If you have been on the Internet for any period of time, you are familiar with spam, the unsolicited, unwanted, and often malicious messages in email and other places. For those of us using WordPress, spam is most often seen in the comments section of our blog. Spammers, in an attempt to raise their page rank as high as possible, will add links to comments to thousands of blogs, providing a poor user experience and giving your site a unmaintained, unprofessional look.
One way to prevent spam is to disable comments, but is not always an option and moderating every single comment that comes in can be time consuming. There are things you can do to make the overall process to protect your site and keep maintenance to a minimum.
In this article we will discuss how you can use both the WordPress features and plugins to remove and prevent spam in your comments.
METHODS TO COMBAT COMMENT SPAM
There are a variety of methods you can use to help prevent, block, or avoid comment spam on your site, even if you are unable to block comments entirely. This section reviews each method and why it is useful.
Disallow Posts from Anonymous Sources
On the most basic level requiring a commenter to provide a username and email address will curb many spammer bots. You can configure this in your WordPress Admin Dashboard’s Discussion Settings page located at Settings > Discussion under “Other comment Settings”
The Discussion Settings page also offers a section where spam comments can be detained for moderation or outright blocked based on content and/IP address. If you’re getting the same type of spam, listing common keywords, IP addresses, or URLs (one per line) is a good option.
The Akismet plugin comes with every install of WordPress and is designed to compare comments on your blog against their database for spam and allow you to review them. You will need the Akismet API code, which is free for personal blogs, and a subscription option available for businesses. It provides additional features such as status history, a tally that tells you how many approved comments a certain user has, and direct blocking if they have been moderated a certain number of times.
You will have to do some review work to ensure that Akismet is blocking the correct things (it has a ‘not spam’ feature).
These tools, plus taking the time to monitor, are your best defense against comment spam. Every site is different; and the needs of your site have to be balanced with the method the spammers are using. Figuring this out will take some research and patience; so be sure to review your site and determine which will be more effective for you.
Use a Captcha
Using a Captcha form for comments is extremely useful in deterring any comments from non-Human visitors to your site. It requires the user to translate garbled text correctly in order for the comment to actually post to the site, which is something bots or spam engines would be unable to do. There are a variety of Captcha plugins available to use, so pick whichever one you’d like (just do a quick check to ensure it’s not a “disallowed plugin” here first).