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Blocking ChatGPT Bot Crawling: Pros and Cons, How-to Block

Our guide on blocking ChatGPT bot crawling aims to help you understand what ChatGPT is, why its bot crawls your website, and the pros and cons of blocking its traffic.

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What is OpenAI’s ChatGPT?

OpenAI’s ChatGPT represents a branch of the renowned GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) models tailored for conversational interactions. It thrives on the GPT architecture, a modern neural network setup that generates extended, coherent, and contextually relevant text passages. Let’s break down its intricate name:

Generative: It implies the model’s ability to construct text based on a given input.

Pre-trained: This indicates the model’s training on vast textual data before fine-tuning for specific applications. Such extensive training equips it with knowledge spanning grammar, worldly facts, and even a touch of common sense.

Transformer: This term alludes to the neural network’s architectural design. Introduced in 2017 by Vaswani and his team, the Transformer model has since evolved as the cornerstone for numerous leading-edge natural language processing endeavors.

So, before blocking ChatGPT bot crawling, you now understand what ChatGPT is.

You can read more about ChatGPT on the OpenAI Website.

Why is ChatGPT Relevant?

ChatGPT is one of the most famous generative tools at this stage. ChatGPT was trained on different web sources like yours or any other site.

The significance of ChatGPT lies in its optimization for conversations. This renders it a prime candidate for chatbots, assistants, or any other venture necessitating natural language discourse.

Because the ChatGPT database covers most topics, a user can ask it a question and get a decent response in most cases, especially for technological topics. This means that users will use Search Engines less, and there will be less traffic derived from search engines.

Like any technology, controlling its interaction with websites is essential. Thus, understanding how to block ChatGPT bot crawling becomes crucial.

What is ChatGPT Crawling Bot

ChatGPT bot is the tool that crawls websites to ingest data into future and current OpenAI versions of ChatGPT.

You can read more about the ChatGPT crawler bot in OpenAI Docs.

Reasons to Block ChatGPT from Crawling Your Site

For website owners and administrators, blocking ChatGPT from crawling can stem from various concerns.

One of the primary reasons to block AI training on your website might be to protect your users’ data privacy. ChatGPT, like many other AI, learns from the data it interacts with. This interaction could potentially expose sensitive information.

Your website might host unique, proprietary, or copyrighted content that forms part of your competitive advantage. By blocking AI training, you help to safeguard your intellectual property from being incorporated into a machine learning model.

Allowing AI to train on your site could result in misinterpretation or misrepresentation of your content, especially if the AI misreads the context of the intended message. This could lead to a dilution of the quality and accuracy of the information on the web.

Excessive requests from bots can slow down a website, potentially diminishing the user experience for genuine visitors. Additionally, suppose bots like ChatGPT are used to interact with content on a site in ways it wasn’t intended for. In that case, it might lead to skewed analytics, making it challenging for administrators to discern genuine user activity from bot interactions.

ChatGPT bot, unlike Google or any other search engine bot, doesn’t drive traffic to your website. It crawls the site to add the data to the ChatGPT database, so fewer users will visit your site since the data will be available through ChatGPT. Also, in its current state, ChatGPT doesn’t source websites from which it gets the information, only with the Plus subscription and browsing built-in plugin.

Reasons not to Block ChatGPT from Crawling Your Site

There are numerous debates over the internet about freedom of learning, AI advancements, and other initiatives. If you support any of them, you must decide whether you want to block the ChatGPT crawling bot.

How to Block ChatGPT Bot Crawling

You will need to add a directive in your “robots.txt” file:

User-agent: GPTBot
Disallow: /

These lines disable the “GPTBot” user agent from crawling your website.

If you add it through the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin robot.txt feature, it should look like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-content/uploads/wpo-plugins-tables-list.json

# ---------------------------
User-agent: *

Sitemap: https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml
# ---------------------------

User-agent: GPTBot
Disallow: /

Advanced Methods

If you’re an advanced user, several more methods exist for blocking ChatGPT bot crawling.

.htaccess File

If your site is on an Apache server, use the .htaccess file like this:

# Check the User-Agent string for "ChatGPT"
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent "ChatGPT" bad_bot

# Set the order of processing to Allow, then Deny
Order Allow,Deny

# Allow access to all user agents
Allow from all

# Deny access to user agents flagged as "bad_bot"
Deny from env=bad_bot

Nginx Configuration

On Nginx servers, tweak the configuration file like so:

if ($http_user_agent ~* ChatGPT) {
    return 403;

Set Up Firewall Rules

Make rules in your firewall to block or challenge ‘ChatGPT.’ This stops the bot from accessing your site.

Concluding Thoughts

ChatGPT has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in a world ever more reliant on AI-driven communication. While its capabilities are vast, there may be situations where you’d want to limit its access.

The current article is "5.23. Block ChatGPT Bot" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 5.22. Setting Favicon. Next Article: 5.24. Block Google AI Training


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