Example 1: Block SEO Tools and Web bots (relaxed setup)
AccessShield PRO allows you to block visitors using two different modes: Blacklist and Whitelist. In this tutorial we’ll be blacklisting visitors we do not want in and we’ll explore three different ways to deal with the blocked visitors after they’ve been blocked.
Blacklist vs Whitelist
Before we start configuring the plugin, it’s important to know the differences between whitelist and blacklist. In any case, AccessShield PRO will not execute the filters if you’re logged in as an administrator. This has been implemented as a way to prevent you from accidentally blocking yourself from your own site. To test your setup, please read this guide.
When you select “whitelist”, EVERYONE who tries to access your site will be blocked by default. Everyone is an unwanted visitor EXCEPT from the visitors you explicitly allow. This is a very aggressive setting but in a lot of cases, it’s the most bullet-proof way to protect your content.
Blacklisting is a more relaxed approach to blocking unwanted visitors. When you select “blacklist”, EVERYONE is allowed to your site by default, and only those you explicitly select will be blocked. The downside to this approach is that anyone can bypass the block if they try to disguise as someone else but it’s safer if, for example, your site is the target of a manual Google review.
Setting the block mode
Go to the AccessShield PRO dashboard > Access Manager and select “blacklist” from the block modes at the top of the dashboard:
Setting the filters
After a block mode has been selected, it’s time to tell AcccessShield PRO the vistors & bots you don’t want to get their hands on your site.
If you have any filters already in place, remove all of them by clicking on the x icon at the top right corner of each filter:
Now let’s select the bots we want to block. At the bottom left of the dashboard, you will see a list of filters. These filters allow you to detect bots and visitors using different parameters. Most bots only disguise themselves using a user agent string, but we can also block a few of them by their IP.
Click on ADD+ next to the label “User Agent”
You Will be shown a list of the bots that can be detected by their user agent. You can filter them by good and bad, and you can also select a pre-defined group of bots. In this example, instead of selecting all of them one by one, we’ll be using two pre-built bot groups: All SEO Tools & Web Services Excluding Search Engines & Social Networks and Other Search Engines. The first group blocks almost all web bots and the second blocks less popular search engines like yandex and baidu.
Click on the “Bot Groups” tab at the top, and then click on both of the previously mentioned groups. Then click OK. You will see a long list of the bots that will be blocked. ONLY THE BOTS THAT APPEAR ON THE LIST WILL BE BLOCKED. It’s important to mention it as there may be bots in a group that do not support a specific filter.
Repeat the same steps as above only this time click the ADD+ button on the filter with IP label. AccessShield PRO will then block all bots in the selected groups that can be blocked by either a user agent or an IP.
You can view, edit and/or add you own bot groups by going to WordPress Dashboard > AccessShield PRO > BotGroups.
Responding to blocked (and allowed) visitors
Now that we’ve defined what bots we want blocked and how we’ll blocked them, it’s time to define what to do after the bots have been blocked. AccessShield PRO gives you the option to choose between 5 different actions. In this example we’ll explore three different options:
A – Hide your site links from blocked visitors
B – Display a static HTML template
Hiding your site links from blocked visitors
In this example, you’ll be hiding all links every time a blocked visitor tries to access you site. All content will remain the same, the difference between allowed visitors is that blocked visitors will not be able to see or scan your links.
On the right-side of the dashboard, you can select the action to perform when blocked and allowed visitors access your site. In this example, we don’t want to change anything every time an allowed visitor gets in. Go to the second box with the label Action to perform to blocked users and click Edit Action. Next select Hide Links from the right menu and click OK.
Finally, Click “Save” on the top right corner of the dashboard. Your setup is ready. Read this guide to test your configuration.
Displaying a static HTML template
In this example, we’ll be showing an error template to all blocked visitors.
Repeat the steps above only this time select Show HTML Template from the menu on the right. Select a template, a status code and click “OK”.
TIP: Selecting a status code other than 200 gives SEO bots a hint that you’re blocking them and may make some of them to re-crawl your site disguising themselves as something else.
Click Save on the top right corner. Don’t forget to test your setup.
You can view all available templates here.