How to Stop Spam Comments on WordPress?
Last Updated on 16th May 2023 by Ajmer Singh
If you run a WordPress website, you’re likely familiar with the persistent problem of spam comments.
These unsolicited comments can range from annoying to downright harmful, as they can contain links to malicious websites or inappropriate content.
Not only do spam comments clutter up your comments section, but they can also damage your website’s reputation and even impact your search engine rankings.
Luckily, there are a variety of techniques and tools you can use to stop spam comments in your tracks.
From anti-spam plugins to human verification methods to custom blacklists, there’s no shortage of options for WordPress site owners looking to keep their comments section clean and secure.
In this article, we’ll explore the most effective ways to stop spam comments in WordPress.
Whether you’re a seasoned website owner or just starting out, these tips and tricks will help you keep your website spam-free and running smoothly.
So, let’s dive in!
Comparison chart for different methods to stop spam comments
Tired of dealing with spam comments on your WordPress website?
Look no further than this handy comparison chart of methods to stop spam comments!
From anti-spam plugins to custom blacklists/whitelists and third-party commenting systems, find the right solution for your site and keep the spammers at bay.
|Anti-Spam Plugin||Effective in catching spam comments||May slow down your site, may have false positive rate|
|Captchas and Other Verification||Effectively filters out bots||Can be annoying for users, some captchas can be difficult to read|
|Comment Moderation and Approval||Allows for manual review of all comments||Can be time-consuming, delays the posting of comments|
|Custom Comment Blacklists/Whitelists||Allows for customizing what comments are allowed or blocked||Needs to be regularly updated, can accidentally block legitimate comments|
|Disable Comments on Specific Pages||Stops spam comments on a page-by-page basis||Limits user interaction on that page, requires manual action on every page|
|Third-Party Commenting Systems||Can be easier to use for users||Adds an extra layer of complexity to your site, requires users to use a different system|
Understanding Spam Comments and Their Impact on Your Website
Spam comments are a nuisance that every WordPress site owner has to deal with.
But what exactly are they, and why are they such a problem?
Spam comments are unsolicited comments that are posted on your website, often by automated bots or spammers looking to advertise their products or services.
These comments can range from irrelevant to downright offensive, and they can include links to malicious websites or malware.
While spam comments may seem like a minor annoyance, they can have a significant impact on your website’s performance.
For starters, they can decrease the quality of your content and detract from the user experience.
Imagine trying to read through a comment section filled with irrelevant or inappropriate comments – it’s not a pleasant experience, and it can turn off potential visitors.
Spam comments can also hurt your website’s search engine rankings.
Search engines like Google consider a variety of factors when determining the ranking of a website, and one of those factors is the quality of the content.
If your comments section is full of spam, it can be seen as a sign of low-quality content, which can lead to a lower search engine ranking.
Furthermore, spam comments can be a security risk.
As mentioned earlier, they often contain links to malicious websites or malware, which can harm your website visitors or even your website itself.
This is particularly true if you have a large number of spam comments that go unnoticed, as they can create a breeding ground for malicious activity.
The Importance of Having an Anti-Spam Plugin Installed
One of the most effective ways to combat spam comments on your WordPress site is to install an anti-spam plugin.
An anti-spam plugin is a tool that’s designed to identify and block spam comments before they can be published on your website.
There are many anti-spam plugins available for WordPress, and each has its own unique features and settings.
Having an anti-spam plugin installed is important for several reasons. For starters, it can save you a lot of time and effort.
Without an anti-spam plugin, you would have to manually review each comment that’s posted on your website and determine whether it’s legitimate or spam.
This can be a tedious and time-consuming process, especially if you have a large website with a lot of traffic.
Also, an anti-spam plugin can help improve your website’s performance and user experience.
When your comments section is free of spam, it’s easier for visitors to engage with your content and have a positive experience on your website.
This can lead to increased user engagement, more time spent on your site, and even higher conversions.
There are many different anti-spam plugins available for WordPress, each with its own unique features and settings.
Some of the most popular anti-spam plugins include Akismet, WP-SpamShield, and Anti-Spam Bee.
These plugins use a variety of methods to identify and block spam comments, including machine learning, pattern recognition, and custom blacklists.
For example, Akismet is a popular anti-spam plugin that uses machine learning to identify spam comments.
When a comment is submitted on your website, Akismet checks it against its extensive database of known spam comments.
If the comment is identified as spam, it’s blocked from being published on your website.
Configuring and Optimizing Your Anti-Spam Plugin Settings
Installing an anti-spam plugin on your WordPress site is a great start, but to truly stop spam comments in their tracks, you need to configure and optimize your plugin settings.
The settings for each anti-spam plugin will vary, but there are some general best practices you can follow to make sure your plugin is working as effectively as possible.
First, make sure that your plugin is up-to-date.
Most anti-spam plugins are regularly updated to ensure they’re able to detect the latest spamming techniques.
Make sure you’re running the latest version of your anti-spam plugin to ensure you’re protected against the latest spam tactics.
