WordPress Plugins

5 Best Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins (How to Stop Comment Spam in WordPress)

Spam comments in WordPress is a headache and a time-waster.

Here at ShoutMeLoud, I receive over 300+ comments daily and 90% of them are spam.

Recently, I took the matter in my own hand and decided to get rid of these spam before it actually appears in my comment moderation queue.

This post is the outcome of my own pain of batteling with WordPress spam comment.

Comment spam is the harsh reality and every green behind the ears, enthusiastic, unprepared blogger will be staggered by the sheer volume they receive of it.

WordPress can help, but you need to mentally prepare yourself for the hard fact that more than 99% of the comments you will receive is going to be spam.

If you leave the issue unattended, the spam can quite literally overtake your site database and get you permanently banned from the search engine index.

The first thing on your to-do list should be to prepare your website admin (backend) to help you deal with such massive amounts of bull. That’s where WordPress bloggers have an advantage.

As much spam there is, there are quite a handful of powerful solutions, available free or for pocket-change-cost, to help stop and/or manage spam influx on your website.

But first, let’s look at the WordPress settings which will help you to control spam comments to a great level.

How to Stop WordPress Spam Comments: WordPress Discussion settings

WordPress gives you complete control over comment moderation.

The spam filter will happen later, but first, it’s your job to make sure that no comments should go live without moderation.

Comments on your blog are valuable in many ways, such as:

  • Add value to the article: A good comment will add more points and improve the overall value of your blog post.
  • Trust factor: If your blog post gets a good number of genuine and meaningful comments, that helps in increasing the trust factor of your blog.
  • Search engine ranking: I have done testing in the past where I have removed all comments on my old posts, and that drastically reduced the ranking of my posts. Having meaningful comments will increase the keyword density and variation, and thus helps in the improved ranking of your blog.

Similarly, if you are not moderating your blog comments and spam comments are going live on your blog, you are more likely to see the decreased ranking and your blog might be affected by Google Penguin penalty.

Even if you have made the mistake of approving spam comments in the past, you should edit old posts and remove all such comments from your blog. This also includes those comments like “nice post”Good post” which doesn’t add any value to your articles.

We will first look into WordPress discussion settings which you should configure for your WordPress blog to prevent WordPress comments spam and improve the default comment settings of WordPress.

To get started with it; log in to your WordPress dashboard, and click on Settings > Discussion and configure them as mentioned below.

Do read the details, so that you also learn what you are doing:

1. Default Article Settings:

WordPress Default article settings

This is the first section of WordPress discussion settings, and here you should uncheck the second option which says “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).” Since I don’t find trackback and pingbacks to be very useful regarding adding value, I keep this option as unchecked. If you have accidentally approved trackbacks in the past, you can read this guide to delete all previously approved trackbacks.

2. Other comment settings:

WordPress Comment settings

This is another straight forward settings, where you can simply copy the settings as shown below. If you run a membership site or a site where you want only registered users to comment on your blog, you should check the second option “

3. Before a comment appear:

Before WordPress comment appears

This is the most important setting to ensure that no comments go live without moderation.

This is to ensure that you have complete control over your blog comments and only manually approved comments should go live. I have WordPress for iOS app on my iPhone, which is very helpful to keep moderating comments while I’m away from my laptop.

If you are one of those bloggers who like to instantly moderate a comment, I recommend you install WordPress App on your smartphone (Available for both iOS and Android) and moderate comments from everywhere you go.

4. Comment moderation and blacklist:

WordPress Comment spam battle

This section is very useful to tackle spam comments on your WordPress blog. So far, from all the above settings we have already set that no comments should go live without moderation.

If you have selected the option where commentators comment will automatically approve if the commentator has earlier approved a comment, you can further put a spam check with comment moderation and blacklist settings.

With comment moderation settings, you can put any comment for hold if it has more than “X” number of hyperlinks. Where X could be any number. In my case, I have set it up X as 1.

Similarly, you can also hold a comment based on Word match. I don’t explicitly use this feature, as this causes many genuine comments to land into spam or moderation queue.

You can find an updated list of WordPress comment blacklist here.

With the above settings, you will be able to have complete control of WordPress comments moderation. This not necessarily prevents your blog from spam comments, as we need to use anti-spam comments WordPress plugins to check all comments in the moderation queue for spam.

