One of the most exciting moments for a client after you get their WordPress site up and running is watching as it starts to pick up traffic.
But as traffic increases, next comes the less exciting part: spam, and lots of it that starts flooding the dashboard and inbox. Since most of those spam comments are sent by automated spam bots, you know they won’t stop anytime soon.
Sure, you can choose to ignore it and not moderate comments, in which case, if they’re all published without requiring your approval first, your pages will be filled with tons of irrelevant content. And since Google hates spammy content, that can hurt your SEO efforts.
There’s also the option of manually moderating every single comment to determine which one’s spam and which one’s legit. But who has that kind of time? Not you, and not your clients.
The best, most effective, time-saving option? An anti-spam WordPress plug-in that’ll keep your site clean and send spam comments where they belong – in the spam folder, never to see the light of day.
In this post we’ll look at four of the most popular anti-spam WordPress plug-ins that you can use to help ward off those pesky spam comments.
Developed by Automattic, a company heavily involved with WordPress, Akismet is one of the most popular and effective WordPress anti-spam plug-ins.
You’ll need to install and activate it using an API key, which can be obtained by registering for the service. Once it’s activated, Akismet will start to upload all incoming comments to its cloud servers where its algorithms evaluate the validity of each comment.
Genuine comments are then published on the site, while spam comments get sent to the spam folder. In case Akismet gets stuck and can’t decide on the validity of a specific comment, it simply moves it to the moderation queue so you can review it yourself.
Another great thing about it is that it integrates with the Jetpack and Contact Form 7 plug-in.
The plug-in is free for personal and non-commercial use with a limit of 50,000 comment checks per month. For large commercial sites and more comment checks, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
The next best choice after Akismet is AntiSpam by Cleantalk. The plug-in operates in a similar manner to Akismet, using a cloud-based system to evaluate and block spam comments, spam bot signups and trackbacks. You even have the option to create blacklists that will block requests from certain locations, IP addresses, emails and more.
This is a premium anti-spam solution that not only monitors spam comments but also registrations across any area of a site where spam can seep through, like comments, contact forms, registration pages, checkout pages, surveys and polls, newsletter subscription forms, and more.
Antispam is also compatible with a long list of third-party plug-ins, including Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, MailChimp, Formidable forms, WooCommerce, JetPack comments and contact form, BuddyPress, bbPress, Fast Secure Contact form, S2Member, MailPoet, and more.
You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, after which you’ll need to sign up for a commercial license.
Antispam Bee is free (and ad-free!) for both personal and commercial use. In addition, unlike Akismet, it doesn’t require registration to be able to use it.
However, it’s obviously not as advanced as Akismet or AntiSpam, which uses cloud-powered spam detection algorithms to stop spam. Antispam Bee, on the other hand, relies on the public spam database to detect spam.
It validates the IP address of commenters, searches local spam database for commenters previously marked as spammer, matches comments against a public spam database. Also, it trusts commenters with Gravatar as being genuine commenters and not spammers.
Every few days, it deletes all existing spam comments to prevent the WordPress site from slowing down.
Stop Spammers is an anti-spam WordPress plug-in with over 20 different checks for spam comments. The plug-in also prevents login page spam and provides over 12 pages of options for heavy user optimisation.
When spam is detected, users are offered a second change to post their comments or to login. They are presented with a CAPTCHA challenge which they’ll need to solve to move to the next step. The CAPTCHA can be configured as OpenCaptcha, Google reCAPTCHA or SolveMedia CAPTCHA.
Now, since the plug-in uses multiple methods for detecting spam, developers warn that it may be too aggressive for some websites. So test it out to determine if it’s the right solution for you or your client.
So there you have it: four of the most popular and effective anti-spam plug-ins to keep any website or blog clean. Which ones have you already tried so far? Any others you’d recommend using? Let us know in the comments section below.