Table of Content
- What is WordPress Comment Spam?
- Why Prevent WordPress Spam Comments?
- How to Stop WordPress Spam Comments?
- FAQs Related to Preventing WordPress Spam Comments
If you ask any blogger or marketing influencer, one of the biggest issues on the internet today is spam comments. And WordPress websites are no different. So web developers have to stop the WordPress spam comments on the websites through a variety of techniques.
Spam comments on WordPress websites may contain irrelevant, promotional, or malicious content. That may lead to a negative user experience and potentially harm a website’s reputation. It will bring down the sales and revenue of the business quite significantly.
So in this blog, we’ll see a number of ways to stop WordPress spam comments. Website owners can significantly reduce the influx of spam comments and create a more pleasant and secure environment for their users.
But first, let’s see what WordPress comment spam is.
What is WordPress Comment Spam?
WordPress comment spam refers to unwanted and unsolicited comments posted on WordPress websites, typically by automated bots or malicious users. These comments are usually irrelevant, promotional, or contain links to spam or malicious websites. The primary purpose of comment spam is to exploit the commenting system to gain backlinks for SEO purposes. But they can be a nightmare for WordPress developers. So it’s understandable to try and prevent WordPress comment spam.
It clutters the comment sections, makes it challenging to find genuine comments, and can negatively impact the user experience. Additionally, excessive comment spam can put a strain on server resources and affect website performance.
Spammers often use automated tools to target a large number of WordPress sites simultaneously, leaving behind a barrage of spam comments. These comments might appear to praise the content or ask generic questions, but they usually contain hidden links or keywords that redirect users to external sites.
To stop WordPress comment spam, the WordPress development services implement various prevention measures. That includes comment moderation, CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA challenges, anti-spam plugins, and keyword blacklists. These measures help filter out most spam comments. So genuine user comments can be displayed while keeping the website’s comment section clean and relevant.
Why Prevent WordPress Spam Comments?
If you have been using any sort of emailing service, you may already be familiar with the word “spam”. So you know it’s bad. Spams are irrelevant or unprompted messages sent to a large number of users as “advertising”. But hackers can also use them for phishing, spreading malware, and other negative practices.
Nowadays, hackers have been using this bad practice in WordPress websites as well. So WordPress experts have to be ready to stop the spam comments on the websites.
Here are a few reasons to stop WordPress spam comments:
1. User Experience: Comment spam can create a negative user experience on your website. Visitors might become frustrated and discouraged from engaging with your content or leaving genuine comments if they see a cluttered comment section filled with irrelevant or promotional content.
2. Credibility and Reputation: A website with a large amount of spam comments can appear unprofessional and untrustworthy. It may give the impression that the website developer and owner do not actively moderate or care about the content being shared on their platform.
3. SEO and Search Ranking: Search engines consider user engagement signals, including comments, when determining the relevance and quality of a webpage. If your comment section is overrun by spam, search engines may view your content as less valuable, potentially impacting your search engine rankings.
4. Resource Utilization: Dealing with a high volume of spam comments can put a strain on your server resources and slow down your website’s performance, especially if the spam comments need to be processed or filtered.
5. Security Concerns: Some spam comments may contain malicious links that could lead to phishing sites, malware downloads, or other security risks for website visitors.
6. Legal Compliance: In some regions, websites may be legally responsible for the content posted in their comment sections. If your comment section is filled with spam promoting illegal or harmful activities, it could potentially lead to legal issues.
7. Email Notification Overload: If you have email notifications enabled for new comments, spam comments can flood your inbox and make it difficult to manage legitimate comment notifications effectively.
By implementing these preventive measures, a web development company may try to stop WordPress comment spam. You can maintain a clean and relevant comment section to improve user engagement. It can also enhance your website’s credibility, and protect your WordPress website, and its visitors from potential security risks. That allows you to create a positive user experience and fosters a community of authentic and meaningful interactions around your content.
How to Stop WordPress Spam Comments?
To stop WordPress spam comments, you can use various methods and tools to reduce the amount of spam you receive. Here are some effective steps to help you combat spam comments:
Method: 1 Enable Comment Moderation
Comment moderation is a great way to stop WordPress spam comments. Comments submitted by users will be held in a moderation queue before being publicly displayed on your website. As a WordPress web developer, you have the authority to review each comment. It allows you to filter out inappropriate or spammy comments and maintain a more engaging and relevant discussion environment.
