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[FAQ] "Unusual traffic" blocks searching or requires reCAPTCHA 0 Recommended Answers 0 Replies 340 Upvotes
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Please understand that this is a user Community. While there’s nothing we can do here to fix the issue, the Help Center article and the following notes will explain what to look for when troubleshooting.
 
Please read the Help Center article on this subject, for an explanation and troubleshooting steps: "Unusual traffic from your computer network"
 
The “Unusual traffic” page appears when Google automatically detects requests coming from your computer network which appear to be in violation of the Terms of Service. The block will expire shortly after those requests stop. Sometimes you may be shown a reCAPTCHA image — solving it will let you continue to use Google services.
 
What Google considers automated traffic:
  • Sending searches from a robot, computer program, automated service, or search scraper
  • Using software that sends searches to Google to see how a website or webpage ranks on Google
  • Using an app, program or script to perform a large number of searches in a short time
This traffic may have been sent intentionally using a browser plug-in or a script/program that sends automated requests, or by malicious software. If you share your network connection, ask your network administrator for help — a different computer using the same IP address may be responsible.
 
Sometimes the “Unusual traffic” message can be triggered if you are using advanced terms that robots are known to use, or sending requests very quickly.
 
Read through these notes, which give a bit more detail about what to look for:
  • The issue is related to the network you’re connected to, not necessarily the single computer or phone you're using to search. Google is simply seeing a large volume of traffic coming from a single IP address.
  • If your computer or phone is free of malware and you aren't engaged in high volume search activity, another computer or phone connected through the same network might be to blame. Even a large number of devices on a network using Google Search at the same time could trigger the message.
  • What Google sees as a “network” (i.e., a single IP address) could be anything from a single device to a large network such as a VPN or proxy server. Google has no way of knowing how many devices are sharing the same public IP address.
  • Because the number of global IPv4 addresses is virtually exhausted, many Internet Service Providers assign the same IP address for a number of customers, using their own equipment to keep track of each customer's internet traffic (much like your home modem/router keeps track of traffic for each device connected to it).
  • You need to report the issue to your "network administrator". This could be the person who looks after your home or work network, the organization whose public network you're connected to, or the company who provides your home or work internet connection (your "ISP").
  • A “network administrator” is in a position to investigate the cause of such issues and take appropriate action, such as tracking the issue back to a single computer, or switching your connection to a different IP address.
  • If you’re using a home internet connection and your internet service provider allocates your IP address dynamically, the solution might be as simple as rebooting your modem to get a different IP address.
  • Blocking could be related to usage of a VPN browser plugin, or program. Try disabling the VPN and see if that helps. When the abuse hitting Google's network stops, Google automatically stops blocking the IP(s)/ISP(s) that were sending the bad traffic.
 
In short, if you're satisfied you've done everything within your control to ensure that the unusual traffic doesn't originate within your own device(s) or network, the next step is to contact your Internet Service Provider.
 
Additional notes for Network Administrators
 
A reCAPTCHA may appear for network users when Google automatically detects requests coming from a computer network which appear to be in violation of the Terms of Service. The block will expire shortly after those requests stop. In the meantime, solving the reCAPTCHA will let a user continue to use Google services by setting a browser cookie (if a user continues to receive the CAPTCHA page, clearing cookies may help).
 
Sometimes users may be asked to solve the reCAPTCHA if they are using advanced terms that robots are known to use, or sending requests very quickly.
 
Use of VPN programs or plug-ins may also be to blame.
 
It is suggested that you check that proxy servers or group policies have not been set to re-write the google search URL using an older string. Try turning off any URL re-writing and see if this helps.
 
Just one single "rogue" device on a network is sufficient to trigger the reCAPTCHA for the whole network, so you'll need to monitor the network traffic to identify which device may be the source of the unusual traffic. Of particular concern would be privately owned devices, if
they’re permitted to connect to the network, but whose software is not managed by the network administrator.
 
Can Google help me identify the problem?
 
Google will not provide assistance for individual cases, nor will they provide any specific information about traffic thresholds or other factors related to their detection algorithm. Also, there's nothing further we can do to help in this user Community.
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