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Shopify Bot Protection: What It Is and Why It Matters

Are you tired of constantly losing sales to auto-checkout bots? Do you want to ensure that your flash sales and limited edition products are available to genuine customers, not just bots? If so, you must implement a bot protection strategy on your online store. And Shopify has got you covered with its powerful Shopify Bot Protection feature.

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Overview 

As an online retailer, your checkout process is critical to your success. It’s the point at which your customers go from browsing to buying, and it’s where you earn revenue. But what happens when bots start interfering with that process? That’s where bot protection comes in. In this article, we’ll dive into bot protection, why it’s essential, and how Shopify can help you keep your checkout process secure.

What is Bot Protection?

Bot protection is a set of tools and techniques to protect your website from bot attacks. Bots are automated programs that can perform various tasks, from simple web crawling to complex data scraping and even placing orders on your site. Shopify Bot protection Apps can help you identify and block these bots, preventing them from interfering with your checkout process.

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Shopify Bot Protection: What It Is and Why It Matters 4

Why is Bot Protection Important?

Bot attacks can cause a variety of problems for online retailers. They can slow down your site, causing frustration for your customers and potentially leading to lost sales. They can also place fake orders on your site, leading to inventory issues and potentially damaging your reputation. Sometimes, bots can even steal customer data, such as payment information or login credentials.

Types of Bots

Many different types of bots can attack your checkout process. Some of the most common include:

  • Web Crawlers: These bots are used by search engines to index your site.
  • Data Scrapers: These bots are designed to collect data from your site, often for nefarious purposes.
  • Automated Checkout Bots: These bots are programmed to automatically place orders on your site.

Considerations for using bot protection 

Before using the bot protection feature, remember a few essential considerations. These include:

  • You can only schedule one bot protection event at a go.
  • The max duration for a bot protection event is 60 minutes.
  • The bot protection feature is only available for the Online Store sales channel, while other channels are not currently supported.
  • Once a bot protection event ends, you won’t be able to create a new one for at least 15 minutes.

Consider these factors when planning your bot protection strategy on Shopify Plus. By doing so, you can maximize the effectiveness of this powerful feature and keep your online store safe from automated bot attacks.

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Bot Attacks on Checkout

When bots attack your checkout process, they can cause various problems. For example, they can:

  • Cause your site to slow down or crash, leading to lost sales.
  • Place fake orders, leading to inventory issues and potentially damaging your reputation.
  • Steal customer data, such as payment information or login credentials.
  • Skew your analytics data, making it difficult to track your performance accurately.

Bot Protection Strategies

You can use several strategies to protect your checkout process from bot attacks. These include:

  • Captchas: Captchas are designed to differentiate between human users and bots. They typically require users to solve a simple puzzle or enter a code before proceeding.
  • IP Blocking: IP blocking involves identifying and blocking specific IP addresses associated with bot attacks.
  • Behavioral Analysis: Behavioral analysis involves monitoring user behavior to identify patterns indicative of bot activity.
  • Rate Limiting: Rate limiting involves limiting the number of requests that can be made from a single IP address within a specific time frame.

How Shopify Protects Your Checkout

Shopify offers several built-in features to help protect your checkout process from bot attacks. These include:

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  • ReCAPTCHA: Shopify’s checkout process includes Google’s reCAPTCHA, designed to prevent automated abuse of your site.
  • Fraud Analysis: Shopify’s fraud analysis tools use machine learning to identify and block fraudulent orders.
  • Shopify Scripts: Shopify Scripts allow you to customize your checkout process to prevent specific types of bot attacks.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Shopify uses a CDN to ensure that your site is always available, even during peak traffic periods

Sign up for a free trial and enjoy 3 months of Shopify for $1/month on Select Plans.

Additional Shopify Features

In addition to the built-in features mentioned above, Shopify offers several add-ons and apps that can help you further protect your checkout process. Some of these include:

  • Firewall Apps: Firewall apps, including bots, can help protect your site from threats.
  • IP Blocker: IP Blocker apps allow you to block specific IP addresses or ranges of IP addresses.
  • Honeypot: Honeypot apps create fake form fields that are invisible to human users but are designed to trick bots into revealing themselves.

Optimal Strategies for Bot Protection

In addition to using the built-in features and add-ons mentioned above, you can follow several best practices to help protect your checkout process from bot attacks. These include:

  • Regularly monitoring your analytics data to identify unusual activity.
  • Setting up alerts to notify you when unusual activity is detected.
  • Regularly testing your bot protection to ensure that it is working effectively.
  • Updating your bot protection strategies as needed to stay ahead of new threats.