Here’s how to enable comment moderation in WordPress settings:
Step 1: Log in to your website’s WordPress admin dashboard.
Step 2: Navigate to “Settings” → “Discussion.”
Step 3: In “Default article settings”, find the checkbox labeled “Comment must be manually approved” or “An administrator must always approve the comment.”
Step 4: Check the box to enable comment moderation.
Step 5: Scroll down and click the “Save Changes” button to save your settings.
Once comment moderation is enabled, any new comment submitted on your website will be held for review instead of immediately appearing on the published page or post. You’ll receive a notification (via email) whenever a new comment is waiting for approval.
Method: 2 Use CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA
Developed by Google, reCAPTCHA is a more advanced version of CAPTCHA. It is an effective method to prevent WordPress spam comments. It not only helps distinguish humans from bots but also serves the additional purpose of digitizing books and other texts. It lets the users transcribe distorted or hard-to-read words from scanned images.
To implement CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA on your WordPress comment form, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: To use reCAPTCHA, you need API keys from the Google reCAPTCHA website. Go to https://www.google.com/recaptcha and sign in with your Google account. Register your website and obtain the Site Key and Secret Key.
Step 2: In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to “Plugins” → “Add New” and search for a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA plugin. Some popular options include “reCAPTCHA by BestWebSoft” and “Contact Form 7 + reCAPTCHA.”
Step 3: After installing the WordPress plugin, go to its settings page. Enter the API keys you obtained from the Google reCAPTCHA website. Choose the type of reCAPTCHA you want to use, such as the traditional text-based challenge or the newer checkbox, or invisible reCAPTCHA.
Step 4: Save your plugin settings and test the comment form to ensure the CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA challenge appears correctly.
After setting up the CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA, users will need to complete the challenge before their comment is accepted. Typically, spam bots can’t solve the CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA challenges accurately. That helps prevent spam bots from automatically posting comments.
Method: 3 Install Anti-Spam Plugins
Installing anti-spam plugins is a highly effective method to stop spam comments on WordPress websites. Anti-spam plugins are specifically designed to identify and block spam comments. That helps the website owners maintain a clean and secure comment section while reducing the burden of manual moderation.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install and use anti-spam plugins in WordPress:
Step 1: Access your WordPress dashboard by logging in to your website.
Step 2: Navigate to “Plugins” → “Add New.”
Step 3: In the search bar, type in “anti-spam” or “spam protection” to find relevant anti-spam plugins.
Step 4: Browse through the search results and look for plugins that have good ratings, frequent updates, and positive reviews.
Step 5: Click on “Install Now” next to the anti-spam plugin you wish to use.
Step 6: After installation, click on “Activate” to activate the plugin on your website.
Once activated, the anti-spam plugin will start working immediately, filtering out spam comments and preventing them from being displayed on your site. Some popular anti-spam plugins for WordPress include Akismet, Anti-spam Bee, Jetpack, etc.
These plugins analyze the content and behavior of comments submitted to your site. When a comment is flagged as spam, the plugin will either move it to a separate spam folder or automatically delete it. It basically depends on your WordPress settings. If you want some custom functionality in the plugin regarding spam comment prevention, our WordPress plugin development services will help.
Method: 4 Limit Hyperlinks in Comments
Spammers often include multiple links in their comments. But web developers can try restricting or limiting the hyperlinks to stop WordPress spam comments. This measure is taken to deter spammers from using the comment section.
You have several options to implement limits on hyperlinks in WordPress comments.
- Disable Hyperlinks Completely: Any URLs posted in comments will be displayed as plain text and not clickable.
- Limit the Number of Hyperlinks: You can set a maximum limit for the number of hyperlinks allowed in each comment.
- Implement Nofollow Attribute: The “nofollow” attribute tells search engines not to follow the link. That discourages the spammers looking for SEO benefits from posting links on your site.
But make sure you strike a balance while limiting the hyperlinks to avoid inconveniencing your genuine audience. You want to encourage user engagement and participation while also maintaining a spam-free comment section.
Method: 5 Close Comments on Older Posts
Closing comments on older posts means disabling the ability for users to leave new comments on articles or pages that are older than a specified date. This practice is used by website developers to manage and control the comment section’s activity. That is especially true on older content that may not receive as much attention or monitoring.
