How to block Bots using Robots.txt File?
Bots, other crawlers and spiders can hit your dynamic pages and cause extensive resource to memory and Central processing unit usage. This, in turn, leads to a high load on the server and slows down your website. Robots are types of Bots that visit the website, they are an excellent thing to the internet or at least a necessary thing, but that does not mean bots keep running around.
The most common example of a bot is search engine crawlers, where they crawl around the web to help search engines like Google index and help rank billions of pages on the internet.
Robot.txt file is a file located in the root directory of a site. It is a plain text file that is used to communicate with web crawlers. It basically educates the bots by telling which parts of the site should be and shouldn’t be scanned, and it is up to the robot.txt file whether bots are disallowed or allowed to crawl over the site.
This makes it possible to configure the file, which helps in preventing the search engines from scanning the pages and indexing pages or files on the site. It is an automated computer program that interacts with websites and applications on the server.
Why is the Robot.txt file needed?
Robot.txt file is like a code of conduct banner that makes patrons follow the right path and avoid certain things. A major distinction to be made is between a good bot and a bad bot. One good type of Bot is a web crawler bot where they crawl the web pages and help index the content so that it can be visible in search engine results.
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This file helps to manage the activities of the web crawlers so that they do not overdo on the web server hosting the website or indexing the pages that are not meant to be for public view. It is not that all the bots adhere to a robot.txt file, so there are still chances that some bots may crawl to the website despite the file being in place.
Mostly, the malware bots would not follow the rules in your robots.txt file, and some do use the robots.txt file to identify the areas on the site that are being tried to exclude from the bots.
Why is it needed to block bots using Robots.txt File?
Pages that hold sensitive information must be protected as you don’t wish to make them public. Search engine bots cannot automatically distinguish between public and private content, making it necessary to heed security factors. In such a case, restricting access to such sensitive and confidential data is essential. When the website is in maintenance mode or staging, it becomes easier to limit bots to crawl over the entire website.
Another purpose for the Robot.txt file is for the prevention of duplicate content. It occurs when similar posts and pages appear on different URLs, and this duplicate content harms the SEO of the website, which can be restrained by disallowing the bots to crawl over the website.
And, it also helps optimize search engines’ crawl resources by informing them not to waste time on pages that do not need indexing. How to block Bots using Robots.txt File? Therefore, it also helps ensure that search engines focus on crawling only those pages which are to be cared for most. So ultimately, it is like optimizing the server usage by blocking those bots that are wasting resources and efforts.
Elements required in the Robot.txt file
There are two core commands required in the robot.txt file to interact with the site and optimize it to the fullest.
1. User- Agent: It helps target specific bots. Bots that identify themselves and how they do it are what user-agent is particularly. With it, a rule can be created that tells what implies for what and what, not for another server.
2. Disallow: It tells the bots those specific areas that do not need access or no entry to certain website areas.
3. Allow: This command comes by default in most situations, but where a disallow command is to be used to restrict access to a folder but allow access to a specific child folder.
4. Crawl-delay or sitemap: These are such commands that are often ignored by major crawlers or interpreted in their own way or differently or are sometimes made redundant by various tools like Google search console.
Most business owners forget to take care of such elements as robots.txt when going online, which could lead to various issues. You can read about the biggest challenges for most businesses when going online and how to avoid them for safe business.
Blocking access of Bot to the entire site using Robot.txt file-
If you wish to block all the crawlers from the entire website, it comes in handy for a development site but is quite unlikely for a live site. The code:
Disallow: /will disallow access to all the pages of the website.
Blocking a single bot from accessing the site using robot.txt file-
This can be explained with an example like if we wish not to let Bing crawl the site’s pages so we will team up with Google, which will prevent binge-watching anything over the website. So to block only Bing from crawling the site, the wildcard *asterisk will need to be replaced with Bingbot.
Blocking access to a specific folder or file using robot.txt file-
When we wish to block a bot from accessing any particular file or folder or any subparts of it or to block the entire wp-admin folder
or wp-login.php then command:
can be used to do the needful.
Blocking access to a specific file in a disallowed folder using robot.txt file-
If we wish to block the entire folder being accessed by a bot but still wish to allow access to a specific file in the folder, this is where allow command comes handy, and the below command can be used:
This blocks access to the entire folder except for a particular allowable file.
Using Robots.txt to prevent bots from crawling the search results-
If you wish to see the site’s robot.txt file, it can be viewed by adding robot.txt after the site’s URL, for example, www. site’s name.com/robots.txt. It can be edited through the hosting control panel’s file manager command or an FTP client.
To block the access from bots crawling over the search result, one way is to use the following command, which also prevents 404 errors if they appear on the site.
Another way is: How to block Bots using Robots.txt File ?
Firstly, enter the File Manager in the Files section of the panel. Once it is done, open the file from the public_html directory. If the file does not appear, it can be created manually by clicking the new file button on the top right corner of the file manager by naming it as robots.txt and placing it in the public_html.
Different configurations can be added to different search engines by adding multiple commands on the file. Any changes come to effect after saving the file to robots.txt file.
We hope you enjoyed this guide and would love to hear from you in the feedback section below if you have any further questions related to this article.
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