Protect your WordPress site against bots
November 22. 2019
Don’t we all consider the Internet to be the place where we can get the necessary information with only a handful of clicks? But what is Internet traffic if not machines communicating with other machines? A software application that runs tasks over the Internet at a rate that would be impossible for a human to achieve is called a bot. Usually, website owners rarely believe that their website will become targeted by bots – until it happens and it becomes too late for them to take any action. That’s why you have to take all the necessary measures of precaution that will help you protect your WordPress site against bots. And when it comes to pieces of advice on all things WordPress-related, who better to show you the way than our very own WordPress experts?
The crucial difference between good and bad bots
It’s interesting to mention that not all bots are classified as ‘bad’. Some actually have no nefarious intentions and serve for purposes like indexing pages. Probably the most well known ‘good’ bot is our dear Googlebot. For those of you who are not entirely familiar with the concept of Googlebot, it’s basically a crawler that indexes your pages based on the meta tag you used. And indexing means adding pages into Google search, so we got that covered.
That being said, there isn’t a shortage of ‘bad’ bots out there, and those are the ones we will focus our attention on. Bad bots are not the ones to follow the rules or have any good effects on your website. Instead, they exploit different website vulnerabilities with nothing but malicious intent.
The reasons why you will really want to protect your WordPress site against bots
Let us put it this way – there isn’t a shortage of ways of your website getting hacked, but there is only a limited number of ways to protect yourself. But we’ll get to that later. Now, let’s talk about the most common ways websites get hacked.
- Spam in the comment section – luckily, there is an easy solution for this one – disable comments on your posts.
- Brute force attacks when it comes to your login page – bots try to access your logins and passwords.
- Scavenging for unsafe themes and plugins – bots are trying to gain access to different files on your site.
Of course, if you want your website to function without a flaw 24/7, the best thing would be to go for professional help. We here at WP Full Care can help you keep your website safe with constant security scanning and monitoring. In case you believe in your own skills and want to work on website protection by yourself, we have no objections. Here are the things you can do to protect your WordPress site against bots.
The three ways to protect your website
We hope that, by now, you have grasped just how serious the situation is. Now that this subject is brought to your attention, you can work on the three things that will help you keep ‘bad’ bots at bay.
1. Block bad bots
Bad bots can be blocked with the help of robots.txt file. This file is composed of rules that all bots are supposed to obey, and one great thing you can do is instruct bots which pages on your WordPress website are out of limit. If a bot disobeys the rule and visits a page that is excluded by the robots.txt file, it will be clear that it’s a bot with nefarious intentions. That’s when it can be blocked by Blackhole for Bad Bots – a plugin with a very clear, very specific purpose. The plugin will add hidden links to pages on your website which can only be seen by bots, not humans. Once you add a pattern into your robots.txt file that matches this one, bots will become easily spotted.
2. Move the login page
Brute force attack bots work by relentlessly trying to authenticate via a targeted site’s login page. Bots are capable of making hundreds of login attempts! That will not only put your website in danger but also consume a lot of its resources. The good news is that most of these bots are rather unsophisticated and simply moving the login page will be enough to distract them. While there are a few plugins that could serve this purpose, you might want to try your luck with WP Cerber or the Move Login. In essence, both of these plugins have the same purpose – they let you change the URL of the login page into anything you like.
3. Use a WAF (Web Application Firewall)
A WAF monitors and blocks HTTP traffic to and from an application. Unlike a regular firewall, a WAF is able to filter the content of specific web applications. They can be loaded together with a list of already known bad bots which will automatically block all requests from those IP addresses. Some WordPress plugins, like the premium version of Sucuri, include a WAF that is updated in real-time. This method won’t provide 100% protection for your WordPress website but it will certainly help in improving its security.
Keeping your website safe and protected is constant work
The more prominent your website becomes, the more will it be under attacks. That’s just the way it goes. But you don’t have to wait for your website to obtain a high ranking position before you start working on its protection. It’s never too early to protect your WordPress site against bots. Hey, we will even go as far as to say the sooner the better! Why procrastinate when it is only going to bring you some peace of mind knowing your website is as safe as possible?