I don’t recall reading any discussions about using the Bad Behavior WordPress plugin to protect WP sites from spammers and unwanted bots. From what I have seen over the years many WordPress security plugins exist. The trouble is most of them seem to be a hassle to get up and running or come with warnings they may create website usability issues. This is one of the key reasons I have hesitated installing and testing any of these security solutions.
With all the recent drama of a bot attacking my Commission Junction affiliate links. I started looking for an easy to use easy to setup protection option to hopefully reduce or eliminating this annoying attack. From what I’m seeing within the Bad Behavior logs the plugin is doing it’s job. I’ve only had the plugin active for a few days now and the log is filling up.
There are a few concerns I have – some of which I’ve seen others express. How does this security option affect readers / users experience? Will this block legitimate search engine bots from spidering your website?
From my experience so far I’m not seeing any negative effect to legitimate readers accessing this site. In regards to search engine bots being able to properly spider – I’ve seen mixed results. The Baidu ( Chinese search engine ) bot definitely doesn’t seem to agree with Bad Behavior. Then again I don’t see why this bot needs to spider my site multiple times during the day. Baidu is showing as blocked all over my Bad Behavior logs. The other day I also saw what seemed to be a legitimate Russian search engine bot blocked.
What is not clear is if these “legitimate” bots are behaving badly. If spider bots aren’t following the rules, creating to much activity on your site or performing less than legitimate tasks – they should in fact be blocked. This is something I saw take place recently with a Google bot in regards to Commission Junction links. While I highly value being spidered and included in Google search engine rankings. I don’t value any bot that is performing illegal or illegitimate tasks. My opinion is there is a fine line to be consider when something like this should be blocked. There are many older articles and forum post claiming Bad Behavior has caused problems with search engine ranking. The only way for me to determine this for myself is to use the plugin for a few months.
Anyone who uses a Proxy-Connection for privacy or security reasons may now have trouble viewing this website. I’m seeing several IP’s using Proxy-Connections that have been blocked by Bad Behavior. I’d assume using a proxy server is one method a spammer might use to hide their true location. So Bad Behavior is basically just doing it’s job blocking these connections.
My experience with this plugin so far has been positive. That is always subject to change at any time. Installation was easy – no real setup required. This plugin is a compliment to Akismet. Meaning they both play nice together and offer a layered security approach. If for some reason one misses something the other most likely will pick up the slack. A layered security setup is always ideal as long as you don’t go overboard with it. To many applications doing duplicate functions can cause problems.
I think Bad Behavior may have improved this websites performance. There will be no way of fully qualifying that until a long period of usage. But it’s logical that if you reduce the number of spammers and automated bots blasting your site – performance should improve. Less resources are being taken up answering illegitimate traffic.
At this point I’d give Bad Behavior a thumbs up and suggest giving it a spin on your WordPress website. Hopefully over the next few months I’ll still be as happy with the results as I am now.