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Super Bot Fight Mode is now configurable!


3 min read
Super Bot Fight Mode is now configurable!

Millions of customers around the world use Cloudflare to keep their applications safe by blocking bot traffic to their website. We block an average of 336 million requests per day for self-service customers using a service called Super Bot Fight Mode. It is a crucial part of how customers keep their websites online.

While most customers use Cloudflare’s Verified Bot directory to securely allow good, automated traffic, some customers also like to write their own localized integration scripts to crawl and update their website, or perform other necessary maintenance functions. Because these bots are only used on a single website, they don’t fit our verified bot criteria the way a Google or Bing crawler does. This makes Super Bot Fight Mode difficult to manage for these types of customers.

Super Bot Fight Mode: now configurable!

Previously, Super Bot Fight Mode ran as an independent service on our global network and other Cloudflare security services were unable to affect its configuration. To solve this, we’ve rewritten Super Bot Fight Mode behind the scenes. It’s now a new managed ruleset in the new WAF, just like the OWASP Core Ruleset or the Cloudflare Managed Ruleset. This doesn’t change the interface, but brings Super Bot Fight Mode closer to where customers are managing their other security exceptions.

As we speak, the WAF team is carefully migrating all self-serve customers from our old Firewall Rules system to a new system. This new system, called Custom Rules, simplifies the exception process in the rules you write with no other changes or loss of functionality. In the old system we had two separate actions, “allow” and “bypass”. In the new Custom Rules, there’s only one action called “skip”. Rules that “skip” traffic can skip the rest of your custom rules (just like an “allow” rule would) and other Cloudflare services. As Cloudflare customers are given the “Skip” action, you will be able to see the option available to “skip” Super Bot Fight Mode. Here’s an example:

While we spoke to customers about their use cases for skipping Super Bot Fight Mode, one use-case kept popping up that didn’t quite fit the rest: WordPress Loopback requests. As many people know, as part of WordPress’ self-diagnostic capabilities, a WordPress site will make automated requests back to itself over the Internet to confirm its reachability and functionality. These loopback diagnostics can come from dozens of different community developed plugins, each implementing loopback requests slightly differently. To help accommodate an ever-growing diversity in diagnostic tools used in WordPress, we have added a simple configuration option to securely allow these loop-back requests.

In the future, we will be integrating this feature with the Cloudflare WordPress plugin to make it even easier to use WordPress with Cloudflare.

What’s next?

Self-serve customers with Custom Rules can create “Skip” rules to create exceptions for Super Bot Fight Mode today. We are currently rolling out Custom Rules to all of our customers. If you do not see this option available now, you should expect to see it in the next several weeks. If the lack of flexibility has prevented you from using Super Bot Fight Mode in the past, please log into the Cloudflare dashboard and try it with these new skip rules!

While we’ve added flexibility to customers’ Super Bot Fight Mode deployments, we know that Free plan customers want the same level of customization that self-serve customers do. Now that our migration of Super Bot Fight Mode to the new WAF is complete, we plan to do the same for the original Bot Fight Mode to allow more free customers than ever before to join us in the fight against bots.

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Adam Martinetti|@adamemcf

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