There are two editions of Admin Tools: the free of charge Admin Tools Core and the subscription-based Admin Tools Professional. Purchasing a subscription does not convert the Core into the Professional version. You can see which one you have in your site's Plugins page. If you have Admin Tools Core you need to uninstall it, download Admin Tools Professional from our site (you need to be logged in) and install it.
Automatic IP blocking is managed, well, automatically and based on the settings in Admin Tools, Web Application Firewall, Configure WAF, see the options under Auto-Ban. Admin Tools, Web Application Firewall, Auto-IP blocking administration shows you the IP addresses which are currently temporarily banned from accessing your site. The Admin Tools, Web Application Firewall, Auto IP Blocking History shows you the history of these automatic blocks. When a temporary block becomes permanent it is added to Admin Tools, Web Application Firewall, Site IP Blacklist; that's the same place where you can manually add / remove IP addresses to be blocked on your site.
Don't try to interfere with the automatic IP blocking. Let Admin Tools handle it. That's the whole point of it being automatic. The idea is that Admin Tools will not block an IP address right away. First, it will note that this IP address did something potentially malicious; that's the Blocked Requests Log. If the same IP keeps doing potentially malicious things many times within a short period of time they get temporarily blocked i.e. they are added to the Auto IP Blocking Administration list, and they get a record in the Auto IP Blocking History as well. After a while, the record in the Auto IP Blocking Administration list (but NOT in the Auto IP Blocking History!) will be removed automatically, therefore they can access the site again. If the same behaviour continues they get their IP temporarily auto-banned again, i.e. a new record in both the Auto IP Blocking Administration list and the Auto IP Blocking History. If they keep getting temporarily IP banned i.e. they have too many Auto IP Blocking History records in short period of time the IP gets permanently blocked, i.e. it's added to the Site IP Blacklist. They will never be removed automatically from there; you will have to either do it yourself on that page, or use the Unblock An IP feature.
There is a very good reason for IP blocking to work this way, and why we tell you not to interfere. Remember, some of the Blocked Request Log entries (and, inevitably, some of the Auto IP Blocking Administration records) will be false positives, i.e. people who messed up and got their IP address blocked without actually being malicious. These will get temporarily blocked, but ultimately they will regain access to the site. Malicious bots and malicious actors, on the other hand, tend to do naughty things very fast (since they are trying to hack sites in bulk); they will therefore trigger the automatic permanent block and will thus not bother you again.
If you start freaking out and block every IP you see in the Auto IP Blocking Administration or, worse, in the Blocked Request Log you will end up blocking legitimate users who merely got confused.
I know it sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but that's how all automatic IP blocking works. Your web host probably does something similar with mod_security2 on their Apache web server blocking potentially malicious requests and something like fail2ban analysing the logs of which IPs got blocked to determine temporary and permanent IP bans. You don't double guess this mostly because you don't even know it's there. You should the same with Admin Tools; trust it to do its job.
Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos
Lead Developer and Director
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