Schedule bot protection 

Scheduling bot protection is a great way to protect your online store during high-demand periods. When you schedule bot protection, you can pick a specific start time and date, and the protection event will begin according to your store’s time zone.

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A bot protection event’s maximum duration is 60 minutes, so choosing a time that aligns with your flash sale or other high-demand event is crucial. When you schedule bot protection, you can protect all published products or select up to 50 individual products to protect.

To schedule bot protection on Shopify Plus, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings > Bot protection in your Shopify admin.
  • Click “Schedule protection.”
  • Enter your protection event’s title, start time, date, and duration.
  • Click “Stop known bots auto-completing checkouts.”
  • Optional: If you use a checkpoint challenge during your protection event, select “Require that customers solve a checkpoint challenge before completing checkout.”
  • In the “Products” section, choose whether to protect all published products or only specific products. If you choose specific products, use the “Search Protect products” field to add up to 50 individual products to the list.
  • Click “Submit” to schedule your bot protection event.
  • Customizing your bot protection strategy can maximize its effectiveness in protecting your online store. By taking advantage of this powerful feature, you can ensure your customers have a smooth shopping experience during high-demand periods.

Testing Your Bot Protection

Testing your bot protection is essential to ensure it works effectively regularly. Some testing strategies you can use include:

  • Performing a penetration test to identify vulnerabilities in your checkout process.
  • Using a bot simulator to test your bot protection strategies.
  • Conducting a real-world test by temporarily disabling your bot protection and monitoring for bot activity.

What to Do If When Attacked

If bots attack you, there are several steps you can take to minimize the damage. These include:

  • Immediately blocking the offending IP addresses.
  • Investigating the attack to identify any vulnerabilities in your checkout process.
  • Updating your bot protection strategies to prevent similar attacks in the future.
  • Contacting your payment processor and issuing refunds for any fraudulent orders.

Bot Protection and SEO

Bot protection can also impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. For example, measuring your site’s performance can be tricky if bots skew your analytics data. Additionally, if your site is frequently slow or inaccessible due to bot attacks, it can negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Protecting your store from bots 

Protecting your online store from bots is an essential aspect of online security. Shopify Plus, the enterprise-level version of Shopify, offers a powerful bot protection feature to prevent auto-checkout bots from buying your product inventories.

This bot protection feature is exclusively available to merchants on the Shopify Plus plan. It blocks known bots from accessing your checkout process and slows down bot activity when activated. This gives your human customers a better chance to make purchases during high-demand periods such as flash sales.

If you’re a Shopify Plus merchant, you can request the bot protection feature for your store; contact Shopify Plus Support for assistance.

Deactivate bot protection 

Deactivating bot protection is a straightforward process. Once the scheduled time for bot protection ends, it automatically deactivates. However, if you want to deactivate it before the scheduled time manually, you can do so based on your order volume. If enough customers have purchased from your store, you can choose to deactivate bot protection.

To deactivate bot protection, follow these steps:

  • Go to your Shopify admin and navigate to Settings > Bot protection.
  • Click on the active event.
  • Click Deactivate.

Conclusion

In conclusion, bot protection is a critical feature every online merchant should consider. By preventing auto-checkout bots from buying out your inventory, you can ensure that your customers can purchase the products they want. With the ability to schedule bot protection for specific events and deactivate it when it’s no longer necessary, Shopify Plus users have the flexibility to use this feature in the most effective way possible.

If you’re a Shopify Plus user and still need to activate bot protection, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Contact Shopify Plus Support to request this feature and start protecting your store from bots today. Your customers will thank you for it, and your sales will reflect the positive impact of a fair and secure checkout experience. Don’t wait; take action now and see the difference for yourself.

FAQs

FAQs that might be useful:

What are auto-checkout bots? 

Auto-checkout bots are software programs that automate the process of purchasing products online. Individuals or organizations can use them to buy up large quantities of products in a short amount of time.

How does bot protection work? 

The protection blocks known bots from your checkout; slow bot activity so customers can purchase during flash sales. You can also schedule bot protection at a specific time and date.

Can I protect specific products with bot protection? 

Yes, you can choose to protect all published products or select up to 50 products you want to protect.

Can I use bot protection for sales channels other than the Online Store? 

Bot protection is currently only available for the Online Store sales channel.

How long does a bot protection event last? 

The max duration for a bot protection event is 60 minutes.

How do I deactivate bot protection? 

Bot protection deactivates automatically when the scheduled time ends, but you can also manually deactivate it by going to Settings > Bot protection, clicking on the active event, and clicking Deactivate.

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