Tag Archives: fight spam comments

How to fight spam in WordPress comments?

Stop spam in WordPress comments

This post today tries to find out all the possible options one can have to fight spam or have anti spam techniques on their blog for WordPress comments.

There are many ways and time and again people have talked about this. But we are today trying to explore all those options and whatever option works best for you, you should select that one.

Few viable options to fight WordPress spam are:

According to me, the biggest WordPress fact is that you need a bulk of different plugins to control comment spam. as you know that spamming comments is a big problem whereas you are not prepared to deal with them properly.

The listed below plugins will help you to save your lots of time and will eliminate comment spam from your website. The main target of these spam comments is to get ranked in the search engines. Sadly if you click the spam comments they will get a hit on there comment and they will be ranked on search engines quickly.

All comment spam is not submitted by bots. Actually, many of comment spam is submitted by humans. If you are not taking care of these types of spam comments, your website will pretend like spam and low-quality website.

It is a fact that WordPress is strong enough that it has inbuilt functionality of anti-spam function. lets see some tips for avoiding spam comments through your WordPress site.

1. Turn on comment moderation in WordPress :
This solution is recommended for business purpose websites like a law firm, accounting, co-operation website, etc. This will make sure that no comments will be published on your website without your permission

2. Remove site URL Field from Comment Form :
The URL field in the comment form force not only spammers but also ask people who dint have an interest in the discussion. You simply need to add a code to your WordPress themes function.php file or a site-specific plugin.

3. Disable Comments on Media Attachments :
WordPress itself build image attachment pages where user can attach some images and picture and can leave a comment on it. The easiest way to disable this type of comment is that you need to install a disable comment plugin>>then go to setting>>disable comments>>check the box of media option and save the changes.

4. Disable HTML in Comments :
Another way to stop spam comments is to disable HTML comment. You just need to add code to your WordPress theme’s function.php file or a site-specific plugin.

5. Minimum and Maximum Comment Length :
Best way to avoid spamming comment is using Yoast comment hacks plugin. Which allows you to set minimum and maximum comment length.
You just need to install Yoast comment hacks plugin and set minimum comment length. this will allow a user to leave the specific length comment.

6. Disable Trackbacks in WordPress :
The main reason for spam in WordPress is trackback. It is not essential to have trackbacks enabled. You can disable trackbacks on your whole blog or particular blog post. This is the easiest way to avoid spam comments.
Go to settings>>discussion>>turn off Trackbacks.

7. Turn off Comments on Old Posts :
WordPress gives you access to the turn of the old post if you don’t want to show it after some days. It is very simple to disable the old posts.
Go to settings>>discussion>>other comment settings>>click on “Automatically close comments on articles older than”>>enter the number of days you want to show the comment.

8. Switch Off Comments :
Suppose you don’t want any more comment on your WordPress site, remember that you can switch off comment section in the WordPress website.
Just go to setting>>discussion>>uncheck the box “Allow people to post comments on new articles”.
Now your comments block will be disabled and no user will not able to comment on your post

9. Via Code:
Yes i know it sounds bad for people who don’t want to do coding and hence the reason they use WordPress. But i am not going to share loads of codes here but share a few tips which might be useful to add into your WordPress site and fight spam.

a. Deny Access to Spammer IPs:
Spammer ips are the ones via which you keep on finding one of the other comment ending up into your comments area. You can simply take a note of these ips and add them in .htaccess like this

Order allow,deny

Deny from 123.123.123.123

Deny from 156.156.156.0/24

Deny from 189.189.0.0/16

Allow from all

This is just one technique. There are several other techniques of denying access to no referrer and  Denying access to referrer spammers mentioned in this article here: http://codex.WordPress.org/Combating_Comment_Spam/Denying_Access

10. Disabling and modifying a few settings:
Disabling and modifying a few settings from within WordPress is quite essential. For example trackbacks and pingbacks which seemed such a nice feature in 2010 has been a cause of worry for many in 2013. And with more SEO updates from Google Algorithm it is recommended that one may disable trackbacks and pingbacks on their blog which seems to carry more of spam lately than do any good to a blog.

Also one may disable commenting on older posts i.e. posts older than 30 or 60 days can be made to not receive any further comments by tweaking a setting in WordPress discussion settings.

Lastly one may also check the box where it says previously approved commenter will only get auto approval of comments and others will continue to be moderated.

11. Plugins:

a. Akismet
Akismet is a product by the creator or WordPress i.e. Automattic. It serves most blogs purpose and is free to use for personal blog sites and costs $5 per month for personal or business websites. People who want to use it for multiple sites more than 10 can opt for enterprise plan of $50 per month.

