Bots generate more than 60% of all website visits

Last year the content delivery network (CDN) provider Incapsula released an analysis with the surprising (and somewhat scary!) conclusion that only 38.5% of visits to websites are humans. All from friendly search engine bots to malicious hacking tools are generating the remaining 61.5% of visits. In comparison a 2012 analysis revealed that the number of visiting bots was generating 51% of visits and actual humans would stop by 49% of the time. This is quite a significant change in just one year.

The analysis is based on traffic from 20.000 websites hosted on Incapsula’s CDN. They analyzed 1.45 Billion visits during a 90 days period in 2013.

The number of visitors can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Human visitors: 38.5%
  • Friendly bots such as search engine bots: 31%
  • Content scrapers: 5%
  • Hacking tools: 4.5%
  • Spam bots: 0.5%
  • Other hostile non-human traffic: 20.5%

The analysis further shows that malicious bots are getting more sophisticated and an increase in custom made malicious bots have been observed. Some examples of the increase of sophistication are that they are becoming better at hiding themselves by faking “identities” of well know applications such as friendly search engine bots, and some bots are also highly target towards specific security holes or other specific malicious activity.

All webmasters: watch out!

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