Stop Spam in WordPress Comments with Just a Few Settings Tweaks

Anyone who has built a website (or ten) using WordPress understands that plugins are the key to success. It might take a while for you to get used to the entire concept of web design and building using WordPress, but it’s one of the most popular platforms, and one of the most versatile.

What makes WordPress so popular is its ability to provide a platform where you can build a store, post blogs, and even enjoy receiving comments from visitors.

Here Comes Spam!

Stop Spam in WordPress Comments with Just a Few Settings Tweaks
Stop Spam in WordPress Comments with Just a Few Settings Tweaks

Unfortunately, along with opening up your website to allow users to comment on various posts or pages, while extremely beneficial at building a following and engaging with your clientele, it also means you’ll have to deal with unwanted comments … or spam.

Spam is often thought of for email.

It’s simply a term that has become synonymous with unwanted messages. Sure, it could be email (how many junk messages did you find waiting for you in your inbox today?) but it’s also found in comments.

A lot of the spam you’ll find in your WordPress comments will be from other websites attempting to link back to their site, either to help boost their search engine ranking or lure some of your clients to them.

For many, trying to keep on top of spam and limit it isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to take steps to quell the frustrating presence of all of those comments that clutter your thread, blog, or pages. Everycloudtech is a blog that can also help you find the best info to stay on top of these pesky annoyances.

Here Are Some Steps to Help Squash Those Spam Comments

Akismet is the first thing you should set up. It comes with every WordPress site and is easy to use. Unfortunately, far too many people don’t realize how beneficial it can be for their site, especially when they open their pages and blogs to comments.

This is a highly advanced anti-spam service and is used by millions of people around the world. Some consider this the ultimate WordPress app, and for good reason.

While you might be tempted to search for a different plugin that would, essentially, do about the same thing, why not choose one that’s already preinstalled and that millions of people already use?

It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

All you need to do to get started using Akismet is to:

  • Set up an account or log in to an existing account with Akismet.
  • Receive an API key.
  • Go into the settings of Akismet on your WordPress site
  • Paste in the API key
  • Then sit back.

Akismet is going to be doing everything for you so you can focus on other things beside chasing down all those annoying spam comments, spending an hour or more every day sifting through the quagmire just so you can approve and reply to legitimate and beneficial comments.

Keep in mind, it’s not perfect.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Akismet is the perfect firewall for spam comments. You’ll still need to take other steps to ensure your website is avoiding the pesky spam that so many millions of others are overwhelmed with every single day.

Change comment settings.

With WordPress, depending on the precise type of website you set up, you can set it up so that only registered users get the opportunity to comment. While this certainly can make it more inconvenient for the average web visitor to become engaged with the content on your site, and to leave comments and even reply or ask questions, it’s a great way to help you reduce the amount of spam that gets through.

Keep in mind that while this may seem like an unnecessary step that will actually make it tougher for people to engage with you and your business, it’s an efficient way to significant reduce how much spam hits your comment sections. After all, people aren’t going to register to write comments on your site if they’re going to spam you to death.

Of course, there are programs that will do that automatically, so it’s also not a completely foolproof solution.

You will want to go into the ‘Discussion Settings’ of your WordPress site and make the necessary adjustments.

You can also select options that will close comments for older posts. This is a great way to cut back on just how much spam you end up dealing with as bots, or automatic programs that crawl the internet looking for WordPress sites just like yours will have fewer options, so when it’s coupled with registration being required, it could be a major reduction in how much gets through.

Moderating comments.

Another option you may want to consider to help you drive back spam in your comments’ sections is to set it up so that nothing will be posted to your site until and unless you approve it.

This may sound great, but remember, you could end up having hundreds or even thousands of comments sloughing through your site every day or week, and that’s a lot of time you’ll have to spend determining which ones are spam and which ones are legit.

Over time, though, the more you do this, the more familiar you’ll become with what is spam. Some of the spam you’ll notice won’t have links and they’ll be composed in such a way that it makes it seem like they’re writing to a direct component of the blog you posted, but they’re not.

You need to go into Settings -> Discussion -> Comment Moderation to choose just what you want to do with regard to this component of your anti-spam routine. You can even select each comment to only have one link, but remember that many spammers know all about this, but when you select this option, it will be worth the effort.

Stop comments with specific words.

You can go in and stop comments from your site that might be spam by blocking specific words, a URL, and email addresses. If you find certain IP addresses are causing you migraines, you can even block them. That could be a great to dramatically slash the number of comments you receive regularly, especially if they’re coming from bots and crawlers.

The specific keywords that you’ll want to block will depend on the site you have and the content you publish. In order to use this effectively, you should pay close attention to some of the main words in the spam comments that repeat over and over. If they are not commonly used by people leaving legitimate comments on your site, then they could be a good way to reduce spam slipping through.

There are lists out there that highlight the number of common spam words you can use to start, and over time you can refine your list.

Will some of your regular users get caught up in this?

Most likely, yes, there will be times when legitimate posts get blocked, but if spam is beginning to detract from your site and be annoying to your users, then this is still a better alternative. Users will make adjustments to what they write over time.

Stop pingbacks and trackbacks.

Pingbacks and trackbacks are allowed by WordPress by default. If someone links back to your article, you’ll get a ping letting you know that. Spammers can use this to get notified, too.

Trackbacks are similar, but you’ll have to send these out on your own, manually. If you don’t use this, you’ll certainly want to disable this option.

Finally …

At the end of the day, keeping up with spam in email and on comment sections of your blog or website can feel like a full-time job, but when you take some time to set the right settings and install the appropriate filters, you can dramatically reduce just how much you have to contend with.

Comments are essential for many businesses because they help build relationships with clients and customers. Disabling comments isn’t the right course of action when you want interactivity, but then spam is simply a part of life in modern times.

Relying on these strategies can help you limit the spam you have to deal with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.