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Web Dev + WordPress + Security

WordPress Plugin: Blackhole Pro

[ Blackhole Pro ]

Announcing the Pro version of my WordPress security plugin, Blackhole for Bad Bots. Like the free version, Blackhole Pro protects your site against bad bots, spammers, scrapers, scanners, and other automated threats. This increases site security and saves precious server resources for your legit visitors. It’s time to say “bye bye” to bad bots.

Trap bad bots in a virtual Blackhole!

How does it work?

Blackhole Pro adds a hidden link to your pages. You add a rule to your robots.txt that instructs bots to stay away. Good bots will obey the rule, but bad bots will ignore it and follow the link.. right into the blackhole trap. Once trapped, bad bots are blocked and denied further access to your entire site.

The main benefits of Blackhole Pro include:

  • Stops leeches, scanners, and spammers
  • Saves server resources for humans and good bots
  • Improves traffic quality and overall site security

I call it the “one-strike” rule: bots have one chance to obey your site’s robots.txt rules. Failure to comply results in immediate banishment. And if that seems too harsh, you can adjust the number of allowed “strikes” via the plugin’s Threshold setting.

What about human visitors?

What about human visitors? Will they get banned from the site if they follow the hidden blackhole trigger link?

Nope. The blackhole trigger is completely hidden from normal visitors. The only way to discover the link is to snoop around in the page markup. And even if someone does happen to find the link, it clearly warns against following it. So there is virtually zero chance of false positives. If you are concerned about any code-inspecting visitors who might find the hidden link, you can adjust the Threshold setting to allow for a few “mistakes”.

Pro Features

Blackhole Pro includes all features of the free version, plus settings to give you full control over virtually everything. Pro version features include:

  • Customize Blackhole Warning message
  • Choose a custom blocked message for bad bots
  • Disable Blackhole for logged in users
  • Logs number of blocked hits for each bot
  • Set the number of hits before a bot is banned
  • Exclude Blackhole trigger link on specific posts/pages
  • Customize the trigger link with any text-markup
  • Optionally redirect all blocked bots
  • Optionally redirect all whitelisted bots
  • Choose a custom HTTP Status Code for blocked bots
  • Includes new email alert templates
  • Customize your own email alerts with shortcodes
  • Plus all of the features of the free version!

So you can customize just about all aspects of the plugin. Blackhole Pro also features complete documentation and tips via the Help tab of any plugin screen. And of course, you get one-click restore of the default plugin settings and Bad Bot Log. In the words of Darth Vader, Blackhole Pro makes trapping and blocking bad bots:

All too easy..

Bad Bot Log

To make the Pro version extra awesome, Blackhole Pro includes a robust, full-featured Bad Bot Log, where you can view and manage all of your blocked bots. The Bad Bot Log is extra deluxe with the following features:

  • Geo/IP location lookups for every blocked bot
  • Field-refined search, custom sorting, and paged results
  • One-click forward/reverse and DNS lookups for each bot
  • Add bots manually, directly via the Bad Bots screen
  • Delete any bot or multiple bots with a click

Blackhole Pro is by far the coolest plugin I’ve developed so far. I’m really excited about it, and hope that it benefits WordPress users who take their site’s security, reputation, and performance seriously. Plus it’s just a lot of fun to trap and block bad bots :)


Full-size screenshots of Blackhole Pro:

Complete documentation for Blackhole Pro available at Plugin Planet.

Get Blackhole Pro

Using a cache plugin? Check if it works with Blackhole Pro »

Jeff Starr
About the Author
Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
WP Themes In Depth: Build and sell awesome WordPress themes.

2 responses to “WordPress Plugin: Blackhole Pro”

  1. Pretty awesome! Looking forward to the 7G Blacklist! Thanks for sharing all of these projects! :-)

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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