Akismet solves for most of the part blocks spam comments and human spammed comments often are noted as spam and kept in spam folder. However it has been debated quite often than Akismet fails on more than 1 count where it fails to detect a human spam comment. Well to fight this you can continue to keep all comments in moderation and only handpick the ones which you think are legitimate.

Akismet blog claims to fight a lot of spam in 2013 and shows some trends in here: http://blog.akismet.com/2013/08/02/high-levels-of-spam-continue/

b. Captcha plugins

 i. SI Anti Captcha
SI Anti Captcha is a simple captcha technique which can be used as an extra feature along with Akismet to fight spam. This requires visitors to fill the anti spam captcha code which serves as an additional security after you apply Akismet. This also comes handy for blogs or sites which use registration, and login.

ii. WP re-Captcha
WP re-Captcha uses google re-Captcha and needs to register or re-Captcha and generate API Key to take advantage and use of re-Captcha. If it works for you re-Captcha uses additional captcha texts and more methods and is currently the best way to fight spam commenting using Captcha technique. With its recent updates re-Captcha has grown more stronger adding text with visual numbers which are difficult to crack by spam bots.

iii. Math Captcha
Math captcha comes handy for those who have lesser traffic and lesser spam by bots on blogs. It places a very simple math captcha at the end of commenting form which adds a simple security layer for fighting spam.

c. Anti Spam by CleanTalk
This is one intelligent way to stop spam comments as well as block spam emails using contact form 7. Anti spam by CleanTalk uses intelligent techniques to detect spam and even blacklists as IP who is continuously spamming on your website. It doesn’t present any sort of captcha or questions or counting animals or puzzles or maths but detects the user submission first time. If seconds time coming from the same ip user submits spam they get blocked or banned depending on the type of spam.

d. Spam Free WordPress
Spam Free WordPress provides spam bot protection in WordPress comments.

e. Stop Spam Comments
Stop spam comments stops users using javascript to spam comments onto your site. However this used alone can’t be an effective way to stop spam and can be used with akismet.

  1. f. AVH First Defence Against Spam

AVH First Defence Against Spam uses the project honey pot, stop forum spam ip and comment check and spamhaus ip check to deliver you a spam free comment. Whereby it sounds very interesting but sometimes the plugin causes comments to be slower with so many checks applied. The plugin author however recommends his plugin to be used along with Akismet to get the optimum performance out of this.

g. Using other commenting plugins which have anti spam mechanism

i. Livefyre
Livefyre uses social media accounts to validate an user and hence this becomes a legitimate way to prove that someone is human and not a spam bot filling up your comment. However Livefyre can’t protect your blog from human bots.

 ii. Disqus
Disqus commenting uses its own anti spam software and with each moderation or marking comment as spam it intelligently gathers data and reduces more spams. Also it has blacklist and whitelist techniques by which you can block certain users whom you think spread spam.

Disqus as with Livefyre uses social media accounts resulting in lesser spam. But yes this also can’t seem to block human spammers until moderator or admin blocks them manually first time.

iii. Comment Luv
CommentLuv is another unique commenting method whereby you can force users to not use keywords in Name and rather use their twitter handles. Also it shares the last blog post of a website thereby backlinking the comment owner as well. CommentLuv looks quite promising and CommentLuv Pro has even more features to block and fight spam. It is also a way to generate more traffic into your blog since more users will get to know your blog via commentluv as well.

However CommentLuv is another tool which has been abused by spammers for sharing their newly created blog posts or blog sites.

Here is one such story where an user shares why they removed Comment Luv from their website:

http://www.velvetblues.com/web-development-blog/why-we-removed-commentluv-from-our-blog/

h. Using security plugins

i. Bulletproof
Bulletproof security uses some techniques and codes to block spam comments. Even though it is a security plugin which uses many techniques to secure your website from hacking attempts it also comes handy for blocking spam comments. Even though we prefer better wp security over it but this plugin also has its own fans.

ii. Better WP Security
Better WP Security was recently acquired by iThemes. Better WP Security is one plugin which allows you to tweak a lot of settings which ultimately reduces spam from all quarters. So be it email, comments or even brute force attacks this plugin takes care of all security aspects of your WordPress. If you have a smaller website which doesn’t need much settings and isn’t that custom made you can surely use this plugin which won’t cause any conflicts but will make your WordPress security even tighter. Please note for tweaks where it mentions may cause plugin conflict. Avoid using them if you see any conflict.