How do I realize a UA string block by regular expression in the config files of my Apache webserver?

For example: if I would like to block out all bots from Apache on my debian server, that have the regular expression /\b\w+[Bb]ot\b/ or /Spider/ in their user-agent.

Those bots should not be able to see any page on my server and they should not appear neither in the accesslogs nor in the errorlogs.

http://global-security.blogspot.de/2009/06/how-to-block-robots-before-they-hit.html supposes to uses mod_security for that, but isn't there a simple directive for http.conf?

  • Are you sure you don't want to just have them not crawl your site using a robots.txt? (seems more efficient then doing an Apache regex for every request)
    – dan
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 5:53
  • I have many websites on the server, so I would have to add a robots.txt to each folders at once and only if there is none yet. the simplest solution would be such a directive in the main config. And I want to unclutter the accesslogs and errorlogs too
    – rubo77
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 6:00
  • I see. I'm not sure specific regexes are going to catch them all, particularly those with differing or missing UA's. See this for more: Crawler Identification and Examples
    – dan
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 6:12
  • I know I can't get them all, but I still would like to add this easy solution to reduce some traffic and logging. I dot't need a complete solution, just an easy question: What line would I have to add in the apache-config? I can't find it ;)
    – rubo77
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 6:29
  • 1
    I'll take a look at the regex for what you have. Here's list of UA's for spiders, robots, and crawlers though: List of User-Agents The regex will be very incomplete indeed.
    – dan
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


I enabled rewrite engine in Apache:

a2enmod rewrite

and added this block to my /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

<Directory /var/www/>
       <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
                RewriteEngine on
                RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} googlebot [NC,OR]
                RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} sosospider [NC,OR]
                RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} BaiduSpider [NC]
                # Allow access to robots.txt and forbidden message
                # at least 403 or else it will loop
                RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/robots\.txt$
                RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/403\.shtml$
                RewriteRule ^.* - [F,L]

and restarted Apache:

apache2ctl graceful

now these calls from those spiders all cause 403 Errors:

grep -E 'spider|bot' /var/log/apache2/*.log

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