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What is a bot?

  1 min read

A bot is a software application programmed to do certain tasks.

Bots are automated, which means they run according to their instructions without a human user needing to manually start them up every time. Bots often imitate or replace a human user’s behavior. Typically they do repetitive tasks, and they can do them much faster than human users could.

​​ Good bots

Not all bots are bad! Many provide vital functions across the Internet, including those used as:

​​ Malicious bots

Any automated actions by a bot that violate a website owner’s intentions, the site’s Terms of Service, or the site’s Robots.txt rules for bot behavior can be considered malicious. Bots that attempt to carry out cybercrime, such as identity theft or account takeover, are also “bad” bots. While some of these activities are illegal, bots do not have to break any laws to be considered malicious.

​​ Additional reading

For more details on bots and bot-related activities, refer to our Learning Center.