Comment spam and contact form spam are annoying! Do you ever log into your WordPress dashboard to find hundreds of pending comments that are all spam? It is not unusual to receive spam comments on your website or blog.
Any amount of spam is frustrating, but when it is coming in by the hundreds, it becomes difficult to manage. You login to update your website and you are bombarded by comments pending your approval. Good news is we can put a stop to it!
1. Stop new spam comments and false contact inquires by installing a plugin.
There are tons of WordPress plugins to choose from. Here are a few that I have used with success but please keep in mind these are all managed by 3rd party developers with which I have no affiliation. Use at your own risk.
Anti-Spam – [EASIEST] This is an invisible spam blocker, so your real website visitors will not be asked to fill in extra fields or do any math problems. Just install it and it goes to work behind the scenes – no settings to adjust.
Akismet – [ADVANCED OPTION] This is a very popular plugin that comes pre-installed with WordPress. It is free to use for personal blogs but there is a fee for business use. There are a few steps to set it up, but once installed, it is a very reliable spam blocker.
reCAPTCHA – [FOR CONTACT FORM SPAM] If your spam is coming from the contact forms on your website (and you use Contact Form 7), try this plugin. This is require visitors to check a box before submitting your contact form to ensure they are human. I would recommend only using this if you are receiving contact form spam. Download and install the plugin then follow these instructions to setup the plugin.
If the easy method isn’t working for you, feel free to ask me for help with more advanced options.
2. Delete all of the spam comments already in your dashboard
If your website has a bunch of pending comments, it could take forever to delete these page by page. If you’d like a fresh start, you can delete all of the pending comments with one click using a plugin like Bulk Comment Remove. This tool will delete all of your comments marked “unapproved.” Be careful not to use this if you have good, genuine comments in the mix.
3. Take preventative measures to stop the spam
If you have tried installing one of the plugins in Step 1 and are still seeing spam, here are a few extra measures you can take:
If you are using WordPress as a website only (no blog), you can turn off comments and trackbacks altogether. In the Settings > General area of your dashboard and uncheck the box next to ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’.
Don’t allow HTML in your comments. Spammer want to add links back to their malicious sites. They will often do this by adding code in the comment that will create a hyperlink back to their website. To stop this, you can disable HTML in the comments field. The easiest way to do this is install and activate Peter’s Literal Comments plugin.
Disable the website field in your comment form. By default, your visitors can fill in their website address along with their name and email. When they submit (and you approve) their comment, their name becomes clickable next to their comment. Clicking their name will open their website. This is a great way to network with other bloggers while getting links back to your website. However, spammers see this as an opportunity to link to their malicious website. If you are having problems with spam, it might be worth installing the Disable / Hide Comment URL plugin that will remove the website URL field from the comment form altogether.
There is not one solution that works for every website. I have found that dealing with spam takes some trial and error. What works for one site, might not work for someone else. What works today, might not work a month from now. When you notice your spam start to pickup, just try installing a new spam-free plugin. That usually does the trick.
If you are still having issues with spam, please ask me for help.
Author: Jennifer Sanderson
I take the frustration out of managing your WordPress website so you can focus on growing your business. My unique approach to website maintenance means you get dedicated one-on-one attention to your website without the cost of a full time employee. Learn More About the Blue Duck Difference