What is an Internet Bot? A Comprehensive Guide

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Josh Wardini
Written by
Josh Wardini

Updated · Aug 07, 2023

Josh Wardini
Co-Founder | Joined June 2023 | Twitter LinkedIn
Josh Wardini

Josh Wardini is our AI and automation guy. He started his internet journey in sales and marketing, u... | See full bio

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Joined November 2021
Rajeev Bera
Reviewed by
Rajeev Bera


Rajeev Bera
Founder of Acompiler | Joined July 2023 | LinkedIn
Rajeev Bera

Rajeev Bera is an IT professional with over a decade of experience in the software development indus... | See full bio

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A bot is an application trained to automatically carry out straightforward, repetitive activities using robotic process automation (RPA). They can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and need the creator's supervision only occasionally. 


Bots operate according to a set of rules. They replicate large-scale operations handled by humans, such as messaging. They complete these jobs more quickly and precisely than humans do. 

Bots are also used by people for site crawling. It involves getting information from several servers, evaluating it, and organizing it.

Learn more about what an internet bot is, its history, and its different types as you read on. 

Key Takeaways

  • A predefined trigger activates bots, such as a specific keyword, event, or social media message. 
  • Good internet bots account for 14.6% of web traffic, while bad bots account for 27.7% in 2021.
  • In 2016, over 94.2% of websites were subject to bot attacks. 
  • Shopping bots search the web for the best deal on the goods a user wants. 
  • Bot automation is why we have self-service portals and instant responses to FAQs and customer queries. 

Understanding Internet Bots: Definition, History, and Types

The  term "bot" is a short word for "robot." The automated software executes predetermined tasks, typically through a network. People use bots for the same reason factories employ machines. 

Over time, a bot can work more quickly and effectively than a person at repetitive tasks. As a result, these bots have become increasingly popular.  In 2022, nearly half (47.4%) of all internet traffic came from bots. This is a 5.1% increase from 2021. 

Bots typically have a predefined trigger that instructs them to begin working, such as a specific keyword or an event, such as a message sent on social media.  

Once activated, internet bots communicate with one another via internet-based interactions, carrying out the tasks that were scripted for them using: 

  • Automation
  • Computer vision
  • Machine learning

Bad bots are created to commit harmful acts like hacking, stealing website content, and DDoS attacks. In contrast, good bots are created to stop malicious attempts like spam emails before they reach an inbox.

Good bots are frequently used to boost your website's search engine performance. They can also assist with link building, which will benefit SEO efforts. 

In 2021, good internet bots will account for 14.6% of the web traffic, while bad bots will account for 27.7%.

💡Did You Know:

Chinese citizens adore chatbots a lot. According to Engadget, Xiaoice is a wildly well-liked chatbot in China, with 23 conversations per session (CPS) as the average length of a discussion. The typical CPS for virtually every other chatbot is between 1.5 and 2.5.

History of Internet Bots

The development of Internet bots has been similar to that of any other technology. It has a development history before becoming an internet bot with various uses. 

Find out when and why internet bots started by reading their history below.  

History of Internet Bots

1988-The First Bot for IRC

When Internet Relay Chat (IRC) first appeared in 1988, some of the earliest Internet bots existed. Jyrki Alakuijala's Puppe, Greg Lindahl's Game Manager (for the game Hunt the Wumpus), and Bill Wisner's Bartender were the first bots deployed on IRC. Early IRC bots served users automatically and stayed in a channel to prevent the server from closing down for lack of activity.

1994-The First Web Bot

Created in 1994, WebCrawler was the first bot used to index websites.

1995-The Webcrawler

Webcrawler was used by AOL and bought out by Excite in 1997. 

1996- The Googlebot

Originally called Backrub in 1996, this Googlebot allows you to easily search through millions of online pages in seconds to obtain the most helpful information. 

