Update: Wangguard plugin doesn’t work anymore. Read why this project is dead here.
WordPress user registration spam is one of those problems which I believe most of registration enabled WordPress blogs are facing. If you have a WordPress blog or BuddyPress and your registration is enabled by default, you might notice lots of spam users signing up every day. And if default permission for user level is contributor, you might get lots of posts for review and needless to say most of them will be spam posts. Today, I’m going to share one WordPress plugin call WangGuard which is out of the box plugin to stop spam user registration in WordPress.
Earlier, I talked about Sabre WordPress plugin which was also very useful to block spam and automated registration on your blog. Though, when ever I enabled captcha and other test in Sabre, many legit users reported that they couldn’t sign up. So, I had to change some settings and even after that sign up by these automated bots have increased a lot. And being a multi-author blog, I can’t disable registration as it will make the process of article submission tough. So, after bit of research, I tried WangGuard plugin and I found it to be very effective.
How WangGuard Plugin Stops WordPress User registration spam:
Unlike other spam registration blocker plugins, WangGuard plugin works in a different way. It matches the user registration from a centralized Wang Guard database and if user belongs to any of the spam criteria mentioned, registration will not be successful. The database of spam user is extensive and like Akismet, it also works based on user reports. For example, if a spam user successfully register and submit a post, with one click you can report that user as SpLogger and it will delete the submitted post and also user will be deleted. User will also be reported to the database and next time it will be hard for that spam user (domain) to register. In most of the cases, such spam registration happens automatically with the help of automated software and Bloggers who are using WangGuard plugin, will be saved from spam registration.
More over, this plugin comes with extensive settings like you can block all disposable Emails ids, any top level domains and so on. For example, here at ShoutMeLoud, I get most of spam registration from .pl and .ru domain extension, I can simply disallow registration from these extensions.
Here are some of the notable features of WangGuard WordPress plugin:
- Block spam registration
- Scan all old user registration for spam sign up
- Block sign up based on domain extension
- Block sign up based on Disposable Email Id’s
- Search for duplicate sign up’s
- Rich graphical interface
- One click user deletion. report.
- Compatible with WordPress, BuddyPress
- Delete spam post and spam user registration with one click
How to configure WangGuard Plugin?
Unlike other plug and play plugins, this plugin needs an API Key which is free for personal use and charges a minimal monthly payment for Blogs with high spam registration. So, once you downloaded and Install this plugin from WordPress Repo, you need to go to WangGuard site and sign up for an account and grab your WangGuard API Key. In the settings add API key and it will start working.
Once you have installed and activated Wang Guard plugin, I would suggest you to run a complete scan for finding all old spam user registration. This will help you to keep your database clean and remove all registered spam users on WordPress.
So, once you have done all the settings which is easier to do, go to WangGuard > Wizard and start checking your site for previous registration and remove all WordPress user registration spam.
It works in two steps, first step will report all marked spam users to their server and in next scan it will scan all current registered users. Though, I would highly recommend to remove all the users manually because it will make sure not any legit user is deleted. If you have used Akismet, it won’t be tough for you to understand how this plugin works.
Here is a screenshot of WordPress user admin page, where you can individually mark, report and remove any spam registered user or you can bulk check and bulk remove users.
When you select and click on “Bulk report Sploggers”, it will add this user on WangGuard database and also remove that user from WordPress database.
This plugin also comes with a stats page, where you can see how many queries it sent to their server and also how many spam registration has been blocked. Though, I’m not very clear about WangGuard pricing for now, as they say it’s free for personal sites and they charge $5 for sites making more than $100/month. Or if your site is getting more than 500 spam registration in a day.
I believe, in future they will have a proper pricing model and being a useful service I believe many user might not mind paying for it. Though, $5/month is not much but there are too many free plugins like Sabre, Stop spam registration and others which can do similar tasks, so a reasonable cost would be better for them and for users.
Anyhow, for now this seems to be one such plugin which I would be using for some time to stop WordPress user registration spam and will keep you updated if I find something more useful. Here is a video guide for WangGuard:
Before using this plugin, I was tired of deleting 30-40 spam posts and manually removing or lowering down their role . But now, after using WangGuard, my work has become easier and if you have faced the similar spam registration issues like me, you should try this plugin. I hope, if someday AutoMattic team also integrated user spam checker feature in Aksimet, which will help us to lower down plugins on our blog.
In case, if you are using any other WordPress plugin to combat against spam registration, do let us know via comment. If you find this post useful don’t forget to share it on Twitter and Facebook.
For further reading:
- Complete Tutorial to Add Browser Push Notifications to your WordPress site
- ThirstyAffiliates Link Cloaker WordPress Plugin Review [Tested]
- Best WordPress Podcast Plugins – 7 Best Podcasting Plugins Compared