conversation, talk, talking-799448.jpg

What is a Bots

What is a bot?

A bot, also called an internet bot — is a computer program that operates as an agent for a user or other program or to simulate a human activity, bots are normally used to automate certain tasks, meaning they can run without specific instructions from humans, an organization or individual can use a bot to replace a repetitive task that a human would otherwise have to perform, bots are also much faster at these tasks than humans, although bots can carry out useful functions, they can also be malicious and come in the form of malware.

What is not a bot and it  transforms in robots?

A Robot is a  mix harware software and wetware

How do bots work?

Normally, bots operate over a network, they communicate with one another using internet-based services, such as instant messaging (IM); interfaces like Twitterbots; or Internet Relay Chat. According to the 2021 research report titled \”Bot Attacks: Top Threats and Trends\” from security firm Barracuda, more than two-thirds of internet traffic is bots. In addition, 67% of bad bot traffic originates from public data centers in North America.

Bots are made from sets of algorithms that aid them in their designated tasks. These tasks include conversing with a human — which attempts to mimic human behaviors — or gathering content from other websites. There are several different types of bots designed to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.

For example, a chatbot uses one of several methods to operate. A rule-based chatbot interacts with a person by giving predefined prompts for that individual to select. An intellectually independent chatbot uses machine learning to learn from human inputs and scan for valuable keywords that can trigger an interaction. Artificial intelligence chatbots are a combination of rule-based and intellectually independent chatbots. Chatbots may also use pattern matching, natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation tools.

Organizations or individuals who use bots can also use bot management software, which helps manage bots and protect against malicious bots. Bot managers may also be included as part of a web app security platform. A bot manager can allow the use of some bots and block the use of others that might cause harm to a system. To do this, a bot manager classifies any incoming requests by humans and good bots, as well as known malicious and unknown bots. Any suspect bot traffic is then directed away from a site by the bot manager. Some basic bot management feature sets include IP rate limiting and CAPTCHAs. IP rate limiting restricts the number of same address requests, while CAPTCHAs provide challenges that help differentiate bots from humans.

Types of bots

There are numerous types of bots, all with unique goals and tasks. Some common bots include the following:

  • Chatbots. These programs can simulate conversations with a human being. One of the first and most famous chatbots prior to the web was Eliza, an NLP program developed in 1966 as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research project. This chatbot pretended to be a psychotherapist and answered questions with other questions. More recent examples of chatbots include virtual assistants, such as Amazon\’s Alexa, Apple\’s Siri and Google Assistant.
  • Social bots. These bots, often considered opinion bots, influence discussions with users on social media platforms.
  • Shopbots. Many of these programs shop around the web and locate the best price for a product a user is interested in buying. Other shopbots like the Shopify chatbot enable Shopify store owners to automate marketing and customer support.
  • Knowbots. These programs collect knowledge for a user by automatically visiting websites to retrieve information that meets certain specified criteria. Knowbots were originally used as a computerized assistant that performed redundant tasks.
  • Spiders or crawlers. Also known as web crawlers, these bots access websites and gather content for indexes in search engines, such as Google and Bing.
  • Web scraping crawlers. These are similar to crawlers but are used for data harvesting and extracting relevant content from webpages.
  • Monitoring bots. These can be used to monitor the health of a website or system.
  • Transactional bots. These bots are designed to simplify tasks that would otherwise be performed by a human over the phone, such as blocking a stolen credit card or confirming a bank\’s hours of operation.

Bots can also be classified as good bots or bad bots — in other words, bots that do not cause any harm versus bots that pose threats.

Examples and uses of bots

Bots can be used in customer service fields, as well as in areas such as business, scheduling, search functionality and entertainment. Bots in each area offer different benefits. For example, customer service bots are available 24/7 and increase the availability of customer service employees. These programs are also called virtual representatives or virtual agents, and they free up human agents to focus on more complicated issues.

