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Do you monitor your Website Traffic
Written by Bout Time Software
Created / Updated on Monday 17th of December 2018

The Good Ole Days

The initial concept of having a website was pretty simple. Display the content you want to promote and people visit your website and read the pages, either by directly typing in your address or hopefully from doing a search in a search engine.

Beyond that of course the search engines themselves need to check each link and need to discover any new pages that websites create plus all existing pages that get updated or deleted. Basically they have to maintain their index system, so they too would visit your website frequently.

What is Now Becoming Common Place

However now days it seems that the vast majority of traffic visiting each website is more from an automated system than it is from a human visitor. It is always funny when we see other websites (or even youtube) list the number of hits a page (or video) receives, yet they never take into consideration just how many of those hits are from real people or from automated bots.

Anyone who monitors their own website access logs will see that big search engines will hit your site numerous times per day, but there is also a worrying trend we see that not all of these automated bots are being very honest about it. Some will never disclose who they are and others will visit and identify themselves correctly, but then return shortly after and pose as a human visitor using a range of different devices, such as samsung galaxy or apple iphone or windows device. All of this is their attempt to see how the content displays on different devices and to also see if the content they are shown now differs from what was shown to them when they identified as a search engine.

The next large trend we see in log files are the increasing amout of automated services such as bots (and probably some humans as well), visiting your website, but are attempting to locate content that never existed on your website or checking to see if that content does exist, rather than use your menus or sitemap to view the content that is actually there. Basically they are " probing " your website to see if you have a specific application installed which they can then try and exploit or to locate your administration section so they can attempt to hack your password. The last range of visitors are those systems that are actively looking to exploit your pages by using code injection or to submit forms and to obtain email address's.

Many of you reading this may be thinking, but we just use Google Analytics to monitor our traffic. Well considering that is a third party script running on your website that you have no control over and the fact it only monitors and reports, it offers you no protection. Also just check through the traffic it reports and see if it identifies how many hits are from robots and how many are from humans. We feel it is always best to do the monitoring and management at the source and that is ON your website, not on some other website (like google).

So why mention all this?

Well we think that you should always ask yourself the question.

Does your current website offer you any protection or monitoring of this nefarious activity?.

Our guess would be no. If that is the case then you should ask your website developer WHY NOT?

With every website we develop, we also include our own security suite, which operates similar to a firewall and allows you to set conditions. It will monitor each visitor and if they conduct specific activity, or perform tasks contrary to your set conditions, it will take action immediately. Our application works independent of what is already installed on the server or the hosting company and because you have control over it, you can manually block or unblock IP's, you can define keywords and manage what happens with errors like 404 and 403. You can also view all the IP's and how many are actively blocked or banned and how many were banned but the ban has been lifted and finally how many requests have been accepted. This is a good way to identify just how much of your traffic is genuine or not.

Utilizing our security suite will help protect your website from flood and dos attacks that have not been caught by the server. The reason for this is maybe the server settings are higher, but if a bot hits your website with a flood it may rip through a few gigabytes of bandwidth if you were just relying on the server protection, before the server limits were reached, or if it was even detected at all. But with our security suite it will identify that much faster and based on the conditions you set take immediate action to block or ban.

Visitor vs Bot

As mentioned above about hit counters, our security suite will do its best to identify if the visitor is a human or a robot or automated system. Then from your administration section you can view the logs or you can view the statistics of human versus robot visitors.

Also many of our applications, such as this News Manager record the hits separately. That way you can see how many times it has been viewed by a human visitor or by a robot visitor. This can be beneficial because then you know how many times the article has been indexed by search engines without compromising the knowledge of how many actual people have read it.

Other very important aspects is the internet is a global playing field, but why should you be having your content served in countries that you have no dealings with? So with our software you can employ GEOblocking if you wish, so that all your visitors are only from countries that you wish to deal with. There is no point having your bandwidth whittled away by serving content to people that will never be a customer to you.

We've only just mentioned a few features of our Security Suite, but if your current website does not off you any sort of security suite or firewall or website protection, then maybe it is time to ask why and if you don't get a satisfactory answer then maybe its time to contact us.

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