1999- The Bot Net Programs

Sub7 (a Trojan) and Pretty Park (a worm), two of the first botnet programs, were both Trojans. 1999 saw their introduction to the IRC network. These bots were designed to silently install themselves on computers when connected to an IRC channel. They do this so they can watch for malicious commands.


AI Chatbots like Chatsonic and Writesonic were created and became widely used. 

Now that you have gone through the history of Internet bots, it is time to learn about the different types of bots found on the Internet.

Types of Internet Bots

There are three main types of Internet bots. These are legitimate bots, malicious bots, and bot applications. Learn more about each type of bot. Continue reading!

Legitimate Bot

Legitimate bots are good bots that do things that benefit your website. These bots crawl your website to gather data for market intelligence and analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), information aggregation, and other purposes.

Suppose it is vital for your business or marketing goals. In that case, it is advised to selectively halt one or all of these beneficial bots.

Here are the different legitimate bots: 

  • Crawl Bots

A crawl bot,  also known as a spider or crawler, is an internet bot that routinely browses the World Wide Web and is often run by search engines for Web indexing (web spidering). 

Web crawlers copy pages for a search engine to process and index, enabling users to conduct more effective searches.

  • Scrapers

These bots are designed to collect information about products and prices from the target website to undercut its pricing policies. Competitors frequently employ third-party scrapers to carry out this activity.

👍 Helpful Article: Learn more about web scrapers and crawlers by reading Techjury articles:

  • Chatbots

These bots mimic human communication by giving pre-programmed responses to specific phrases.

  • Monitoring Bots

These bots monitor a system's or website's health. It is used on an independent website that offers real-time status information, including outages of websites and other services like downdetector.com.

  • Shopping Bots

Bots that search the web for the best deal on the goods a user is looking for are called shopping bots. Some bots can track a user's web browsing habits and modify the user's experience on the website.

  • Transaction Bots

This kind of bot does transactions on people's behalf. Customers can conduct a transaction while chatting, for instance, using transactional bots.

Malicious Bots

In 2016, over 94.2% of websites were subject to bot attacks. Over 80% of internet users are impacted by spyware, and malicious bots have caused these attacks.

An automated malware program that can infect a system, steal data, or engage in other fraudulent actions is called a "malicious bot." These bots have such malicious purposes that they are much worse than ordinary ones. 

The planning and execution of an automated attack against networked computers, such as a denial-of-service attack by a botnet, is one example of the vicious usage of malicious bots. Internet bots, often known as web bots, can be used to perform click fraud. 

More recently, MMORPG gaming bots have started to surface. Internet bots, known as spambots, which aim to spread massive volumes of content online and typically include links to advertisements, constitute a different category. 

💡Did You Know?

1,681 educational institutions were targeted by 84 ransomware attacks in the US in the year 2019.

Examples of Malicious Bots are: 

  • Spam Bots

A particular kind of bot called a "spam bot" sends (or assists in sending) spam messages.

A spam bot may also publish spam in different locations where users engage online, such as discussion forums or social media sites.

Spam bots can set up phony accounts on message boards, social media sites, messaging applications, and email hosting services.

They will occasionally make an effort to pass off their actions as those of a legitimate user. 

  • File-sharing Bot

This bot searches for keywords and provides the searcher with fake links.

People will unintentionally download malicious software or computer viruses onto their devices when they click the link.

It can be complicated to avoid file-sharing bots.

  • Vulnerability Scanners

These bots look for flaws in devices and networks. They resemble monitoring bots in many ways. However, hackers design them to locate exploitable security flaws. 

  • Voice Bots

Hackers use this dangerous bot to steal 2FA (two-factor authentication) and OTP (one-time password) tokens.

Private account owners frequently use OTP and 2FA for further security and password recovery. 

When a speech bot requests your code, it is easy to let your defenses down.

To protect yourself against voice bots, generating extra-strong passwords and utilizing a secure password manager are best.

