As a website owner, isn’t it exhilarating to see a growth in incoming traffic? Sure it is! We all have experienced it! However, when your site gains traction, spam is one of the most unpleasant things you must tend to. When your website gets decent traffic, many unwelcome spammers join the party. Most of these spammers are automated spambots.
How bad could this be, you ask?
Well, let’s see. First, if you don’t moderate comments (i.e. if you directly publish all comments without approval), tons of irrelevant content (spam) will fill your posts and pages. This will ultimately reduce your SEO score, thanks to automated spam bots.
You will need a lot of time if you decide to manually moderate each comment, checking them for spam and authenticity. This technique has another disadvantage. Spam comments will keep filling your WordPress database without requiring significant human effort. Spam comments weigh down your database and make it slow.
Of course, we have many solutions for this problem. This article lists the best anti-spam WordPress plugins. You can choose any of them (make sure you go through their features first) and enjoy the pleasures of hassle-free comment moderation.
We’ll begin with the simplest of WordPress spam protection plugins.
Best Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins
1. Zero Spam
Registration and comment spam will be no more with the powerful Zero Spam. Zero Spam is effortless to use WordPress anti-spam plugin that offers you protection from spambots. What’s cool about this tool is that little work is necessary to install and activate it and make it work for you. Those two actions are all that is necessary to let Zero Spam do the magic.
If you are ready to eliminate spam, start with the right foot forward and employ Zero Spam. Zero Spam features include no captcha, no moderation queues, caching plugins support, blocking fishy IP addresses, and comes with optional logging. Moreover, Zero Spam is compatible with numerous plugins, like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms and BuddyPress, to name a few.
Akismet employs a web service powered by cloud servers, which evaluates comments for spam. Developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress, this is one of the most popular cloud-based and free anti-spam plugins for WordPress. First, you need to connect to the cloud service using an API key obtained by registering for the service.
A couple of comments blocked by Akismet
The plugin uploads all incoming comments to Akismet’s cloud servers, where highly specialized algorithms evaluate the validity of the comments. Some are caught red-handed and shifted to the spam queue. The squeaky-clean ones are directly moderated and published. If Akismet gets stuck, i.e., can’t decide whether a particular plugin is spam, it moves the comment to the moderation queue.
Akismet is free for personal and noncommercial use, with a monthly minimum of 50,000 comment checks. The paid plans start from $5 a month, which is a pretty sweet deal for spam. It also seamlessly integrates with the Jetpack and Contact Form 7 plugins.
3. Anti-Spam by CleanTalk—No Captcha, No Comments & Registrations Spam
CleanTalk is a premium cloud-based anti-spam plugin for WordPress, blocking spam comments, spam bot signups, and trackbacks.
The plugin is very similar to Akismet in that the incoming comments are uploaded to CleanTalk’s cloud servers where they undergo multiple validation checks. The comments are then moved to the spam queue or are approved and published depending on the results.
Cloud-based protection options from CleanTalk
The plugin maintains advanced statistics of blocked comments and a spam comment log. It also supports many third-party plugin compatibilities, such as W3 Total Cache, Jetpack, Contact Form 7, WooCommerce, BuddyPress, bbPress, and WP-Members.
It offers a 14-day free trial, after which a commercial license costs $8/year for a single website.
4. Anti-Spam Bee
Anti-Spam Bee is a completely free WordPress plugin for personal and commercial uses. Unlike Akismet, Anti-Spam Bee does not require user registration. However, this plugin does not use cloud-powered spam detection algorithms. It relies on server-side techniques, such as matching it against a public spam database, validating the IP address of commenters, using regular expressions, and trusting commenters with Gravatar as nonspammers.
Host of options offered by Anti-Spam Bee
It also clears the WordPress database of previously stored spam every few days, preventing it from slowing down. Moreover, the plugin displays spam statistics and emails the daily spam blockage statistics to the moderators.
5. Stop Spammers Security | Block Spam Users, Comments, Forms
This plugin is yet another awesome server and client-side anti-spam WordPress plugin with over 20 different checks for spam comments. The plugin also prevents login page spam and has over 12 pages of options for heavy user customization.
One of the many settings page of this plugin
In the case of spam detection, users get a second chance to post their comments or log in. In such cases, a captcha challenge will appear. Upon determining which comments are acceptable, the plugin supports Google reCaptcha, OpenCaptcha, and SolveMedia Captcha as the captcha challenge services.
