Block Facebook Crawler facebookexternalhit/1.1

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The Facebookexternalhit/1.1 is a user agent used by Facebook to crawl and index web pages for its various services, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

This crawler is responsible for retrieving content, images, and other metadata to improve Facebook’s search functionality and provide users with relevant results.

However, the facebookexternalhit crawling activity can sometimes cause issues for website owners, such as increased server load, bandwidth consumption, and potential security risks.

This article covers why you might want to block facebookexternalhit as well as how to block the facebookexternalhit crawler.

 

Why Block facebookexternalhit/1.1 Crawler?

There are several reasons why you might want to block the facebookexternalhit crawler:

  1. Server Load and Bandwidth Consumption: Facebook’s crawler can generate a large number of requests, which can put a significant load on your server and consume bandwidth.
  2. Security Risks: Facebook’s crawler can potentially expose your website to security risks, such as SQL injection attacks or cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities.
  3. Content Scraping: Facebook’s crawler can scrape content from your website without permission, which can lead to copyright infringement and other legal issues.
  4. Indexing and Caching: Facebook’s crawler can index and cache your website’s content, which can lead to issues with search engine optimization (SEO) and content freshness.

How to Block facebookexternalhit/1.1 Crawler

To block the facebookexternalhit crawler, you can use various methods, including:

  1. .htaccess File: You can add the following code snippet to the end of your Apache web server .htaccess file to block the facebookexternalhit crawler. Note, this will block all requests from Facebookexternalhit/1.1:

  1. IP Blocking: You can block Facebook’s IP addresses using your server’s firewall or IP blocking software. However, this method is not recommended as Facebook’s IP addresses are constantly changing.
  2. User Agent Blocking: You can block facebookexternalhit using user agent blocking plugins or software, such as Apache’s SetEnvIf directive.
  3. Cloudflare: If you are using Cloudflare, you can block facebookexternalhit using Cloudflare’s firewall rules.

Important Notes

  • Blocking facebookexternalhit/1.1 will impact Facebook’s ability to crawl and index your website, which can affect your website’s visibility and search engine ranking.
  • Facebook’s crawler is designed to respect the X-Robots-Tag header, which can be used to specify crawling and indexing instructions.
  • Facebook’s crawler is also designed to respect robots.txt files and will not crawl pages that are disallowed by robots.txt. Example robots file:

User-agent: *
User-agent: facebookexternalhit/1.1
Disallow: /
SITEMAP: https://website.com/sitemap.xml

 

Conclusion

Pros: Blocking the facebookexternalhit crawler will help mitigate issues related to server load, security risks, content scraping, and indexing.

Cons: However, carefully consider the potential impact on your website’s visibility and search engine ranking before blocking the facebookexternalhit crawler.

I hope my article blocking the Facebook Crawler facebookexternalhit/1.1 has been helpful to you. I welcome your thoughts, questions or suggestions regarding this article.

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