Other services that use bots include the following:

  • IM apps, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack;
  • news apps, such as The Wall Street Journal, to show news headlines;
  • Spotify, which enables users to search for and share music tracks via Facebook Messenger;
  • Lyft, which enables user to request rides using IM apps;
  • meeting scheduling services; and
  • customer service applications that use chatbots to field customer requests and survey customer experience.
Bots can be used legitimately or maliciously — to exploit a system or support it — in a variety of different ways.

Malicious bots

Malicious bots are used to automate actions considered to be cybercrimes. Common types of malicious bots include the following:

  • denial-of-service or distributed DoS bots, which overload a server\’s resources and prevent the service from operating;
  • spambots, which post promotional content to drive traffic to a specific website; and
  • hackers, which distribute malware, attack websites and gather sensitive information, such as financial data — bots created by hackers can also open backdoors to install more serious malware and worms.

Other malicious types of bots include the following:

  • credential stuffing tools;
  • email address harvesting software;
  • brute-force password cracking tools; and
  • keyloggers.

Organizations can stop malicious bots by using a bot manager.

Advantages and disadvantages of bots

There are plenty of advantages that come with using bots, as well as disadvantages, such as risks that other bots could pose. Some potential advantages of bots include the following:

  • faster than humans at repetitive tasks;
  • time saved for customers and clients;
  • available 24/7;
  • organizations can reach large numbers of people via messenger apps;
  • customizable; and
  • improved user experience.

Some disadvantages include the following:

  • cannot be set to perform some exact tasks and risk misunderstanding users;
  • humans are still necessary to manage the bots, as well as to step in if one misinterprets another human;
  • can be made malicious by users; and
  • can be used for spam.

How to detect malicious bots

There are several signs that indicate a system is infected by malicious bots, including the following:

  • There are frequent software application glitches and computer crashes without a known cause.
  • The computer sends emails or chat messages to the user\’s contacts without the user\’s knowledge.
  • Applications are slower to load than normal.
  • The internet connection is slower than normal.
  • Pop-up spam appears, despite the fact that the user is not using the internet.
  • The computer\’s fan randomly runs at a high speed while the computer is idle.
  • Settings have changed without the user\’s knowledge, and there is no way to reverse them.
  • The internet browser includes features or add-ons that the user did not install.
  • The computer takes a long time to shut down or reboot.
  • The computer does not shut down or reboot correctly.
  • The activity monitor shows that unknown programs are running in the background.
  • Warnings appear on the user\’s computer stating that, if they do not click on a given link, their computer will be infected with a virus.

How to prevent malicious bot activity

The best defense against malicious bots is prevention. Sound cybersecurity practices can help keep a bot infection from occurring. The ways to prevent bots include the following:

  • Install antimalware software. Malicious bots fall under the category of malware. Antimalware software can help automate protection against this type of threat.
  • Install a bot manager. A bot manager is typically part of a web app security platform. These classify web requests and allow the use of some bots, while blocking others. Two bot management tactics are the following:
    1. IP rate limiting caps the number of same-address requests.
    2. CAPTCHAs use puzzles to verify that the requesting user is a human and not a bot.
  • Use a firewall. Firewalls can be configured to block bots and prevent certain traffic based on IP address or behavior.
  • Update software. Software updates contain security updates that can help defend against bots.
  • Password hygiene. Bots can be used to brute-force attack weaker passwords and break into user accounts. Having a strong password and changing it frequently can help prevent this.
  • Click trusted links only. Bots may send spam or malicious links via email. Only click on links from a trusted source to avoid getting a malicious link from a bot.
  • Web Crawlers – Top 10 Most Popular

    By Ben Eaton
    Published on August 19, 2022

    When it comes to the world wide web, there are both bad bots and good bots. You definitely want to avoid bad bots as these consume your CDN bandwidth, take up server resources, and steal your content. On the other hand, good bots (also known as web crawlers) should be handled with care as they are a vital part of getting your content to index with search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In this blog post, we will take a look at the top ten most popular web crawlers.

    What are web crawlers?#

    Web crawlers are computer programs that browse the Internet methodically and automatedly. They are also known as robots, ants, or spiders.

