Fighting WordPress Spam

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Wordpress SpamAnyone that has their own website is certainly aware of how annoying spam can be. One day you might see a big blast, and the next day not so much. Reducing or preventing it can be a major challenge. There are unlimited topics and resources about combating and dealing with it. Sometimes it is obvious, but other times it’s not, and I know some websites are a little more lenient than others when it comes to what they will and will not allow. If your site has a feature that allows visitors or members to post something chances are you will have to deal with it at some point.

I have been battling spam here on this site for a quite a while now. I have spent countless hours researching and testing different anti-spam tips and suggestions. Obviously I would like to block and prevent spam, but I don’t want to block anything legit in the process.

People say use Askimet and you won’t have to worry about it or deal with it anymore. Askimet is pretty decent and it does block and prevent a lot of spam, but it’s not perfect either. It does prevent a small percentage of real comments. So use it and prevent the majority of real spam, and just accept that a few legit comments will get caught in the process.

Using other anti-spam methods might allow the legit comments through that Askimet would have blocked, but in the process I get a bunch that I would rather not have to deal with come through as well. There are quite a few anti-spam plugins and modifications for WordPress, but I haven’t been totally pleased with the results. I still get way more spam than I would like to see.

I have read more topics about preventing WordPress spam than I can count over the past few weeks. Most of them recommend the same plugins or modifications, which in my opinion didn’t help that much. They do work to some extent, just not as well as what I was hoping for or expecting.

I have been testing .htaccess and assorted anti-spam code tweaks while my friend Peter Lee from Computer How To Guide has been testing a lot of WordPress anti-spam plugins. We have managed to reduce some of the spam we receive, but I think we would both like to see a bigger reduction.

I am tempted to turn Askimet back on, but I just can’t bring myself to do so yet. I have a couple more things to test out, but I am starting to lose faith, not to mention my patience with all the spam. I intend to test a few more modifications over the coming weeks, and hopefully I will find something that helps. I am wasting way too much time deleting spam daily. I have much better things that I would rather be spending my time with.

If anyone uses a WordPress anti-spam plugin, code modification, or combination I would love to hear what works for you. Keep in mind I would rather avoid using Askimet if possible.

I did add a modification about 24 hours ago that seems to be helping. However, it is a little early to know for sure yet. It could just be coincidence and I should allow more time before I come to a conclusion. If I continue to see positive results I will pass it along in another post.

About: Jeremy LeSarge - AKA: Ray (209 Posts)

I am the site owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I provide help and tips for Boonex Dolphin on the main part of this website where you will also find an assortment of other resources. Here, on the blog I write about a variety of topics surrounding WordPress, technology, social media/networking, SEO, and webmaster resources.




21 Comments

  1. Reply

    I’m tempted to reactivate WP-SpamFree plugin as this is the only plugin that can reduce the most spam as far as I’m concern. The only downside with this plugin is that for some reasons, some commenters would not be able to submit their comments as a “strange page” shows up after clicking the “Post Comment” button which says it hates spam and tells them to go back and try again 🙁 I’ve sent emails to their support but all to no avail. It seems that they are no longer providing support for this plugin. I hope your test/modification would be a success, can’t wait to see how it will turn out. By the way, thanks for the mention 🙂
    Peter Lee recently posted..Top Smartphone Buying Tips for BeginnersMy Profile

    • Reply

      I looked into WP Spam Free a while back and if I remember right it wasn’t in the WordPress repository. I check the homepage and I recall it saying something about they were no longer providing support. I don’t know that any anti-spam is perfect. Finding one that does a good job is a challenge.

  2. Reply

    Speaking of spam, I remember something that I brought up in one of the online forums I’m in. It’s the fact that there are some comments that contain just a “thank you for the post” in it that would get through while your detailed reply won’t get through the anti-spam engine at all. I guess that proves that those anti-spam stuff aren’t really that perfect as some people thought they would be.

    • Reply

      Each of these anti-spam features and plugins seem to behave a little different. One will block comment A and another will block comment B.

    • Reply

      Your right it’s not easy finding something that does a good job. It seems to be a never ending battle. Just when I think I have a handle on it, they come rolling in again.

    • Reply

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. All the spam I have been getting lately is extremely annoying, and driving me crazy.

        • Reply

          how many non spam comments do they mark as spam.?

          Akisment tend to take a few comments every day on my blog, so if combining them minimize that I just might use gasp also.

          But if you still get comments that they don’t, then you could try a plugin that send a mail to the user thereby getting those also. 😉

  3. Bhing.A

    Reply

    Thanks for this great post. I am planning to transfer one of my blogger blogs to wordpress and this post is giving me additional idea about fighting those annoying spam messages. Hope to hear more updates from you.

  4. Ann

    Reply

    Hi there again.
    We used Askimet, but like you said, it filtered out good comments sometimes too. As hard as we work to build our guest relations, we don’t want to lose even one. So now we just deal with it and try to ignore it.

    • Reply

      I just wish Askimet had more options or settings so you could see the ones that it tosses out. I does block a few genuine real comments, but without it I get a flood of junk.

  5. Harriet

    Reply

    Building on what Gerald said, I also find that I have to check my spam filters constantly to find my worthwhile comments when spam comments like ‘nice site post more stuff pls’ just get through regardless! I welcome all comments but would rather get the nice ones not blocked!

    • Reply

      Sometimes you almost miss real comments when you are going through all the spam. I swear sometimes it is like 1 out of 100, or more that are real or not spam.

  6. Janella

    Reply

    In my opinion, there is no perfect anti-spam plugin. The only way to keep your WordPress site spam-free is to actively moderate the comments you receive. It sounds very time-consuming yet it will give the best results.

    • Reply

      I agree with you. There is no perfect anti-spam plugin. One plugin seems to block one thing and another something else. Moderating each individual comment is the only way, but it sure can be time-consuming and tedious.

  7. abhishek

    Reply

    It’s very obvious that the time you start a blog,spamming will definitely start. Akismet is the best known plugin to prevent the spams til now.I have been using it since a long time and it’s quite effecient

  8. Reply

    I also use Askimet, but I also have plugin that sends a mail to the user telling them that their comment has been approved.
    This lets me catch almost all the spam that Askimet don’t get, due to their fake emails. 😉

    • Reply

      I have read about a few that do some kind of emailing. I haven’t tried any, but I’ll keep that in mind for future testing.

  9. Jean

    Reply

    The fight against spam is never-ending it seems like. Even though big strides have been made in recent years with all sorts of new techniques and mechanisms, they still seem to slip through and fester if not nipped in the bud. I guess until computers are capable of making judgement calls, some spam will continue to get through.

    -Jean

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