5 Best Comment Anti-spam Plugins for WordPress

1.  Akismet

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory and Akismet

Akismet

Shipped free of cost with every WordPress install, Akismet is a staple because it’s WordPress through and through. This is the prima donna of all anti-spam plugins available for WordPress.

Developed by Automattic, Akismet is pretty damn powerful.

The enterprise grade spam prevention (and management) features are off the charts, some of which include a self-learning spam detection algorithm (notes your ‘comments marked as spam’ and uses it for automatic spam marking in future).

The plugin also lets you put your comments on the Akismet server (where they undergo spam checks by the aforementioned algorithm). Comments that pass the inspection are published on your site’s front end, while the rest are marked spam and eventually deleted.

All the comments (spam or genuine) are maintained in logs that you can check at your leisure.

Akismet comes with up to 50k spam checks per month, only for non profits and personal blogs. Commercial websites can get the API key by subscribing at $5/month charge – a reasonable cost which is absolutely worth it.

2. Anti-Spam Bee

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

Antispam Bee

With over a million active installs and counting and a glowing letter of recommendation from WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg himself, you can be sure you’re not wrong with Anti-spam Bee.

This plugin is free for all and super smart. It can take care of IP blacklisting (comment blocking), trackback validation, database optimization (a feature many people get by downloading a separate plugin like WP Sweep), and more.

It shows you detailed monthly stats and spam activities in your admin dashboard and lets you ‘create’ your own spam detection algorithm by selecting certain indicators based on your knowledge of your user base.

Told you it’s an intelligent little beast. It’s also completely devoid of any annoying ads and complies with data privacy standards (Europe), which is another layer of icing on the freaking cake of awesomeness.

3. CleanTalk

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

This is one of the best premium online (cloud-based) anti-spam WordPress plugin.

CleanTalk prevents comment spam, registration/ sign up form spam, and trackback spam and uses smart algorithms to detect spam within ‘genuine’ looking comments uploaded on the Clean Talk cloud.

One of the cool features of Cleantalk is, you could check existing spam comments in WordPress.

This is highly useful if you have not moderated comments for a while and need to get rid of spam comments from the moderation queue.

You also get detailed statistics and comments log, along with automatic moderation (spam detection) activity and history.

The service is free for the first 5 days, after which you can continue to use and scale up the service with a measly $8/yr charges per domain.

4. WordPress Zero Spam

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

WordPress Zero Spam

This is one of the simplest spam prevention plugins.

WordPress Zero Spam works by blocking comments from users who don’t have JavaScript enabled on the browsers. It works with client and server side JS validation, which works to prevent most bots from spamming your comments section.

It’s free of cost and superbly compatible with almost every major (and trusted) WordPress plugin (except Jetpack) and a whole variety of contact form plugins. Keep in mind that while it’s great against bots, it’s largely ineffectual against humans.

5. Stop Spammers Spam Prevention

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

Stop Spammers Spam Prevention

This is a Jack-of-all-trades, multitasking plugin that can take a load off your head while dealing with comment spam.

Stop Spammers Spam Prevention blocks comment spam, sign up form spam, trackbacks, and contact form spam by passing them through a set of powerful and thorough algorithms. The plugin can block IPs from over 100 countries. It also gives a warning (Request Denied) page to the spammer (human and otherwise) promptly followed by a captcha: this second layer prevents spambots.

Conclusion

Here you are: the 5 plugins to protect your WordPress site from spam and prevent it from accumulating in your server and database in the first place.

Keep your WordPress website clean and well maintained, and install one of these as soon as you get your website up and running.

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Authored By
A blog scientist by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart ❤️. Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and Cryptocurrency space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud and CoinSutra, and a Speaker at Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. He has won numerous awards for his work at ShoutMeLoud. Life motto: Live while you can! Teach & inspire while you could & Smile while you have the teeth.
  • Saurabh Guttedar says:

    Useful. I am thinking to install GASP. Since, I am using a shared hosting it would be useful.
    My Question is: Does the anti-spam plug-ins annoy original visitors to comment?

  • Digital Sashtra says:

    Ohh thank you for this article. I tried using many re-captcha plugins but none of them seemed to be working. All the above plugins are great and working perfectly for my blog. Thanks a ton shout me loud.

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