Spam is a major concern for every WordPress blog, and usually doesn’t arrive in delicious “Jalapeno” flavor in a toasted corn tortilla.
Spam is nasty and relentless. In fact, I have a blog that has never allowed user comments, and it still gets dozens of spam comments every day!
Anyway, you don’t have to pay to protect yourself from the mindless robots that want to destroy your peace of mind, (I’m rtt talking about Fox News anchors!) so here are a few of the best free anti-spam plugins for blogs:
Akismet Spam Plugin
No serious post about blocking comment spam on WordPress sites is going to neglect Akismet. It comes standard on new installations of WordPress, and is used by millions of WordPress users; from beginner to advanced.
Features of Akismet:
- Automatically checks and filters every blog comment
- View every comment’s status history to see which were “spammed” by a moderator, or put in the “spam” folder automatically
- URL’s are shown to reveal hidden or disguised links
- See the number of comments approved by each user
- Optional “discard” feature that sends obvious spam right to hell, without even saving it.
Akismet claims to stop an average of over 7 million spam comments an hour these days, which is pretty impressive.
Akismet Plugin: To Free, or Not to Free?
For non-commercial blogs, you can “name your own price” when you sign up for Akismet.
Just like any site that asks for a donation, people don’t usually pay, so let’s call that their free version. For commercial sites, they have plans starting at $5 a month with more features like online backup of your WordPress site included.
Regardless of which plan you go with, you’ll need to register on their site and get an Akismet API key to activate the plugin.
*Warning: If you try to put too many blogs under one free key, you’ll get flagged, and asked to pay!
Akismet plugin: free spam prevention for your blog
Just like the others, SpamShield is an anti-spam plugin that blocks comment spam, trackback spam, and spam in your contact and other forms.
A WordPress Spam Filter with No CAPTCHAS
People can get annoyed when you ask them to read and retype those sometimes unintelligible characters called, “CAPTCHAS” to prove you aren’t an evil spam robot.
The problem? It’s not user-friendly, and I can’t tell what those characters are half the time. When I get an error, it makes me wish i never even tried to comment.
How the SpamShield Filters Works
SpamShield recognizes that spam comes at you from both robots and humans. The plugin works like a firewall, blocking the robot spam, then identifying the spam sent by evil humans with an algorithmic layer consisting of over 100 filters.
This filter works quietly in the background, so most of the time you won’t even have to think about the junk that’s being thrown at your blog. It deletes spam instantly instead of adding it to the comments queue, which wastes time and space.
Without thousands of spam comments in your WordPress database, your blog won’t be slowed down.
Trackback Validation and Spam Filtering
SpamShield’s trackback filter compares the client IP address of the incoming trackback against the IP address of where the link is supposedly originating. If they don’t match, it’s instantly zapped as spam.
Free Spam Filter: Personal or Commercial WP Sites
This plugin is free, and if you like it, you’re welcome to make a donation. See site for WordPress requirements and more info.
WordPress Zero Spam: Free Plugin
Another easy to install, maintenance free plugin to block spam is “Zero Spam.” They promise to “make blocking spam a cinch” and a spam-free site with no CAPTCHAS for users to type in to prove they arent a robot.
Here are some great features of the plugin:
- No CAPTCHA for users to type in
- No spam comment moderation queue
- Gravity Form, BuddyPress, and Contact Form 7 support
- Automatically blocks spammy IP addresses
- Optional comment / trackback logging in case you really care who’s spamming you
- Free plugin
Although this is a relatively new plugin, I see nothing but praise for it online, and on WordPress.org, there are still no negative reviews. (Out of 40 reviews) It’s developed by an impressive team of WordPress developers, so let’s assume they’ll continue to update and offer plugin support for some time.
Anti-Spam Plugin by CleanTalk
Another “install it and forget about it” free spam-blocking plugin with no CAPTCHA to consider that they bill as, “maximum protection against spam bots.” Not only does the filter stop new spam comments, registrations, and contact emails, but you can also check existing comments to quickly find and delete spam comments that are on your site.
Offers spam protection for:
- WordPress & JetPack comments
- WordPress, BuddyPress, bbPress, & WooCommerce registrations
- Contact form 7, Formidable Forms, JetPack contact form, Gravity Forms, and WooCommerce Review forms, as well as custom contact forms in WordPress
They also offer weekly reports, technical support, and a free mobile app to control the anti-spam filter for your website(s)
Need to remove existing WordPress Comment spam?
Most of these anti-spam plugins were designed to filter incoming spam, but what if you have 1500 spammy comments sitting in the queue? This isn’t good for your database, and might even affect the performance of your website.
There are some spam removal plugins that specialize in cleaning out your queue so you don’t have to waste your time moderating a huge number of comments.
- Try the User Spam Removal plugin at WordPress.org
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