Next, review your plugin settings and make any necessary adjustments.
Each anti-spam plugin has its own settings and configuration options, so you’ll need to refer to the documentation for your specific plugin.
However, some common settings you’ll want to check include:
Enabling comment moderation:
This will require you to approve each comment before it’s published on your website.
While it can be time-consuming, it’s an effective way to prevent spam comments from being published.
Customizing your blacklist:
Most anti-spam plugins allow you to add custom words or phrases to your blacklist.
This can be helpful if you’re receiving a lot of spam comments with similar content.
Enabling CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA:
CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) and reCAPTCHA are human verification methods that require users to prove they’re human before submitting a comment.
This can be a highly effective way to prevent automated spam comments.
Setting comment limits:
Some anti-spam plugins allow you to set limits on the number of comments that can be submitted by the same IP address or user within a certain period.
This can help prevent spam comments from overwhelming your website.
Finally, regularly review your plugin’s activity and performance.
Most anti-spam plugins will provide you with data on how many spam comments they’ve blocked and the effectiveness of their filters.
Use this data to refine your settings and optimize your plugin for maximum effectiveness.
For example, Anti-Spam Bee is an anti-spam plugin that allows you to customize your spam filters based on the language of the comment, the number of links included in the comment, and other factors.
By configuring these settings, you can make sure that the plugin is only blocking spam comments and not legitimate comments.
Captchas and Other Human Verification Methods
One of the most effective ways to prevent spam comments on your WordPress site is to use human verification methods, such as Captchas and reCAPTCHA.
These methods require users to prove they’re human before submitting a comment, which can help prevent automated spam comments from being published.
CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a type of human verification method that requires users to perform a task that’s easy for humans but difficult for computers.
For example, users may be required to enter a sequence of letters and numbers displayed in an image or solve a simple math problem.
reCAPTCHA is a more advanced type of CAPTCHA that uses machine learning to identify and block spam comments.
It’s often used in combination with other anti-spam measures, such as an anti-spam plugin, to provide an additional layer of protection against spam comments.
While Captchas and reCAPTCHA can be effective at preventing spam comments, they can also be a source of frustration for users.
Some Captchas can be difficult to read or require users to complete multiple tasks, which can be time-consuming and annoying.
To minimize the impact on user experience, consider using Captchas and reCAPTCHA in moderation.
Only require users to complete a Captcha if their comment contains certain keywords or meets other criteria that suggest it may be spam.
Also, use a user-friendly Captcha design that’s easy to read and complete.
For example, the Google reCAPTCHA plugin for WordPress allows you to customize the settings for your reCAPTCHA implementation, including the type of reCAPTCHA used (e.g. checkbox, invisible, or v3), the threshold for suspicious activity, and more.
By configuring these settings to suit your specific needs, you can ensure that your users are protected against spam comments while still enjoying a positive user experience on your site.
Creating Custom Comment Blacklists and Whitelists
While anti-spam plugins and human verification methods can be effective at preventing spam comments on your WordPress site, there may still be certain types of comments that slip through the cracks.
To further protect your site, consider creating custom comment blacklists and whitelists.
A blacklist is a list of words or phrases that, when included in a comment, will automatically be flagged as spam.
For example, you may want to add words like “viagra” or “online casino” to your blacklist to prevent spam comments related to those topics from being published on your site.
A whitelist, on the other hand, is a list of words or phrases that are allowed in comments, even if they might otherwise be flagged as spam.
For example, you may want to add the name of your company or other trusted users to your whitelist to ensure their comments are always published on your site.
Most anti-spam plugins allow you to create custom blacklists and whitelists.
Check the documentation for your specific plugin to see how to create and manage these lists.
For example, Akismet is a popular anti-spam plugin for WordPress that includes a comment blacklist feature.
You can customize your blacklist to include specific words or phrases, or you can import a pre-made blacklist to save time.
By using a custom blacklist, you can ensure that your anti-spam plugin is blocking the types of comments that are most likely to be spam.
Also, consider using other tools to help you manage comments on your site.
For example, you can set up email notifications to alert you when a new comment is submitted, or you can enable comment moderation to require approval before comments are published.
Enabling Comment Moderation and Approval
Comment moderation and approval is another effective way to prevent spam comments on your WordPress site.
By requiring comments to be manually approved before they’re published, you can ensure that only legitimate comments from real users are allowed on your site.
To enable comment moderation and approval, log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Settings > Discussion.
Under the “Before a comment appears” section, check the box next to “Comment must be manually approved” and save your settings.
Once this setting is enabled, any new comments submitted to your site will be held in a moderation queue until you manually approve them.
You can review comments in the moderation queue by navigating to the “Comments” section of your WordPress dashboard.
By default, WordPress will send you an email notification when a new comment is submitted and requires approval.
You can also customize these notification settings in the “Discussion” section of your WordPress dashboard.
Comment moderation and approval can be a time-consuming process, especially if your site receives a lot of comments.
