How to Prevent Spam On Your WordPress Site

Updated on Dec 8, 2022

Comment spam is a common occurrence on the Internet. If you allow comments on your website, you will encounter spammers from time to time, which you must deal with. To make a good first impression, you should learn how to stop comment spam in its tracks.

While you may not be able to completely eliminate spam, you can certainly slow it down. When it comes to blocking or hiding spam comments before a visitor sees them, you have many options as a WordPress user. There are even anti-spam plugins that can be very useful.

In this article, we will go over what comment spam is and why it happens. Additionally, we will provide some tips on how to deal with it.

This post includes:

What is Comment Spam?

Spam comments are frequently identified by their generic content. If you allow comments on your site, you will almost certainly receive comment spam. As your site grows in popularity, spam is likely to become an even bigger problem. There are many different kinds of comment spam these days, but the majority of it is automated, posted by spam bots that use short, generic messages as a cover to include links.

Comment spam, in whatever form it takes, is a serious issue because:

  • When your comment sections are clogged with spam messages, it makes it difficult for legitimate visitors to engage in conversation.
  • Spam comments on your content make your site appear unprofessional.
  • Many of these comments contain malicious links intended to trick visitors into disclosing personal information.

Clearly, you must do everything possible to prevent comment spam from appearing on your WordPress site. Fortunately, once you know the proper techniques, this isn't difficult.

How to Stop Comment Spam on Your WordPress Website

The six solutions listed below are all effective methods for preventing comment spam on your website. You can try all of these methods or just the ones that are most applicable to your needs.

Reduce the Number of Links Allowed per Post

As previously stated, most comment spam is intended to insert links into your comment section and trick people into clicking on them. As a result, allowing fewer links in your comments is one way to combat spam. Legitimate visitors will be prevented from posting numerous links as well, but slowing down the spammers may be worth the inconvenience.

To make this change, go to Settings → Discussion in your WordPress dashboard. Look for the section on Comment Moderation:

You can specify how many links are allowed in a comment before it is flagged for moderation. You can even set it to zero if you want to require moderation for any comment that contains a link.

Create a List of ‘Blacklisted’ Words

Many spam comments include numerous recognizable keywords. This makes it easier to identify and remove them from your website. Simply create a 'blacklist' of words, and any comment containing one of them will be flagged.

Return to the Settings → Discussion section of your WordPress dashboard and look for the Comment Blacklist section:

You can enter your word list here. When a comment is posted that contains one of those words, it is automatically deleted. Of course, it is critical to carefully select the words in your blacklist so legitimate posters' comments are not deleted. Check out the recommended comment blacklist for WordPress on GitHub for ideas.

Restrict Comment Privileges to Registered Users

Most spammers aim to post on as many pages and websites as possible. This means that if you can make it more difficult for them to leave comments on your site, they may simply move on to the next target.

You can accomplish this by limiting comment privileges to users who have registered on your site. This adds an additional barrier between spammers and your comment section. As an added bonus, it encourages visitors to create an account or join a membership.

This option is also available in WordPress's Settings → Discussion section. It can be found under Other comment settings:

Simply check the box that says "Users must be registered and logged in to comment," then save your changes.

Set up a Comment Moderation System

Comment moderation is when you require some or all comments to be approved by a person before they can appear on your site. If you have the time and resources, this can be an excellent strategy.

You can easily enable a comment moderation system in WordPress. Simply return to Settings → Discussion and look under the Before a comment appears section:

When you select Comment must be manually approved, any comments left on your site will be marked as Pending until they are reviewed. You can then go through each one and decide whether to accept it or reject it. More information on setting up a comment moderation system can be found in the WordPress Codex.

Use an Anti-spam Plugin

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention anti-spam plugins. These tools can provide a powerful way to prevent comment spam and sort the good comments from the bad for you.

This anti-spam plugin connects to a constantly updated spam database, so it's very good at identifying which comments are problematic and filtering them out. It also shows you which comments have been flagged.

For most users, Akismet is a solid choice, but there are numerous excellent alternatives. Antispam Bee, for example, is a well-reviewed plugin with numerous customizable settings and features. Regardless of which plugin you use, you'll be taking an important step toward reducing comment spam on your website.

Move to a New Comments System

This method will not work for all sites, but some third-party comment systems, such as Disqus, can help you eliminate the majority of the spam. Disqus and Facebook comments are perhaps the two most popular options. You can choose one of those to integrate into your website.

Conclusion

Spam comments can quickly clog up your site, making it appear unprofessional and driving away genuine visitors. It's difficult to clean up all that spam after the fact. This means you should consider investing some time in developing a strong anti-spam strategy.

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