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Help: alternatives to geo-blocking to protect sites from bots?

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 12.10.11For the last few weeks the CPU usage for Sociological Imagination’s server had been running at 100%. Having had this experience before, I was assiduously avoiding any unnecessary memory intensive plug ins and keeping everything regularly updated. Given that the site was starting to crash on a regular basis, I investigated further and found near continual traffic coming from China, trawling through comments and old pages on a second-by-second basis. Unsure of what else to do, I tried country blocking China. The CPU usage almost immediately fell down to its usual level of 10%-30%.

I just tried removing the country block and it immediately went back up to 100% (I took the screenshot a moment ago) with the same questionable traffic showing up. It’s now gone back to about 36% but I’m tempted to reimpose the country block given that it seemed to entirely solve the problem last time. This seems utterly absurd though. Does anyone have suggestions for alternative strategies to protect the site? Weirdly, it doesn’t seem to be happening on any of the other sites I manage (all hosted on the same virtual server) but perhaps this is just a matter of time.

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