To close comments on older posts in WordPress, follow these steps:
Step 1: Go to your WordPress administration panel and navigate to “Posts” → “All Posts” or “Pages” → “All Pages”, depending on where you want to close comments.
Step 2: In the list of posts/pages, click “Quick Edit” for the post/page you want to close comments on.
Step 3: Look for the “Allow Comments” checkbox and uncheck it to disable comments for that post/page.
Step 4: Click “Update” to save the changes.
By closing comments on older posts, you can better manage your comment section. It can also help you reduce the potential for spam and encourage more focused discussions on your new content.
Method 6: Utilize Honeypot Technique
The honeypot technique is a clever strategy used to combat spam and automated bots on WordPress websites. It involves adding a hidden field to the comment form that is not visible to regular users but can be detected by automated bots.
Here’s how you can implement the honeypot technique on your WordPress website:
Step 1: To use the honeypot technique effectively, you’ll need a WordPress plugin designed to add the hidden field and automatically filter out spam comments.
Step 2: After installing the plugin, activate it on your WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: The plugin should handle the configuration for you, but you may have the option to customize certain settings.
Step 4: While the honeypot technique can catch many spam comments, it’s a good practice to enable comment moderation as an additional layer of protection.
Step 5: After configuring the plugin, test the honeypot by visiting your website and inspecting the comment form’s HTML.
Regular users won’t see the hidden field, but you should be able to find it when viewing the source code of the comment form. Implementing the honeypot technique can be an effective and user-friendly way to reduce spam comments without inconveniencing genuine users.
Method: 7 Blacklist IP Addresses and Keywords
Another great way to stop WordPress spam comments is to blacklist IP addresses and keywords. In this strategy, WordPress development experts prevent specific individuals or bots from leaving spam comments on your website.
Here’s how you can blacklist IPs and keywords from the comments on the WordPress website.
Step 1: Review your website’s comment section to identify the spamming keywords. Also, check for the IP addresses that consistently post spam comments.
Step 2: Log in to your WordPress admin panel and go to “Settings” → “Discussion”.
Step 3: In the Discussion settings, you’ll find the “Comment Blacklist” section where you can add the blacklisted IPs.
Step 4: Add the IPs you want to blacklist, line-by-line.
Step 5: Enter the keywords you want to blacklist, separated by commas. For example, “free money”, “click here”, etc.
Step 6: Click on “Save Changes” to update your settings. Now, any comment submitted from the blacklisted IP addresses or containing the blacklisted keywords will be blocked automatically.
But be careful when using IP and keyword blacklisting. It may inadvertently block legitimate users or result in false positives. So regularly review your comment section to ensure no genuine comments are being incorrectly flagged as spam.
Method: 8 Disable Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackbacks and pingbacks allow a website to be notified when another website links to one of its posts or pages. They were initially designed to facilitate communication between blogs and enable link notifications. But nowadays, these features are being misused by spammers to generate excessive and irrelevant notifications. It leads to an increase in spam content on WordPress websites.
Here’s how to disable trackbacks and pingbacks on your WordPress website:
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress admin panel.
Step 2: Go to “Settings” → “Discussion”. You’ll find the “Default article settings” section.
Step 3: Uncheck “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” option. Then you are disabling the acceptance of trackbacks and pingbacks on your website.
Step 4: Click “Save Changes” to update your settings.
Disabling trackbacks and pingbacks can help reduce the clutter in your comment section and decrease the potential for spam. However, keep in mind that this action will only affect future posts. Trackbacks and pingbacks that have already been accepted will still be displayed unless you manually delete them.
By following these steps, you can try and reduce the number of spam comments on your WordPress website. That helps create a more pleasant experience for your users. It’s essential to maintain an ongoing effort to keep your website protected from evolving spam tactics.
FAQs Related to Preventing WordPress Spam Comments
After creating a high-quality WordPress website, it can be a little disheartening to see spam comments trying to spread malware and benefit from your users. Not only can it ruin the user experience of your website, but it can also put a dent in the reputation of your company.
But don’t worry. Above mentioned ways to prevent WordPress spam comments on the website. Some of them include comment moderation, implementing reCAPTCHA on the website, installing anti-spam plugins, and more. These techniques will help ensure promptly identifying and thwarting malicious spam comments.
If you face any difficulties with WordPress, feel free to contact our experts!