Bots still dominate the web in 2014

Web security specialist Incapsula has released its 2014 annual Bot Study which reveals that 56 per cent of website traffic is accounted for by bots.

That's down from 61.5 per cent on last year's study, however the number of 'bad' bots posing as humans has increased significantly.

The number of impersonator bots has risen by 15 per cent in the two years since Incapsula began its annual study and by 10 per cent in 2014. These include DDoS bots, bots masked by proxies and bots that are trying to avoid security measures by using false identities.

The overall decline in bot traffic is, says Incapsula, mainly down to the drop in bots associated with RSS. Google stopped crawling RSS feeds some time ago as its place has increasingly been taken by social media.

Interestingly it's smaller websites that receive the most bot traffic, reaching 80 per cent this year for those with fewer than 1,000 daily visitors. Large sites by contrast - those receiving more than 100,000 daily visitors - receive only 56.2 per cent bot visits.

The proportion of bad bots stays pretty much the same, however, product evangelist Igal Zeifman, writing on the Incapsula blog says, "...the average percentage of bad bots consistently hovers around the 30 per cent mark, regardless of website size or popularity. In absolute terms, Incapsula can state that malicious bot traffic grows in an almost exact proportion to a site’s human traffic".

Head to Incapsula's blog to see a summary of the report in infographic form.

Image credit: Gunnar Assmy/Shutterstock