A WordPress website works wonders for putting your content out there for the world to see. But every blogger, website moderator and small business owner who gets started with a WordPress website quickly realizes that spam is quite possibly the worst thing in the world. That’s why you need WordPress plugins for anti spam protection.
It seems like spam comes from every direction when you run a website. You start to feel good about yourself too, because users are starting to comment on your stuff, but then you only realize it’s coming from bots who have no interest in looking at your content.
You could always just forget about the spam comments or the fake users who sign up on your site, but this will eventually slow down your site and make you frustrated when the spam emails become overwhelming as you build up more content. Let’s take a look at some of the easier-to-use anti spam protection WordPress plugins to keep out those bad bots in the comments and during registration.
If you were to choose a single WordPress plugin to manage your spam, Akismet is the option to shoot for. I’ve noticed in the past that some of my WordPress installs already come equipped with Akismet, so it’s backed up by lots of developers. In a nutshell, Akismet looks at all the comments that come through your site to see if they look like spam or not. It’s the closest thing to a human screening of all the comments that come in, because it has its own database of particular terms, IP addresses, and comment history to see if a particular person or bot is simply just a spammer.
The thing I like most about Akismet is that they tell you every single comment that was flagged as spam. You can see this clearly through the WordPress dashboard, making it easy to turn a comment back into a legitimate comment if the system made a mistake.
Most people use Akismet as a simple screener as opposed to just having it delete all the comments that come in that look suspicious. But when spam is extreme enough to discard, Akismet saves your disk space by deleting it outright.
According to the Stop Spammers description they use “many methods” to test which users and comments are actually spam or legitimate. This was a little vague in my opinion and I hadn’t used the plugin before, but one of my blogger friends always talked about it. Therefore I had to follow his wishes and try it out for myself.
It actually runs quite well, since it works on spam comments, registrations, and logins, beating out most of the other spam moderation plugins for WordPress. What’s in this slick little plugin? It has a unique system that leaves around “honeypots,” or fake forms so that bots leave spam comments on these forms instead of posting on your comments section or elsewhere on the site.
What does this mean for your site? Your regular users don’t have to work around these weird hidden forms. You won’t have as much spam on the site. Plus, your users won’t have to see these junky spam comments since they are hidden.
WangGuard is a plugin that focuses primarily on spammers who are trying to register and become users on your site. It doesn’t do anything for your comment spam, but this is still one of the best for keeping out unwanted visitors. The key feature with this plugin is that it doesn’t only block the spammers, but it cleans your database of these spammers afterwards, so you don’t have to worry about it slowing down your site or doing these cleanings manually.
WP-reCAPTCHA is the most recognizable WordPress plugin for spam because it is, or used to be on tons of websites, and Google bought the plugin a while back. The reason this system became so popular is because it uses Optical Character Recognition, so the spam bots can’t randomly predict a generated sequence of numbers or letters by the system.
It’s one of the most secure ways to protect your website and it truly is a revolutionary way to fight off spammer registrations.
Disqus primarily focuses on fighting off comment spam, because it completely replaces your default comment system on your site. Why is this better? Since Disqus is a community of people who network with each other and find new content to talk about through these different comment logs, the company is diligent with keeping the spam to a minimum. You also have to login with a particular account, so spam bots have trouble navigating through this different login section.
I haven’t received a single spam comment on my Disqus feed since installing it on my site about six months ago.
WP-Ban is for those who want to completely get rid of the repeat offenders on their site. It tracks the IP addresses of the bots and people who take several attempts to hack your site. You can set how many attempts you want until someone is completely banned from the site. There are several ways that the plugin monitors the spam that comes in. It checks the referrer URL, IP Range and even the host name in the comments. It also monitors the registered users that come to the site.
This is more of an automation tool, so if you prefer seeing the comments and users that come in through your site then you would be better off using another plugin. The WP-Ban plugin does list out all the people who are banned from your site, but it’s not as transparent as other options I have played around with in the past.
Most people use the Facebook Comments plugins because they are a pain in the butt to install on your website without it. The primary reason people want the default Facebook comments on their website is not entirely to keep spam at a minimum, but to send their content out to a larger network of people. This network is obviously Facebook, where if one person comments on my blog post, all of their friends also see the comment. This obviously brings more exposure to the site, which is a significant benefit.
However, this is not an exposure post, it’s about keeping spam at a minimum, so what’s the deal? The plugins I have outlined above are designed to moderate and handle the spam that comes through your website in the WordPress dashboard. But this plugin does no such thing. Since there are so many other similar spam management plugins on the market there is no reason to add another one to this list.
Rather, I wanted to give you this plugin so that you could have a complete alternative for your comments system. Facebook does get spam on occasion, but it’s quite easy to get rid of and it’s not even close to the loads of spam that start to accumulate after you setup a WordPress site. Facebook Comments is a complete replacement for your comments system, similar to Disqus, and it makes your site so that you rarely have to worry about the comment or registration spam that comes in. In short, you get to forget about it all together.
There are plenty of options to choose from for spam protection, but keep in mind that you want to refrain from weighing down your WordPress site with too many plugins. Plugins are one of the main reasons people use the powerful interface, but you should only stick with one of the spam moderators on this list to ensure your site runs smoothly.
Now, over to you. Do you have any questions about these WP plugins for anti spam protection? Do you use any of them? Prefer one that didn’t make the cut? I’d love to hear your thoughts!