To help streamline this process, consider using a plugin that allows you to bulk approve or delete comments, or that provides advanced filtering options to help you quickly identify and review potentially spammy comments.
For example, the Comment Moderation Email to Post Author plugin for WordPress allows you to send email notifications to multiple users when a new comment is submitted, making it easy to delegate comment moderation responsibilities to other members of your team.
Disabling Comments on Specific Posts or Pages
Sometimes, you may want to disable comments on specific posts or pages on your WordPress site.
For example, if you’ve published a post that’s no longer relevant or that has attracted a lot of spam comments, you may want to prevent further comments from being submitted.
To disable comments on a specific post or page, simply edit the post or page in question and scroll down to the “Discussion” settings.
Uncheck the box next to “Allow comments” to disable comments on that post or page.
If you want to disable comments on multiple posts or pages at once, you can use the bulk editing feature in WordPress.
Simply select the posts or pages you want to modify, click the “Bulk Actions” drop-down menu, and select “Edit”.
Then, select “Do not allow” from the “Comments” drop-down menu and click “Update” to apply the changes to all selected posts or pages.
Disabling comments on specific posts or pages can be a useful way to prevent spam comments from accumulating on your site.
By disabling comments on posts that are no longer relevant or that have attracted a lot of spam in the past, you can help keep your site clean and free of unwanted comments.
However, it’s important to note that disabling comments on a post or page can also impact user engagement and interaction on your site.
If you disable comments on all of your posts and pages, you may discourage users from leaving feedback or engaging with your content.
Consider using other anti-spam measures, such as anti-spam plugins and custom comment blacklists, before resorting to disabling comments entirely.
Using Third-Party Commenting Systems Instead of WordPress’s Built-In System
If you’re still struggling with spam comments on your WordPress site despite implementing various anti-spam measures, you may want to consider using a third-party commenting system instead of WordPress’s built-in comment system.
Third-party commenting systems, such as Disqus and Facebook Comments, are often more robust and secure than WordPress’s built-in system, and they offer additional features and functionality that can enhance the user experience on your site.
One of the biggest benefits of using a third-party commenting system is that they often include built-in anti-spam measures, such as CAPTCHAs and IP address filtering, that can help prevent spam comments from being submitted in the first place.
These systems also typically include advanced moderation tools, such as the ability to flag and delete comments, and real-time notifications that can help you quickly identify and address spam comments.
Another advantage of using a third-party commenting system is that they can help increase user engagement and interaction on your site.
Many of these systems allow users to log in using their social media accounts, which can make it easier for them to leave comments and share their thoughts.
Also, some systems include features like threaded comments, upvoting and downvoting, and comment sharing, which can encourage more discussion and interaction among your users.
To use a third-party commenting system on your WordPress site, simply install the plugin or script provided by the system and follow the instructions to integrate it with your site.
Once the system is set up, you can disable comments on your WordPress site and rely solely on the third-party system for all commenting functionality.
Keeping Your WordPress Website Up-to-Date for Better Security
One of the most important things you can do to protect your WordPress site from spam comments and other security threats is to keep it up-to-date with the latest software releases.
WordPress is a popular target for hackers and spammers, and vulnerabilities in older versions of the software can leave your site exposed to attacks.
WordPress regularly releases new versions of the software that include security updates, bug fixes, and other improvements.
It’s important to install these updates as soon as they become available to ensure that your site remains secure and up-to-date.
To update your WordPress site, simply log in to your site’s dashboard and click on the “Updates” link in the left-hand menu.
From there, you can check for available updates and install them with just a few clicks.
It’s also important to keep your plugins and themes up-to-date.
Plugins and themes can also contain security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and spammers.
Many plugin and theme developers regularly release updates that include security patches and other improvements, so be sure to install these updates as soon as they become available as well.
By keeping your WordPress site up-to-date with the latest software releases, you can help ensure that your site remains secure and protected against spam comments and other security threats.
While it may seem like a small task, taking the time to install updates regularly can go a long way in keeping your site safe and secure.
Regularly Monitoring Your Comments Section and Taking Action Against Spam.
Even with anti-spam measures in place, it’s still important to regularly monitor your comments section for spam and take action against it.
Spammers are constantly evolving their tactics, and some may be able to bypass even the most advanced anti-spam measures.
To monitor your comments section, simply log in to your site’s dashboard and click on the “Comments” link in the left-hand menu.
From there, you can view all of the comments that have been submitted to your site, including those that have been flagged as spam.
It’s important to review each comment carefully to determine whether it’s legitimate or spam.
Look for comments that contain irrelevant or nonsensical content, links to suspicious websites, or obvious attempts to promote a product or service.
If you do find spam comments, be sure to take action against them.
Most anti-spam plugins and third-party commenting systems include tools for flagging and deleting spam comments, so use these tools to keep your comments section clean and spam-free.
It’s also important to engage with your users and foster a sense of community on your site.
Responding to legitimate comments, asking for feedback, and encouraging discussion can help keep your users engaged and invested in your site, while also helping to prevent spam.