    Crawlers visit websites and read their pages and other information to create entries for a search engine\’s index. The primary purpose of a web crawler is to provide users with a comprehensive and up-to-date index of all available online content.

    In addition, web crawlers can also gather specific types of information from websites, such as contact information or pricing data. By using web crawlers, businesses can keep their online presence (i.e. SEO, frontend optimization, and web marketing) up-to-date and effective.

    Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use crawlers to properly index downloaded pages so that users can find them faster and more efficiently when searching. Without web crawlers, there would be nothing to tell them that your website has new and fresh content. Sitemaps also can play a part in that process. So web crawlers, for the most part, are a good thing.

    However, there are also issues sometimes when it comes to scheduling and load, as a crawler might constantly be polling your site. And this is where a robots.txt file comes into play. This file can help control the crawling traffic and ensure that it doesn\’t overwhelm your server.

    Web crawlers identify themselves to a web server using the User-Agent request header in an HTTP request, and each crawler has its unique identifier. Most of the time, you will need to examine your web server referrer logs to view web crawler traffic.


    By placing a robots.txt file at the root of your web server, you can define rules for web crawlers, such as allowing or disallowing certain assets from being crawled. Web crawlers must follow the rules defined in this file. You can apply general rules to all bots or get more granular and specify their specific User-Agent string.

    Example 1

    This example instructs all Search engine robots not to index any of the website\’s content. This is defined by disallowing the root / of your website.

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /

    Example 2

    This example achieves the opposite of the previous one. In this case, the instructions are still applied to all user agents. However, there is nothing defined within the Disallow instruction, meaning that everything can be indexed.

    User-agent: *

    To see more examples make sure to check out our in-depth post on how to use a robots.txt file.

    Top 10 good web crawlers and bots#

    There are hundreds of web crawlers and bots scouring the Internet, but below is a list of 10 popular web crawlers and bots that we have collected based on ones that we see on a regular basis within our web server logs.

    1. GoogleBot#

    As the world\’s largest search engine, Google relies on web crawlers to index the billions of pages on the Internet. Googlebot is the web crawler Google uses to do just that.

    Googlebot is two types of crawlers: a desktop crawler that imitates a person browsing on a computer and a mobile crawler that performs the same function as an iPhone or Android phone.

    The user agent string of the request may help you determine the subtype of Googlebot. Googlebot Desktop and Googlebot Smartphone will most likely crawl your website. On the other hand, both crawler types accept the same product token (user agent token) in robots.txt. You cannot use robots.txt to target either Googlebot Smartphone or Desktop selectively.

    Googlebot is a very effective web crawler that can index pages quickly and accurately. However, it does have some drawbacks. For example, Googlebot does not always crawl all the pages on a website (especially if the website is large and complex).

    In addition, Googlebot does not always crawl pages in real-time, which means that some pages may not be indexed until days or weeks after they are published.

    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +
    Googlebot example in robots.txt#

    This example displays a little more granularity about the instructions defined. Here, the instructions are only relevant to Googlebot. More specifically, it is telling Google not to index a specific page (/no-index/your-page.html).

    User-agent: Googlebot
    Disallow: /no-index/your-page.html

    Besides Google\’s web search crawler, they actually have 9 additional web crawlers:

    Googlebot NewsGooglebot-News
    Googlebot ImagesGooglebot-Image/1.0
    Googlebot VideoGooglebot-Video/1.0
    Google Mobile (featured phone)SAMSUNG-SGH-E250/1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 UP.Browser/ (GUI) MMP/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +
    Google SmartphoneMozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +
    Google Mobile Adsense(compatible; Mediapartners-Google/2.1; +
    Google AdsenseMediapartners-Google
    Google AdsBot (PPC landing page quality)AdsBot-Google (+
    Google app crawler (fetch resources for mobile)AdsBot-Google-Mobile-Apps

    You can use the Fetch tool in Google Search Console to test how Google crawls or renders a URL on your site. See whether Googlebot can access a page on your site, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources (such as images or scripts) are blocked to Googlebot.


