Getting comment spam is one of the issues you will face as your blog becomes more popular. You’ll get comments that link to all sorts of sites. Don’t get surprised at some of the topics! You will also get trackbacks from other spam sites giving you the impression that they’re linking to your website. They are not linking to your site. They just want the approval so they can get a link on your comment section to hopefully direct people to their site.
This article will give you tips on how to combat comment spam using WordPress plugins and other tools available. This will allow you to save time in manually going over every comment your website receives.
1. Turn on Akismet
This is one of the most valuable WordPress plugins available, and you don’t need to download it as it is already included in all WordPress installations. The only thing you need to do is to turn it on and get an API key. This plugin does a pretty great job of catching spam comments.
2. Set your comment links to Nofollow
One of the reasons why spammers love your website is if your site has do-follow links in the comments. You can prevent comment spam by making sure all comment links are set to no follow.
3. Blacklist your spammers.
With WordPress, you can blacklist your spammers through their email addresses, name, URL, or their IP address. All you need to do is to go Settings, then Discussion tab, and then enter any of the information above. When you’re not sure a person who left you a comment is a spammer, you can approve their comment. But in case you’re in doubt, check out the box right above the blacklist box; it’s called comment moderation. You can put in that person’s name, IP address, URL, email or other info for that person and all future comments of that person will be moderated before it is published. You can also set how many links will be allowed for the comments. For instance, if you set the number of URLs to just 2, then all comments with links to more than 2 URLs will automatically be deleted.
Important: Be careful when adding people to your blacklist, because every future comment you receive that contains every word, IP address, or any other value that you enter will instantly be deleted.
4. Captcha for WordPress
There’s a WordPress plugin called SI CAPTCHA for WordPress that generates random images before users can submit their comments in your website. Your users need to enter the image correctly in order for their comment to be submitted. It will definitely help reduce the spam comments you get, but it may annoy your regular (real human) commentators since they will need to do this every time they leave a comment on your site.
5. Simple Trackback Validation
The Simple Trackback Validation Plugin for WordPress tests all your incoming trackbacks to stop trackback spam. What this plugin does is it checks the IP address of the trackback sender, and compares it with the IP address of the webserver that the trackback URL points to. This plugin also retrieves the web page in the URL that’s included with the trackback. If the page does not include a link to your blog or website, then it’s considered as a spam trackback.
6. Disable or Turn Off Trackbacks
You can also just disable trackbacks completely for your entire blog or just certain posts. This is a very easy way to prevent comment spam. What you need to do is to go to Settings in your WordPress admin, go to Discussion, and then you can turn off trackbacks for your entire website.
If you want to turn off trackbacks for just a particular post, you can do this while you’re writing the post or you can edit an existing post. The option to do so is in your posts page.
7. Math Comment Spam Protection
There’s a more user-friendly way of validating whether your users are normal people or just bots who like to spam websites, and this is the Math Comment Spam Protection plugin. You will need to edit the comments.php file to install this plugin. The complete installation details for this plugin can be found in their official website.
8. Bad Behavior
Bad Behavior is kind of like a gatekeeper that prevents spammers from ever leaving comments in your site and sometimes even getting to your site in the first place. This plugin checks not only the content of the comment, but as well as how it was delivered as well as the software the spammer is using. This plugin is ideal for use with another spam moderating plugin like Akismet for the best results.
9. Close Comments on Older WordPress Posts
To avoid spam comments, you should close the comments on your older posts. There are plugins that can help you with this, but WordPress does come with a built-in feature that allows you to close off comments. You can go to Settings, then Discussion, and then check the box. You just need to set the number of days before the comments are automatically closed, and then save the changes you made.
10. Close Comments or User Registration
If the spam comments are getting way out of hand, you can close the comments on your WordPress site for a while, just to drive the spammers away and then you can re-open it. You can also allow comments for users who are registered to your site by checking the appropriate box in the Settings -> Discussion page.
More often than not, a lot of users have the following questions when it comes to spam comments.
Why are spammers attacking you? It’s pretty simple – they want to get a better page rank and they believe they can accomplish this by getting more links through their spam comments. Don’t worry, it’s nothing personal and you’re not the only one receiving a lot of spam comments.
What happens to comments marked as “Spam”?
The comments marked as spam will be listed in a separate page if you have Akismet installed. You can delete the spam comments permanently or you can recover good comments as well.
Why does every comment go into the moderation queue?
If this happens, go to Settings -> Discussion and see if the “An administrator must approve the comment” option is unchecked. If this option is checked all comments are automatically put in a queue awaiting moderation. Make sure that where it says “Hold a comment in the queue if it contains more than x links” is not left blank and contains any number higher than zero.
We hope these tools and the tips to prevent spam comments in WordPress have helped you. If you have other tips to share, please feel free to do so by leaving us a comment below.