referral spam is a nasty nuisance. But that’s really all it is – a nuisance. It’s not a virus or any form of malicious program that trying to make your life a living nightmare. All it’s after is your attention, if we might put it that way. In this article we will explain to you everything you need to know about this form of referral spam and will tell you what your best shot at protecting your website from it is. In addition, at the end of the article we have also compiled a removal guide to help you effectively deal with the problem at hand and block it once and for all. What to expect belongs to a sub-type of referral spam known as ghost spam. It’s something that exists purely with the intention of benefiting certain websites by employing dirty tricks to boost their ranking and popularity. It won’t harm you or the other websites it targets, but it will try to use you and in doing so it might cause a little bit of a mess in your GA stats, as we’re sure you’ve already come to notice. However, let’s first explain how things came to be this way.

Initially, there referral spam came in a bit of a different shape than It’s essentially now considered a subtype or the predecessor of ghost spam and is referred to as classic referral spam. What it used to do is send bots and/or crawlers over to targeted websites. This would register on those websites as traffic and the owners would naturally see this. The thing about these visits, however, was that there were always several of them and they never lasted long. In fact, they almost always had near 100% bounce rate. So, what was the point of this, you ask. That is exactly what the targeted website owners would ask themselves and a lot of them would try to get an answer to that question by clicking on the website responsible for the short-lived visits. And at that point the spammers would have achieved what they set out to do in the first place. They will have generated traffic for their website at your expense. So, very soon, Google was able to chomp down on the bots and crawler practice, thus almost completely annihilating it.

And that’s where ghost spam like comes in. Unable to employ the use of bots/crawlers anymore, the spammers quickly realized that they didn’t need to. Instead, they took the Google Analytics statistics of the targeted websites and messed with those instead. As a result, you and other victims would check your stats to see the same picture: views from some seemingly random website with no session time. Again, the goal is for you to check the visitor out. And just like with classic referral spam, this would be generating traffic for that other website. Done!

Now, it’s important not to panic in these situations and start applying some strange solutions in a desperate attempt to shake the spammers off like a bad case of flees. By that we are actually referring to a specific tool that many spam victims resort to – the Referral Exclusion list. If there is anything you could possibly do to make your situation a whole lot more worse, that would be counting on the Referral Exclusion list to help you. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great tool, but it’s not meant to deal with issues like And if you do try to use it for this purpose, GA will have to follow up on your spam report to check out those visits. Guess what? No visits were found, hence no spam. And then thing take a turn for the terrifying, when these visits start being counted as real traffic and now you have to pay for them as well. Our sincerest advice to you is to stay as far away from this possibility as possible. There is an effective and simple solution just below this paragraph, which you may use without further worsening your day. And another piece of friendly advice from us would be to think about changing your hosting. Cheap hosting usually offers cheap quality and that includes the spam filters that it provides for your website. Investing a little more in hosting will go a longer way, because in effect it will just offer better protection for you and your site.

Block in Google Analytics

Instruction #1: Enter your Analytics account.
After that load Admin and then – All Filters.

Instruction #2: After that, hit New Filter.
Next, add in the Filter Name value.

Instruction #3. Choose the Custom Filter Type. 
Once you see the Filter Field, go with Campaign Source.
Next, when you see the Filter Pattern text box, enter Confirm by clicking  the Save button you will see at the bottom.

How to block referrer spam using your .htaccess file

If you are aware of a way to access your .htaccess file, you will just have to write the  code below in there:


RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER}

RewriteRule .* – [F]

In case you are not aware of a way to access it, follow these instructions:

Access your cPanel account,
the go to File Manager.
After that you should mark the check-box ‘Document Root for’.
Then go to your webpage.
Another important tip: choose ‘Show hidden Files’.
After that select Go. 
Look for the .htacess file.

Once you find it,  rightclick it.
From the options that appear, select Code Edit.
Enter the code above and Save Changes. 

Hopefully, we have been helpful! Tell us in the comment section. We will be glad to read what your opinion is!