    You can also see the Googlebot crawl stats per day, the amount of kilobytes downloaded, and time spent downloading a page.


    See Googlebot robots.txt documentation.

    2. Bingbot#

    Bingbot is a web crawler deployed by Microsoft in 2010 to supply information to their Bing search engine. This is the replacement of what used to be the MSN bot.

    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Bingbot/2.0; +

    Bing also has a very similar tool as Google, called Fetch as Bingbot, within Bing Webmaster Tools. Fetch As Bingbot allows you to request a page be crawled and shown to you as our crawler would see it. You will see the page code as Bingbot would see it, helping you understand if they see your page as you intended.


    See Bingbot robots.txt documentation.

    3. Slurp Bot#

    Yahoo Search results come from the Yahoo web crawler Slurp and Bing\’s web crawler, as a lot of Yahoo is powered by Bing. Sites should allow Yahoo Slurp access in order to appear in Yahoo Mobile Search results.

    Additionally, Slurp does the following:

    • Collects content from partner sites for inclusion within sites like Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, and Yahoo Sports.
    • Accesses pages from sites across the Web to confirm the accuracy and improve Yahoo\’s personalized content for our users.
    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Yahoo! Slurp;

    See Slurp robots.txt documentation.

    4. DuckDuckBot#

    DuckDuckBot is the Web crawler for DuckDuckGo, a search engine that has become quite popular as it is known for privacy and not tracking you. It now handles over 93 million queries per day. DuckDuckGo gets its results from a variety of sources. These include hundreds of vertical sources delivering niche Instant Answers, DuckDuckBot (their crawler) and crowd-sourced sites (Wikipedia). They also have more traditional links in the search results, which they source from Yahoo! and Bing.

    Full User-Agent string#
    DuckDuckBot/1.0; (+

    It respects WWW::RobotRules and originates from these IP addresses:

    5. Baiduspider#

    Baiduspider is the official name of the Chinese Baidu search engine\’s web crawling spider. It crawls web pages and returns updates to the Baidu index. Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine that takes an 80% share of China Mainland\’s overall search engine market.

    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Baiduspider/2.0; +

    Besides Baidu\’s web search crawler, they actually have 6 additional web crawlers:

    Image SearchBaiduspider-image
    Video SearchBaiduspider-video
    News SearchBaiduspider-news
    Baidu wishlistsBaiduspider-favo
    Baidu UnionBaiduspider-cpro
    Business SearchBaiduspider-ads
    Other search pagesBaiduspider

    See Baidu robots.txt documentation.

    6. Yandex Bot#

    YandexBot is the web crawler to one of the largest Russian search engines, Yandex.

    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; YandexBot/3.0; +

    There are many different User-Agent strings that the YandexBot can show up as in your server logs. See the full list of Yandex robots and Yandex robots.txt documentation.

    7. Sogou Spider#

    Sogou Spider is the web crawler for, a leading Chinese search engine that was launched in 2004.

    Note: The Sogou web spider does not respect the robots exclusion standard, and is therefore banned from many websites because of excessive crawling.
    Sogou Pic Spider/3.0(
    Sogou head spider/3.0(
    Sogou web spider/4.0(+
    Sogou Orion spider/3.0(
    Sogou-Test-Spider/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98)
    8. Exabot#

    Exabot is a web crawler for Exalead, which is a search engine based out of France. It was founded in 2000 and has more than 16 billion pages indexed.

    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Konqueror/3.5; Linux) KHTML/3.5.5 (like Gecko) (Exabot-Thumbnails)
    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Exabot/3.0; +

    See Exabot robots.txt documentation.

    9. Facebook external hit#

    Facebook allows its users to send links to interesting web content to other Facebook users. Part of how this works on the Facebook system involves the temporary display of certain images or details related to the web content, such as the title of the webpage or the embed tag of a video. The Facebook system retrieves this information only after a user provides a link.

    One of their main crawling bots is Facebot, which is designed to help improve advertising performance.

    facebookexternalhit/1.0 (+
    facebookexternalhit/1.1 (+

    See Facebot robots.txt documentation.

