Bots are automated programs, designed to perform automated tasks at high speeds. Not all bots are good. While some good crawler bots help your business by reaching designated audience, bad bots crawl your website and scrape using unethical methods. Bad bots have a huge impact on a wide range of businesses like Classifieds, eCommerce, Real Estate, Digital Publishing, Ticketing and booking sites. So it becomes a necessity to protect your website from these malicious crawler bots. Some of the ways by which you can stop malicious bots from crawling your website are listed below.
If you run an online business with a streamlined target audience, using CAPTCHAs can be the starting point to block bots, before they do illegal activities on your website. Though not completely effective, using CAPTCHAs can deter basic bots. But implementing a CAPTCHA-Only solution is not recommended as it comes in the way of a genuine user as well.
Using hidden fields:
For an online business which uses forms for registrations and genuine customer interaction, form spamming and fake registrations are one of the main problems to solve. In this case using a hidden/dummy field as a trap and hiding it with a good CSS can help stop spam bots to an extent. Since genuine users cannot see the field, the particular field will be negated indicating genuine user. Bots tend to fill all the available fields thus indicating that these are junk or spam. However, sophisticated scrapers can create intelligent bots that distinguish and ignore hidden fields and end up spamming forms. But this approach results in penalization from Search Engines as using hidden fields is considered bad by Search Engines.
Log files can help you in identifying and partially stopping the bots. Every request to the site is recorded in the log files. Using this, one can identify the bots by tracing its IP. You can check IP address of every request and the number of hits on your site. If you find a large number of hits from a particular IP or from diverse IPs within a short span of time you can be sure of it being a bot and block that particular IP. However, there is a limitation. Just because you find a suspicious IP and block it, does not necessarily mean that you have blocked a malicious bot. For all, you could know, that IP could very well belong to the public network and by blocking it, you could be blocking genuine users as well.
Automated bot prevention solutions:
The one stop solution to stop the bots from ruining your website is by choosing a robust anti-bot solution. Anti-bot solutions employ robust algorithms to detect the pattern of the malicious bots and differentiate them from humans, thus making sure that the bots are exterminated.