Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

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thetgc
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Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by thetgc » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:27 pm

Got a bit of an odd situation which has cropped up recently. My forum has a genuine 30-40k visitors per month but over the last few weeks this figure has ballooned enormously. Where once I would see maybe 50-100 users online at any one time I am now seeing thousands (not registered users by the way)

As a result the site responsiveness has slowed to a crawl.

Google Analytics however shows just a handful of people online in real time. Which is in keeping with the sites normal traffic figures.

Has anyone else come across this before? Could it be some sort of script/bot thing going on?

KYPREO
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Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by KYPREO » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:40 am

Google Analytics only shows results of users who accept the tracking cookie/code setup for your site. It also excludes web crawlers and bot traffic.

The guests shown in forum stats is not an accurate indicator of actual users online because:
(a) by default, it displays results for active users over a 5 minute period, not instaneously.
(b) it includes bots and crawlers. If you actually click on "who is online", then click "display guests" in the following list, you will see the IP address and browser identifier of each guest connection. There you will likely find that most of the guests identify as a bot of some kind. If you set up a proper robots.txt and look at other kinds of filtering (eg Cloudflare or server firewall configuration), unwanted connections will disappear and will save you valuable server resources.

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WelshPaul
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Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by WelshPaul » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:40 am

thetgc wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:27 pm
Has anyone else come across this before? Could it be some sort of script/bot thing going on?
Very likely this but it could be a low scale DDOS? Do you have access to any server side logs?

thetgc
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Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by thetgc » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:02 am

Thanks for the replies. Checked the logs and found it was Chinese scraper bots.

Used this in the .htaccess as a starter and it has completely killed all that unwanted traffic...for now anyway and it is easy to update.

Code: Select all

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Mb2345Browser|LieBaoFast|zh-CN|MicroMessenger|zh_CN|Kinza [NC]
RewriteRule ^ - [F,L]
Cloudfare is an option but another $20 a month and as it is not a revenue generating forum and costs me quite a bit each month already I would rather avoid yet more expense if possible.

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WelshPaul
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Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by WelshPaul » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:07 am

thetgc wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:02 am
Thanks for the replies. Checked the logs and found it was Chinese scraper bots.

Used this in the .htaccess as a starter and it has completely killed all that unwanted traffic...for now anyway and it is easy to update.

Code: Select all

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Mb2345Browser|LieBaoFast|zh-CN|MicroMessenger|zh_CN|Kinza [NC]
RewriteRule ^ - [F,L]
Cloudfare is an option but another $20 a month and as it is not a revenue generating forum and costs me quite a bit each month already I would rather avoid yet more expense if possible.
You really want to stop it before it hits your server.

thetgc
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Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:51 pm

Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by thetgc » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:56 am

Yes but the only way to do that is with Cloudfare?

KYPREO
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Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:56 am
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Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by KYPREO » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:45 am

Basic Cloudflare with DDos protection, CDN and SSL is free.

thetgc
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Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:51 pm

Re: Forum shows high traffic but Google Analytics does not?

Post by thetgc » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:20 pm

I was told by Amazon Web Services that it was an extra $20 per month :(

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