  • DDoS Bots

These software bots are designed to bring down websites by bombarding their targets with requests. A botnet network can occasionally carry out DDoS attacks. Why would a website crash? 

Typically, the hackers responsible for an attack will demand a ransom, and the website may be held hostage by DDoS bots until demands are satisfied.

Cybercriminals use this kind of internet robot to target large corporations. 

  • Malicious Chatterbots

These "chatterbots" deceive users into thinking they are interacting with real people. 

The truth is they are talking to malicious software that wants to steal their personal information, including credit card details, from unsuspecting victims. 

Malicious chatterbots usually operate on websites and apps for dating services.

  • Click Fraud Bots

These bots generate significant harmful bot traffic, mainly directed at paid advertisements.

This non-human traffic clicks on paid advertisements unlawfully and costs advertisers billions of dollars annually, frequently posing as real traffic. 

Due to this bot activity, marketers may only lose a significant amount of their advertising budget with effective bot identification software.

  • Credential Stuffer Bots

These bots "stuff" well-known usernames and passwords into web log-in forms to access user accounts without authorization (often obtained through data breaches).

Bot Applications

Internet Bots are programmed to perform web scraping, data analysis, customer support, content generation, and more. 

These bots can operate independently or as part of a more extensive system and significantly automate repetitive tasks. They also enhance efficiency in various online applications.

Here are some examples of bot applications: 

  • Human Resources

A human resources bot can assist you with various tasks and provide valuable information about human resources processes and policies. 

  • Supply Chain

By providing real-time status updates, bots assist in streamlining supply chain operations. Businesses use bots to boost customer service and safeguard shipping procedures. 

Inventory management is a frequent application of bots in supply chain management.

LiveTiles, an all-in-one retail store management system, is an example of a bot application incorporating staff management systems, inventory tracking, and supply chain tracking.

  • Sales and Marketing

Bots help enhance sales and marketing processes such as scheduling meetings, ensuring document confidentiality, seamless expense tracking, and report updating. They’re an excellent tool for recommending new offers to customers and getting feedback. 

Online retailers also use Chatbots to attract customers and improve sales via social media accounts. 

  • Customer Service

Given that nearly half of businesses compete based on customer experience, chatbots are great at optimizing customer care processes.

Self-service portals and rapid answers to frequently asked questions and client inquiries are both products of bot automation. 

This tool enables users to browse hotels and check availability around the world.

A good example is West Jet’s Facebook chatbot, which can book flights for users. All it needs are the departing and arriving dates and locations.

  • Healthcare

Applying bot technology in healthcare has substantially increased efficiency and patient care. Hospitals use chatbots to track prescription use and automatic medication refills. 

Another use of bot technology in healthcare is in therapy. Therapy bots are efficient as they offer instant patient responses and are available 24/7. The best part is that they lack any stigma. Woebot is a working example.

The use of bots in games is not new, but how about the games that are supposed to be played by humans?

      Bot names are indeed recycled player names.
by      u/scrublord in      PUBATTLEGROUNDS   


Internet bots have grown popular in the digital landscape. Like any other technology, it has its history, types, and varying use cases.

They are valuable tools in different industries because they streamline processes, improve efficiency, and provide unique functionalities. They can boost productivity by automating repetitive tasks, providing personalized customer support, creating content, and doing other things.

However, to avoid adverse effects on online platforms and user experiences, everybody must use them responsibly and ethically.


What are bots on the internet?

An Internet bot, also known as a web robot, robot, or simply bot, is a software application that performs automated tasks over the Internet, typically to mimic human activity on the Internet.

How many bots are there on the internet?

There is no central registry of bots or other automated software on the internet. However, estimates suggest that millions, if not billions, of bots are in use today.

What type of malware is a bot?

Malicious bots are self-propagating malware that infects its host and connects to a central server (or servers). The server serves as a "command and control center" for a botnet, a network of infected computers, and other devices.


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1 comment
1 year ago
Waw good