Running a blog entails setting up WordPress or whatever CMS (Content Management System) you want to use, writing interesting content, marketing it to generate traffic and dealing with internet trolls and spammers. Sadly, once your blog is popular enough, you will play host to a variety of people who will try to use your comment section to either market their products/websites/malware or bots who will just spam it with fixed content (malicious or otherwise) over and over.
Fortunately, the WordPress marketplace has a host of plugins that take care of this headache for you and automatically remove and/or block such comments. The general idea behind these plugins is that they either review the comments after being posted or they assess the user posting it to confirm if that user is a human or simply a bot.
The 5 best plugins minimize WordPress comment spam are:
Akismet is one of the most popular plugins that handle spam in the comments section of your blog. It offers a variety of features that assist webmasters and moderators in dealing with the menace of spam.
Some features Akismet offers are:
- Automatic comment checking – Each comment is passed through this plugin and analyzed. The ones that are flagged as spam are filtered out and will await a moderator’s approval before being displayed.
- Complete history – Akismet saves and tracks every action it takes automatically and also the actions taken by moderators using the plugin. This feature allows you to rollback any changes if and when required.
- URL Expansion – Akismet forces all URLs to display their complete link to better protect users from malicious spam.
This plugin is free to use for personal blogs, while business and enterprise users can choose from 2 plans, priced at $5/month (Plus) and $9/month (Premium). A few features such as: malware scanning, 30-day backup, unlimited backup storage; are available only with the premium plan.
2. Captcha by BestWebSoft
This plugin takes a completely different approach to combat spam. Instead of analyzing comments that have been posted already, it tries to stop the problem at the root by enhancing screening of who is allowed to post a comment. This is done by providing a logical equation embedded within an image to be solved before comments are posted on your blog.
A few key features that this plugin offers are:
- Filter out bots by protecting your blog using an advanced captcha. This captcha is usually a math equation that must be solved before posting. It can be used to protect registration forms, comment sections, reset password forms etc.
- Customize the complexity of the captcha by adding in letters, numbers and images. You are also allowed to customize the style of equations that must be solved by users before they are given permission to perform an action such as commenting.
BestWebSoft offers this plugin with 3 plans, free, plus and pro. The pro version is priced at $19.90/year while the plus version is available for a one-time payment of $15. However, both paid versions allow only one website to utilize the plugin.
3. WordPress ReCaptcha
Similar to the plugin offered by BestWebSoft, this plugin also tries to filter out bots by using regular captchas as well as no captchas, a concept of running a simple preliminary check involving a simple checkbox to ensure the comment is being posted by a human. If this test raises a flag, then an advanced captcha is displayed which must be solved before proceeding further.
This relatively light and simple plugin offers to:
- Secure your login, comments and sign up sections with a captcha that is not frustrating for genuine users.
- The ability to change the complexity of the captcha, depending on the webmaster’s requirements.
- Works well with several CMS platforms, allowing you flexibility in setting up this plugin for different websites.
This plugin is completely free to use and has no paid plans to offer.
4. Stop Spammers Spam Prevention
This plugin is one of the most aggressive anti-spam plugins available for WordPress at the moment. It has the ability to perform over 20 checks for spam and malicious content and also offers geo blocking capabilities, which allow webmasters complete control over their comments section.
The features that this plugin boasts of are:
- Advanced Geo blocking – A highly aggressive feature that allows webmasters to blacklist whole countries from commenting on their website/blog.
- Compatibility – It integrates with both popular captcha and form plugins for WordPress like ReCaptcha, gravity forms etc.
- It also offers users a second chance if a comment is flagged by the plugin as spam, the user is asked to solve a captcha before they are given permission to post.
The Stop Spammers Spam Prevention plugin is also offered free of cost and there are no paid plans till date.
5. Antispam Bee
Antispam Bee is yet another solution to spam comments on your WordPress blog which uses a different method to battle spam. It maintains a public database to collect spam and checks all comments for formats/content that are known to be propagating spam.
The plugin offers several unique features such as:
- The ability to trust certain commenters and reward them using Gravatars (Globally recognized avatars).
- Match all incoming comments against a public database of internet spam, before comments are displayed on your website.
- A comprehensive dashboard that showcases all the information about your comment section that include detection rate, automatic removals, backup etc.
- Does not require the use of any captchas which are a hurdle and a source of frustration for the majority of users who encounter one.
Plugins make life easier for the webmasters who have to battle spam on their own, and with the features that these plugins offer; it would be wise to enlist the assistance of one or more from this list depending on the scope and the size of your problem as a website/blog owner.