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Referrer Spam Blocker

Apache, Nginx, IIS, uWSGI, Caddy & Varnish blacklist + Google Analytics segments to prevent referrer spam traffic


Latest Stable Version Build Status Libraries.io dependency status for latest release Code Quality Packagist License


Apache: .htaccess

.htaccess is a configuration file for use on web servers running Apache. This file is usually found in the root public_html folder of your website. The .htaccess file uses two modules to prevent referral spam, mod_rewrite and mod_setenvif. Decide which method is most suitable with your Apache server configuration. This file is Apache 2.4 ready, where mod_authz_host got deprecated.

Nginx: referral-spam.conf

With referral-spam.conf in /etc/nginx, include it globally from within /etc/nginx/nginx.conf:

http {
	include referral-spam.conf;
}

Add the following to each /etc/nginx/site-available/your-site.conf that needs protection:

server {
	if ($bad_referer) {
		return 444;
	}
}

Varnish: .refferal-spam.vcl

Add referral-spam.vcl to Varnish 4 default file: default.vcl by adding the following code right underneath your default backend definitions

include "referral-spam.vcl";
sub vcl_recv { call block_referral_spam; }

IIS (Internet Information Services): web.config

The web.config file is located in the root directory of your Windows Server web application.

Caddy (HTTP/2 Web Server with Automatic HTTPS): referral-spam.caddy and referral-spam.caddy2

Move this file next to your Caddy config file, and include it by doing:

# For Caddy 1:
 include ./referral-spam.caddy;
# For Caddy 2:
 import ./referral-spam.caddy2

Then start your caddy server. All the referrers will now be redirected to a 444 HTTP answer

uWSGI: referral_spam.res

Include the file referral_spam.res into your vassal .ini configuration file:

ini = referral_spam.res:blacklist_spam

HAProxy: referral-spam.haproxy

Use it in your HAProxy config by adding all domains.txt items, in any frontend, listen or backend block:

acl spam_referer hdr_sub(referer) -i -f /etc/haproxy/referral-spam.haproxy
http-request deny if spam_referer

Options for Google Analytics 'ghost' spam

The above methods don't stop the Google Analytics ghost referral spam (because they are hitting Analytics directly and don't touching your website). You should use filters in Analytics to prevent ghost referral spam and hide spam form the past. Because Google Analytics segments are limited to 30.000 characters the exclude list is separated into multiple parts.

Navigate to your Google Analytics Admin panel and add these Segments:

Filter Session Include
Hostname matches regex ```your-website.com
Filter Session Exclude
Source matches regex Copy all the domains from google-exclude-1.txt to this field

Do the same for google-exclude-2.txt. Please note there may be more files in the future.

You can also prevent ghost referral spam by:

Intregrate in a Dockerfile

You can also integrate these configuration file in your Docker repo, so you will get always the most updated version when you build your image. For Apache, Nginx, Varnish 4 or IIS add the following line to your Dockerfile

# Apache: Download .htaccess to /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/.htaccess /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/

# Nginx: Download referral-spam.conf to /etc/nginx/
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/referral-spam.conf /etc/nginx/

# Varnish 4: Download referral-spam.vcl to /etc/varnish/
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/referral-spam.vcl /etc/varnish/

# IIS: Download web.config to /sitepath/ (change sitepath accordingly)
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/web.config /sitepath/

# Caddy: Download referral-spam.caddy to /sitepath/ (next to your Caddy config file given through -conf)
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/referral-spam.caddy /sitepath/

# uWSGI: Download referral_spam.res to /sitepath/ (change sitepath accordingly)
ADD https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Stevie-Ray/referrer-spam-blocker/master/referral_spam.res /sitepath/

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