    10. Applebot#

    The computer technology brand Apple uses the web crawler Applebot, and in particular Siri and Spotlight Suggestions, to provide personalized services to their users.

    Full User-Agent string#
    Mozilla/5.0 (Device; OS_version) AppleWebKit/WebKit_version (KHTML, like Gecko)
    Version/Safari_version Safari/WebKit_version (Applebot/Applebot_version)
    Other popular web crawlers#
    Apache Nutch#

    Apache Nutch is an open-source web crawler written in Java. It is released under the Apache License and is managed by the Apache Software Foundation. Nutch can run on a single machine, but it is more commonly used in a distributed environment. In fact, Nutch was designed from the ground up to be scalable and easily extensible.

    Nutch is very flexible and can be used for various purposes. For example, Nutch can be used to crawl the entire Internet or only specific websites. In addition, Nutch can be configured to index pages in real-time or on a schedule.

    One of the main benefits of Apache Nutch is its scalability. Nutch can be easily scaled to accommodate large volumes of data and traffic. For example, a large ecommerce website may use Apache Nutch to crawl and index its product catalog. This would allow customers to search for products on their website using the company\’s internal search engine.

    In addition, Apache Nutch can be used to gather data about websites. Companies could use Apache Nutch to crawl competitor websites and collect information about their products, prices, and contact information. This information could then be used to improve their online presence. However, Apache Nutch does have some drawbacks. For example, it can be challenging to configure and use. In addition, Apache Nutch is not as widely used as other web crawlers, which means less support is available for it.

    Screaming Frog#

    Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a desktop program (PC or Mac) that crawls websites\’ links, images, CSS, scripts, and apps from an SEO perspective.

    It fetches key onsite elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by types, and allows you to filter for common SEO issues or slice and dice the data how you like by exporting it into Excel.

    You can view, analyze and filter the crawl data as it\’s gathered and extracted in real-time from the simple interface.

    The program is free for small sites (up to 500 URLs). Larger sites require a license.

    Screaming Frog uses the Chromium WRS to crawl dynamic websites that are rich in JavaScript, such as Angular, React, and Vue.js. WordPress sitemap creation, XPath extraction, and site architecture visualization are other top features.

    The platform serves corporations like Apple, Amazon, Disney, and even Google. Screaming Frog is also a popular tool among agency owners and SEOs who manage SEO for multiple clients.


    Deepcrawl is a cloud-based web crawler that allows users to crawl websites and collect data about their structure, content, and performance.

    DeepCrawl provides users with several features and options, including the ability to crawl JavaScript-based websites, customize the crawling process, and generate detailed reports.

    One of Deepcrawl\’s most unique features is its ability to crawl websites built with JavaScript. This is possible because Deepcrawl uses a headless browser (i.e. Chrome) to render the website\’s content before crawling it.

    This means that Deepcrawl can crawl and collect data about websites that other crawlers would not always be able to reach.

    Beyond flexible APIs, Deepcrawl\’s data integrates with Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other popular tools. This allows users to easily compare their website\’s data with their competitors. It also allows them to connect business data (e.g. sales data) with their website\’s data to get a complete picture of how their website is performing.

    Deepcrawl works best for companies with large websites with a lot of content and pages. The platform is less well-suited for small websites or those that do not change very often.

    There are three different products that Deepcrawl offers:

    • Automation Hub: This product integrates with your CI/CD pipeline and automatically crawls your website with 200+ SEO QA testing rules.
    • Analytics Hub: This product allows you to surface actionable insights from your website data and improve your website\’s SEO.
    • Monitoring Hub: This product monitors your website for changes and alerts you when new issues arise.

    Businesses use these three products to improve their website\’s SEO, monitor it for changes, and collaborate with dev teams.


    Octoparse is a user-friendly client-based web crawling software that lets you extract data from all over the Internet. The program is particularly developed for people who are not programmers and has a simple point-and-click interface.

