WordPress comments spam have been the bane of bloggers since the Internet began. It is impossible to completely eradicate this problem, however you can deter many spammers from targeting your website in the first place. The internal settings on WordPress can be configured to block unwanted comments, and various plugins are available that provide protection that is more extensive where necessary.
Due to the large number of anti spam plugins on the market, it can be difficult to find the right one for your website. Therefore, you should clarify your requirements before searching for a plugin. The best techniques for preventing spam vary, depending on whether you own a high traffic or low traffic blog.
Tackling WordPress Comment Spam on low Traffic Blogs
If your blog is relatively new and does not have many readers, you can combat spam comments using the discussion settings in WordPress. With these settings, you can select the option to send every blog comment for moderation, prior to being published. This way, you can approve or delete the comments as appropriate. Alternatively, you can opt to have comments containing links exclusively queued for moderation, before being posted. On a low traffic site, you will not get many comments, so it is a simple matter to moderate everything manually. In this situation, you will probably not have to use any additional plugins to supplement the anti spam settings in WordPress.
Configuring WordPress to Block Spammers
In your WordPress back office, go to ‘Settings’ and click on ‘Discussion’. Here, all the options are displayed for protecting blog posts from spam. The default setting on WordPress is to allow readers to comment on blogs.
Under ‘Other Comment Settings’, it is possible to force readers to type in their name and email address before commenting. In addition, you can opt to disable comments automatically, after a particular period. This is not a default setting though, so you will need to manually select this option. Obviously, the longer you keep comments open, the more chance you have of being spammed. You can put these settings to further use, by making a list of words that often appear in spam comments, in the box marked ‘Comment Blacklist’. Any comments featuring these specified words will be categorized as spam automatically.
How to Deal With WordPress Comment Spam on High Traffic Blogs
If your blog gets hundreds or thousands of visitors each day, and a large number of comments, the anti spam settings on WordPress will not be sufficient to combat spammers. In this situation, it is too impractical to attempt to moderate every comment manually. Here, you will have to use an anti spam plugin to tackle the problem.
WordPress Plugins to Prevent Spam
WordPress is well known for its’ wide range of anti spam plugins. You don’t even need to log out of your WordPress back office to install these plugins. Instead, you can search for them and download them straight from the platform. Here are a couple of the more popular options:
This plugin has gained huge popularity among users of WordPress. It flags suspicious comments and sends them to a spam folder. In addition, it can block these comments, if you wish it to do so. The plugin can show you the history of all spam comments, along with comments that have been approved for publication. If any comments contain hidden URLs, these will be revealed to you as well. This plugin is free of charge for individual use, however a charge is applicable if it is used for commercial purposes.
This plugin consists of a range of anti spam tools and filters. The filters enable you to make the criteria stricter for comment approval. For instance, you could flag any comments as spam, if they contain BB code. You can apply further filters too, such as limiting comments to particular languages, or preventing comments from certain countries. This plugin also enables you to clear your spam database after a specified time. Spam blocking statistics can be shown on the dashboard as well.
Clean Talk is an extreemly versatile spam protection wordpress plugin. It has a capability of tackling multiple types of spam in any wordpress website. It also has one of the best compatibility with plugins such as BuddyPress, bbPress, WishList Memeber, WooCommerce, Contact Form 7 and Formidable Forms. Once you install the CleanTalk Anti Comment Spam plugin, you will be prompted for Access Key to enable it. You can get Access key for the 14 day trial period at no cost, but you will have to pay $8 per year for using it thereafter. At WPUP we chose CleanTalk and is one of the best $8 investments, we ever did.
At the best of times, dealing with WordPress comments spam is a challenge for all webmasters, particularly those with high traffic blogs. Forcing visitors to log into your site or fill in CAPTCHA forms before commenting may deter them from engaging with your site. This is why anti spam plugins are the ideal solution. The best way to choose a plugin is to evaluate your needs, then download one with suitable features. Always remember though, before you install a plugin of any type, check that it will not greatly reduce the loading speed of your website.