WordPress comment spam is the bane of any self-hosted WordPress site owner. For people not used to WordPress, it can be quite overwhelming.
It can appear that there is a whole spam comment army all aiming for your blog.
Is this a reason not to build a website with WordPress?
Of course not! It’s just a case of taking control of your comments and fighting back.
WordPress comment spam in the real world…
It’s easy to forget that there are real people sat behind the screen thumping their heads on the keyboard trying to get to grips with the spam issue.
I had this question in my mail recently…
“I have been getting junk emails everyday from people commenting on my “hello world” post on my website. Im not sure what some of the comments are even going on about half the time. Is this normal to get these emails off everyone commenting?”
In this case, there are a few issues to address.
Receiving emails for each comment
You can control email comment settings in your dashboard discussion settings. You can choose to receive email when people comment and when comments are held for moderation.
You can also turn comments off, although I wouldn’t advise this on your blog. One of the benefits of blogging for business is to encourage interaction and feedback.
Stopping WordPress comment spam
Spam comments are often created by people who use auto-posting techniques. The aim is to build as many links as possible back to their website in the hope of higher Google rankings. Spammy link building like this is something Google are starting to clamp down on. It will probably be a while before they win the spam war though!
5 simple ways to protect your WordPress website from spam comments
- Activate Akismet. The Akismet plugin comes pre-installed on WordPress. You do need to register and get an api code. Don’t neglect this stage! After activating Akismet, you will no longer receive emails about comments it assigns spam status.
There are other plugins available to protect against spam.
- Moderate your comments. Do this in your Discussion settings. Personally, I choose to only hold the first comment for moderation. This means I do need to be careful whom I approve. Once approved, subsequent comments by the same person will automatically appear.
- Don’t manually approve comments without thinking, especially from the spam folder. You may think that any comments are better than no comments, but really they’re not. Once approved you open the floodgates to even more comment spam. Read this post about how to recognise if a comment is spam.
- Turn comments off on your pages. Each post and page can individually be set to comments on or off. I would recommend turning comments off on your pages as you create them. Turn them off from your page overview and click quick edit.
- Hold comments with links for moderation. Some spammers try to load their comments with extra links. The initial comment may pass a spam filter, so as a backup hold any comments that contain extra links. Do this in your Discussion settings.
Using capture to stop WordPress comment spam
One of the options to help stop spam comments is to use capture forms. Using word recognition captures to prevent WordPress comment spam is ineffective. It doesn’t solve the problem because most spam comments are auto-posted. People who use these techniques often invest in capture breakers too.
Captures are often hard to read, making it difficult for regular people who want to comment on your blog. I’d rather review my spam comments than put another block infront of real commenters, wouldn’t you?
Over to you…
Do you have problems with WordPress comment spam? What WordPress plugins do you use to protect your blog?