    With Octoparse, you can run scheduled cloud extractions to extract dynamic data, create workflows to extract data from websites automatically, and use its web scraping API to access data.

    Its IP proxy servers let you crawl websites without being blocked, and its built-in Regex feature cleans data automatically.

    And with its pre-built scraper templates, you can start extracting data from popular websites like Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook, and Amazon within minutes. You can also build your own scraper if there isn\’t one readily available for your target websites.


    You can use HTTrack\’s freeware to download entire sites to your PC. With support for Windows, Linux, and other Unix systems, this open-source tool can be used by millions.

    HTTrack\’s website copier lets you download a website to your computer so that you can browse it offline. The program can also be used to mirror websites, meaning that you can create an exact copy of a website on your server.

    The program is easy to use and has many features, including the ability to resume interrupted downloads, update existing websites, and create static copies of dynamic websites.

    You can get the files, photos, and HTML code from its mirrored website and resume interrupted downloads.

    While HTTrack can be used to download any type of website, it\’s particularly useful for downloading websites that are no longer online.

    HTTrack is a great tool for anyone who wants to download an entire website or mirror a website. However, it should be noted that the program can be used to download illegal copies of websites.

    As such, you should only use HTTrack if you have permission from the website owner.


    SiteSucker is a macOS application that downloads websites. It asynchronously copies the site\’s webpages, images, PDFs, style sheets, and other files to your local hard drive, duplicating the site\’s directory structure.

    You can also use SiteSucker to download specific files from websites, such as MP3 files.

    The program can be used to create local copies of websites, making it ideal for offline browsing.

    It\’s also useful for downloading entire sites so you can view them on your computer without an Internet connection.

    One drawback to SiteSucker is that it cannot handle Javascript (though it can handle Flash). Nevertheless, it\’s still useful for downloading websites to your Mac.

    Users can use the web application to get real-time data by crawling online sources worldwide into various tidy formats. This web crawler allows you to crawl data and extract keywords in multiple languages based on numerous criteria from a diverse range of sources.

    The Archive allows users to access historical data. Users can easily index and search the structured data crawled by Webhose using its intuitive interface/API. You can save the scraped data in JSON, XML, and RSS formats. Plus, supports up to 80 languages with its crawling data results.\’s freemium business model should suffice for businesses with basic crawling requirements. For businesses that need a more robust solution, also offers support for media monitoring, cybersecurity threats, risk intelligence, financial analysis, web intelligence, and identity theft protection.

    They even support dark web API solutions for business intelligence.


    UiPath is a Windows application that can be used to automate repetitive tasks. It\’s beneficial for web scraping, as it can extract data from websites automatically.

    The program is easy to use and doesn\’t require any programming knowledge. It features a visual drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to create automation scripts.

    With UiPath, you can extract tabular and pattern-based data from websites, PDFs, and other sources. The program can also be used to automate tasks such as filling out online forms and downloading files.

    The commercial version of the tool provides additional crawling capabilities. When dealing with complicated UIs, this approach is very successful. The Screen Scraping Tool can extract data from tables in both individual words and groups of text, as well as blocks of text such as RSS feeds.

    Also, you don\’t need any programming skills to create intelligent web agents, but if you\’re a .NET hacker, you\’ll be able to completely control their data.

    Bad bots#

    While most web crawlers are benign, some can be used for malicious purposes. These malicious web crawlers, or \”bots,\” can be used to steal information, launch attacks, and commit fraud. It has also been increasingly found that these bots ignore robots.txt directives and proceed directly to scan websites.

    Some prominent bad bots are as listed below:

    • PetalBot
    • SEMrushBot
    • Majestic
    • DotBot
    • AhrefsBot
    Protecting your site from malicious web crawlers#

    To protect your website from bad bots, you can use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect your website from bots and other threats. A WAF is a piece of software that sits between your website and the Internet, filtering traffic before it reaches your site.

    CDN can also help to protect your website from bots. A CDN is a network of servers that deliver content to users based on their geographic location.

