When it comes to content management systems, WordPress is amongst the favorites for the majority of bloggers, webmasters, and business owners. It's easy to install, it's super flexible, and with the large number of professional WordPress themes and plugins available, you quickly get the feeling that you're in charge of everything that happens on your WordPress website. However, the popularity of WordPress makes it also an attractive target for spammers.
Luckily, WordPress is an open source project and therefore often eliminates the need to hire an expensive developer/designer who could code the perfect site for you. Instead, you can rely on the vast amount of information and free tutorials that are available on countless WordPress resources. This is ideal to educate yourself and create a modern, professional and unique website at very low cost.
WordPress by itself is a fairly safe and secure piece of software. Potential WordPress security problems are usually addressed instantly and there haven't been that many major security breaches throughout the years. However, there is one annoying thing in particular that WordPress users will most definitely have to deal with: Spam.
WordPress comment spam and other spam attacks
WordPress attracts hundreds of thousands of spammers who try to squeeze out an accepted comment out of every page they can get their hands on. Spammers try to use WordPress sites to place shady links, inappropriate advertisements or other malicious content. However, WordPress spam doesn't only occur in the form of spam comments. WordPress contact form spam is another common issue, as well as user registration spam.
As just one example, the above screenshot shows what spammers can achieve in just over a years time. More than 200,000 spam comments have been filtered. Who knows how many more are attempting to spam every single day. Spammers will spam comment boxes, user registration forms, contact forms, and any other form that allows an input; which is why it makes sense to look out for a spam protection plugin, the only way to keep spammers at bay for good.
Anti-spam plugins for WordPress
You may be wondering how to stop spam on WordPress sites. Fortunately, there are various anti-spam plugins for WordPress available which offer a reliable spam filter. These spam blocker plugins can stop spam for good, or at least reduce the amount of spam to a very low level. Now let's have a look at some popular spam protection plugins:
All new WordPress installations come automatically pre-installed with Akismet. This is one of the most popular spam protection plugins on the free market. Because Akismet is also part of the Automattic group, you can rest assured that this spam protection plugin has been built with the latest industry standards and will guarantee 99.9% spam elimination. Akismet checks a global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.
To get started, all you need to do is acquire an API key for Akismet and you're ready to go. This anti-spam WordPress plugin works 24/7, and if there are ever any connectivity problems, new comments will be automatically put in the Pending Review section, so you are guaranteed not to let any bad comments slip away.
Spam Protection by CleanTalk
Spam Protection by CleanTalk (formerly known as Anti-Spam) does everything you would expect from an anti-spam plugin. It keeps spammers completely isolated from your site and you're only required to keep an eye on the overall performance once in a while. The one feature that this plugin does stand out with is the fact that you can check your existing WordPress comments against possible spammers.
That's a great anti-spam feature that no other plugin except Spam Protection by CleanTalk seems to be offering. This can dramatically reduce the number of spam comments on your site if you haven't checked them against comment spam in the last few years. You will also be happy to hear that this plugin provides a seamless integration for some of the leading WordPress plugins, keeping them spam protected.
This well-rated spam protection plugin automatically blocks spam in your comments section, yet invisible for users or admins. Anti-spam therefore takes care of spammers in a way that you don't need to do much yourself. There is no settings page and there are no moderation queues as the plugin handles everything for you. Basically you simply need to install Anti-spam and let it do its job to protect your website from spam.
WordPress Zero Spam
Quite similar to the Anti-spam plugin we just mentioned above, WordPress Zero Spam blocks registration spam and comment spam without the need of any additional configuration. Therefore, this also is a very user-friendly spam protection plugin for WordPress which is pretty simple to use. Amongst the top features of this anti spam plugin are no captcha, no moderation queues, support for caching plugins, theme and plugin integration for any form, support for popular plugins like Contact Form 7, Gravitiy Forms and others.
Antispam Bee is a free plugin which blocks spam trackbacks and comments and beyond claims to be compliant with European data privacy standards. This popular spam protection plugin recognizes approved commenters and trusts those with a WordPress Gravatar. Antispam Bee further searches the local spam database for spammers and notifies admins about incoming spam. You can also automatically delete existing spam comments after x days.
You may also take advantage of the included options and settings that Antispam Bee offers to exclude trackbacks and pingbacks from spam detection of spam-check comment forms on archives. And for those who want to thoroughly keep track of spam comments on their WordPress websites, you can display spam statistics with daily updates and a lot more information on spam activity. This includes spam detection rate and a total of blocked spam comments.
WP-SpamShield has been around for long enough to gain reputation as user friendly anti-spam plugin that will help you deal with comment spam, contact form spam, fake registrations spam, and also keep an eye on the incoming trackbacks to make sure you're not linking to harmful sites.
WP-SpamShield works 100% in the background. That means all you have to do is activate this spam protection plugin and let it do its magic. The feature that bloggers praise WP-SpamShield the most about is that WP-SpamShield is hosted on your server, rather than in the cloud. That provides a slight improvement in overall performance.
Wrapping up: How to stop spam on your WordPress site
All of these spam protection plugins we have looked at here have their own advantages. In general they serve the same strict purpose – to keep your WordPress website spam free. You can therefore rest assured that no matter which spam protection plugin you choose to work with, it will usually guarantee spam protection that literally nothing else could potentially match. Have you used one of these anti-spam plugins for WordPress before?