At this time, you might be getting many spammy comments that you would like to eliminate. You are in luck, Anti-spam is the perfect example of an excellent solution to block comment spam. Do you know what’s best? Anti-spam is – hence the name – a WordPress plugin that gets rid of annoying spam. When it comes to Anti-spam, all it takes is to download and install the plugin and you are ready to roll. Indeed, there is no need to performing any editing and setting up; Anti-spam works upon installation.
One of the features of Anti-spam is storing blocked comments in the spam folder. You can manually delete them or even approve some comments if needed. Bear in mind, Anti-spam is exclusive to blocking comment spam only. If searching for other spam and malware protection, you better look into any other anti-spam WordPress plugins in this collection.
7. BulletProof Security
BulletProof Security is an all-in-one website protector to keep your pages operating flawlessly regardless of spam, attacks and other malicious activities. It keeps your online space protected and safe at all times. Besides, pre-install a plugin like BulletProof Security and never run into any issue after the volume of traffic increases. Better be safe early on than sorry afterward. BulletProof Security rocks a one-click setup wizard, ensuring all users benefit from its amazing features.
BulletProof Security features are malware scanner, login monitoring, backups, and front- and back-end maintenance mode. At any time, when you find yourself in need of more amenities, you can always upgrade to BulletProof Security Pro and make a difference. However, in many cases, the free version is more than enough.
8. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security is a full-blown security system for your WordPress website or blog. Instead of running into any inconveniences, let Wordfence Security take care of the smooth operation of your page in the background. Wordfence Security is way more than “just” an anti-spam plugin for WordPress, as it takes care of all these other stuff, too. With more than three million downloads, you know that Wordfence Security must be doing something right.
Wordfence Security is both a firewall and a security scanner. In the admin, you can always see what is going on, how many threats, spam and possible attacks Wordfence Security prevented. Of course, this includes spam as well. And if you would ever want to take things to a whole different level, you can always upgrade to Wordfence Security pro plan and enjoy an even thicker layer of protection.
9. Blackhole for Bad Bots
You can now create your virtual black hole for spammers and hackers. Blackhole for Bad Bots is a WordPress anti-spam plugin that protects you from harmful bots. How the tool operates is very simple. It adds a hidden link to the footer of your page that no human eye can spot. From then on, Blackhole for Bad Bots removes all the robots that try to follow the link. Moreover, the more advanced bots, who manage to enter the link, get thrown in the virtual black hole. The plugin does not affect real users and good bots.
Blackhole for Bad Bots’ setup process is swift and straightforward. It is also fast and lightweight, ensuring it does not impact your website’s performance and load speed. Last, Blackhole for Bad Bots is updated regularly, always improving and innovating.
10. WPBruiser (No Captcha Anti-Spam}
From the plugin’s page:
“WPBruiser (formerly GoodBye Captcha) is an anti-spam and security plugin is based on algorithms that identify spam bots without any annoying and hard to read captcha images.”
The developer claims the plugin does not display any captchas or common validation mechanisms to the visitor. The plugin does not let spam enter your WordPress site. However, this poses a risk if the plugin reports a false positive.
Update: Mihai was kind enough to clarify this for us. He says the plugin allows logging all blocked content for any form it protects.
- The Settings tab has an option: “Keep Blocked Submitted Content For,” which defaults to 10 days. Any blocked content older than this value will be automatically deleted. Of course, the admin can change this value. The plugin will not log a blocked attempt’s content by setting the value to zero days.
- One can also see every blocked request information. Simply go to the Reports tab. For each blocked attempt, you can “View Blocked Content.” Click on that, and you’ll see the formatted blocked attempt.
General Settings page of WPBruiser
This is a slight disadvantage. Goodbye Captcha is a great choice if you are willing to take this small risk. This plugin integrates with the WordPress login and registration page apart from the comment form. It also has features like IP blacklisting, optional logging, statistics, and report generation. It is compatible with a host of third-party plugins.
As a WordPress site owner, I think picking the right anti-spam WordPress plugin depends on the characteristics of the traffic you’re receiving.
If you are mostly publishing “list type” articles, then the chances are that your visitors will be suggesting new or different products on the list. Anti-spam algorithms might consider this advertising spam, moving such valid comments directly to the spam queue. Therefore, I recommend going through the spam queue if the number isn’t so high.
The local solution would do just fine if you have moderate traffic with active/recurring/inquisitive comments. If you are new to WordPress, Akismet is your best bet. However, a cloud-based solution like Akismet or WangGuard would be awesome if you run a typical viral site.
You can also follow these tips to keep your website clean from unnecessary files, database entries, etc. Keeping your website clean will improve your website’s load speed. For more information about WordPress performance, make sure to read this guide.
Have we missed your favorite anti-spam WordPress plugin? Let us know, and we’ll add it to our list! Thanks for reading!