    When a user requests a page from your website, the CDN will route the request to the server closest to the user\’s location. This can help to reduce the risk of bots attacking your website, as they will have to target each CDN server individually.

    KeyCDN has a great feature that you can enable in your dashboard called Block Bad Bots. KeyCDN uses a comprehensive list of known bad bots and blocks them based on their User-Agent string.

    When a new Zone is added the Block Bad Bots feature is set to disabled. This setting can be set to enabled instead if you want bad bots to automatically be blocked.

    Bot resources#

    Perhaps you are seeing some user-agent strings in your logs that have you concerned. Caio Almeida also has a pretty good list on his crawler-user-agents GitHub project.


    There are hundreds of different web crawlers out there, but hopefully, you are now familiar with a couple of the more popular ones. Again you want to be careful when blocking any of these as they could cause indexing issues. It is always good to check your web server logs to see how often they are crawling your site.

Preventing malicious bots is part of a comprehensive security plan. Learn how to create an enterprise cybersecurity strategy that is proactive in defending against threats like malicious bots.

Different Types Of Bots

With bots making up over half of all Web traffic, an unprotected website can quickly become a magnet for bad bots, hence, it’s important to know the composition of your web traffic to identify and block undesirable bots, both the good kind and the bad, bad bots have malicious intentions and are generally programmed to carry out content and price scraping, form spam, account takeover, bid sniping, ticket scalping, and other harmful activities.

A website trying to block or mitigate bot traffic must do so without stopping any of the good bots, which perform a range of useful functions such as indexing websites, fetching information, booking tickets, providing important alerts, and much more. Bear in mind that even unchecked good bot traffic can sometimes result in undesirable outcomes.

Types of Good Bots

Good bots are legitimate bots whose actions are beneficial to your website. These bots crawl your website for search engine optimization (SEO), aggregation of information, obtaining market intelligence and analytics, and more. Selectively stopping one or all of these types of good bots is advisable only if necessary for your business or marketing objectives. However, inadvertently blocking good bots may reduce the visibility your website gets on search engines and other social platforms.

  1. Monitoring bots

    (e.g. Pingdom) ─ Bots that are used to monitor uptime and system health of the websites. These bots periodically check and report on page load times, downtime duration, and status.

  2. Backlink Checker bots

    (e.g. UAS Link Checker) ─ These bots check the inbound URLs a website is getting so that marketers and SEO specialists can derive insights and optimize their site accordingly.

  3. Social Network bots

    (e.g. Facebook Bot) ─ Bots that are run by social networking websites that give visibility to your website and drive engagement on their platforms.

  4. Partner bots

    (e.g. PayPal IPN) ─ Partner bots that are useful to websites and carry out tasks, transactions and provide essential business services.

  5. Aggregator/ Feed fetcher bots

    (e.g. WikioFeedBot) ─ Bots that collate information from websites and keeps users or subscribers updated on news, events or blog posts.

  6. Search Engine Crawler bots

    ─ These bots or spiders crawl and index web pages to make them available on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. You can control their crawl rates and specify rules in your site’s ‘robots.txt’ file for these crawlers to follow when indexing your web pages.

Types of Bad Bots

  1. Scraper bots

    ─ These bots are programmed to steal content such as prices and product information so that they can undermine the pricing strategies of the target website. Competitors often use third-party scrapers to perform this illegal act, and the unprotected website’s competitive advantage is usurped by the scraper and other competitors.

  2. Spam bots

    ─ Spam bots primarily target community portals, blog comment sections and lead collection forms. They interfere with user conversations, troll users, and insert unwanted advertisements, links and banners. This frustrates genuine users participating in forums and commenting on blog posts. Often, these spam bots insert links to phishing and malware-laden sites or target unsuspecting users into divulging sensitive information like bank accounts and passwords.

  3. Scalper bots

    These bots target ticketing websites to purchase hundreds of tickets as soon as bookings open and sell them to reseller websites at many times the original cost of the ticket. The original unprotected ticketing website stands to lose genuine customers because of their inability to purchase tickets at the original cost.

Samm Joe
Author: Samm Joe