.