How to Prevent Bots From Submitting Forms

From generating leads to collecting user data, forms are an essential part of any website. But they are also a popular target for spam bots. These automated software programs are programmed to automatically fill out web forms and submit them at high rates, often bypassing security measures. This can lead to false analytics, faked leads, spammy email lists and more. This article explores how to prevent bots from submitting forms so that you can protect your website, users and business.

How do I stop a bot form submission?

The most common type of bot attacks are simple, repetitive form submissions. These are most commonly used by competitors to spam classified ads and property listings websites, for example, burying inboxes with mountains of fake submissions that must be manually sifted through. Such activity can cost businesses time and money, alienate potential customers and skew website traffic and lead generation metrics.

To prevent these types of bots, you can implement basic form validations, such as checking that the submitted user name and email address are valid. You can also block bots by adding hidden fields to your forms that are designed to be difficult for bots to complete (e.g. requiring them to answer an arbitrary question). This can help identify suspicious submissions, but it may be difficult to accurately catch all bots and can leave legitimate users frustrated if they are incorrectly blocked by this method.

A more advanced approach is to use geolocation measures to verify that the user submitting the form is within a certain geographic area, potentially preventing them from accessing your site at all. This can be proactive (blocking all fraud-associated IP addresses from a region) or responsive (blocking an IP in response to a high number of form submissions from a single source).