AI Crawlers are Driving Up Site Costs

In today's digital-first world, AI-powered web crawlers are increasingly traversing sites across the internet. While these bots play a crucial role in tasks like indexing for search engines and automating data collection, they also significantly increase server resource consumption. This surge can lead to higher operational costs for website owners, particularly in web hosting.

AI Crawlers

The Impact of AI Crawlers

AI crawlers scan websites systematically, consuming bandwidth and processing power. This heightened activity not only strains servers but can also slow down the user experience for human visitors. For sites with limited hosting plans, this can translate into overage fees or upgrading to more expensive hosting options to accommodate the increased load.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies to mitigate these impacts without compromising your site's visibility or functionality:

Mitigating Unwanted Bot Traffic

  1. Enhancing Caching Configurations:
    For websites running on popular CMS platforms like WordPress or Drupal, optimizing the caching configuration can significantly reduce server load. Effective caching ensures that static parts of your website are served to visitors without repeatedly processing the same requests. This is particularly useful during high-traffic periods induced by bot activity.
  2. WAF (Web Application Firewall):
    Cloudflare or Fastly provides WAF services, offering a solution that allows website owners to block or rate limit bots based on their category. This selective filtering ensures that only beneficial bots can access your site, reducing unnecessary load.
  3. Cloudflare's Super Bot Fight Mode:
    Cloudflare's Super Bot Fight Mode offers robust protection against malicious bots by differentiating between harmful and beneficial bot traffic on your website. It allows site owners to block, challenge, or manage bots based on their behavior, providing a dashboard for detailed insights into bot activity. This feature is ideal for sites experiencing high levels of unwanted bot traffic, efficiently enhancing site performance and security.

How does this affect my Pantheon-hosted website? 

Pantheon scales its web hosting based on visits. As of early 2024, it has updated its overage policy to improve past scenarios where hosting plans were automatically upgraded if an overage occurred. It now charges $40 for each additional 10,000 site visitors over your site threshold. 

Pantheon does offer preferred pricing and overage protections for 501(c)3 nonprofits

How does this affect my Platform.sh hosted website? 

Platform.sh scales its web hosting services based on resources (CPU, Memory, Storage, etc.). This is a more traditional approach, but costs will still rise as additional website traffic requires more resources to respond efficiently.

Strategies to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Expenses

If you suspect AI crawler traffic is affecting your website's performance and cost, consider these strategies to improve efficiency and reduce expenses. Implementing advanced security measures like Cloudflare's WAF and optimizing your caching settings are proactive steps toward maintaining a robust and cost-effective online presence.

For more detailed guidance on configuring these solutions or if you need personalized assistance, feel free to reach out to our team at Inclind. Our expertise in web hosting and maintenance, coupled with our commitment to innovative and sustainable digital solutions, ensures that your site performs well and remains cost-efficient in the face of evolving digital challenges.

In the dynamic terrain of web development and hosting, staying proactive with technological shifts and obstacles is pivotal to your operational achievements. By controlling how bots interact with your site and optimizing your server's response to increased traffic, you can safeguard your digital assets while keeping costs in check.

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