Comments make blogs unique compared to other types of media. It is that dialogue that happens between readers and the author of the post that has made blogs popular.
But the problem is, spammers try to take advantage of it. They started using it to promote their website in an unethical way.
More than half of comments in blogs are spam nowadays, especially the blogs that rank high in Google search.
So how can you fight spam without wasting a huge amount of time deleting comments manually? Manual deletion will take you forever after your blog grows in popularity
This is what you are going to discover in this post.
- What is Spam Comment in WordPress?
- How to Stop Spam Comments in WordPress
What is Spam Comment in WordPress?
Spam comments are comments posted usually by bots with meaningless and irrelevant comments that are intended to promote a website or a link.
Here’s an example of a spam comment.
There are some common traits of spam comments.
- Not having an actual name.
- Long and ugly URL.
- Irrelevant comment.
These types of comments make your blog less professional. And they are also harmful to SEO.
So it’s essential to get rid of these comments. Here I’ll show you a few ways to get rid of spam comments.
How to Stop Spam Comments in WordPress
If you were to do it manually for all the spam comments on your site, then you will probably need to hire a full-time person for that, especially once your blog starts getting traction.
Luckily for us, there are solutions available to WordPress bloggers and site owners. Here is how you can drastically reduce the number of spam comments in your blog.
1. Activate Akismet Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin
Akismet is a plugin created by Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.com to fight spam. It is already used by millions of websites to filter spam comments every day.
It has been available since 2005 and has been catching over 7.5 million spam comments every hour.
Usually, it is automatically installed once you install WordPress. If not, then make sure to install it first.
After that, you will need to activate it. And for that, you will need a license for it to start filtering spam comments.
The plugin is a paid one, but you could get their basic plan which can be used on non-commercial sites for 50k monthly checks for the price that you want, which could be free. Check out our tutorial here to know more.
Or you could get their plus plan for only $5 per month.
Once you activate it, you will be automatically protected from 90% of spam comments.
2. Turn on Comment Moderation in WordPress
The next step you can apply is to enable comment moderation where you need to manually approve each comment before they appear on the site.
Yes, it won’t decrease spam but this enables you to control the environment of your comments, ensuring that your site only shows good non-spammy comments to your readers.
To do this, simply go to Settings in your WP dashboard area, then go to Discussion.
You can also use the Comment Moderation Queue where you can build a list of words, names, IPs, and URLs that make the comments queued for moderation. You can also hold a comment that contains a certain number of links in the queue.
You could also use the Comment Blacklist feature where you could make the comments that contain certain words or URLs or those that come from certain IPs go straight to trash. This saves you time.
All of these features are available on the same Settings page.
3. Turn Off Comments on Old Posts
Here’s the thing, most of the spam comments in your blog are probably on old posts. And most of the time, old posts don’t get many high-quality comments. So, you won’t lose much by not showing comments on older posts.
Ramsay from BlogTyrant used this strategy as scarcity to get more comments on newer posts. You could do the same.
And you can do so automatically from the Discussion settings page. Go to the other comment settings section.
Check the box next to “Automatically close comments on articles older than XX days.” You could then change the number to what you want. I see people use either 30 or 45 days most often. You can go for something more aggressive like 15 days.
4. Disable Comments
Another option, which is not cool by any means, is disabling comments altogether on your whole blog and move the discussion to other media like forums or Facebook groups. It may be a great alternative if you have these other means already available.
Copyblogger did this on their blog for a while when they weren’t able to control the spam, but they returned again to add them because having reader comments is what is most important in blogs.
If you don’t want the hassle and/or have another place to continue the discussion, then disabling comments might be your easiest bet to stop spam on your site.
You can do this on the Discussion page in the settings. After that, simply uncheck “Allow people to post comments on new articles.”
Older comments will be available. You can delete them manually from the comments page by selecting all of them and moving them to trash.
5. Add Google reCAPTCHA Verification
Another great option to help you decrease spam is to add a CAPTCHA, that challenges bots and asks people to prove that they are human before their comment is posted on your blog. This will help you drastically decrease the number of spam comments from bots.
And one of the most reliable captcha plugins that is very simple to use is the Google reCAPTCHA plugin.
It is a great reliable option that is simple to use and no gimmick or tricky quizzes that can make people abandon the thought of leaving a comment on your blog post altogether.
Created by the team at Best Web Soft, the plugin already has over 200k active installations. And you don’t need anything besides their free plan which can be installed on almost all forms including registration forms, login form, reset password form, contact form, custom form, and so on.
It comes with different looking theme options so you can find the one that best suits your blog.
The pro one enables you to integrate it with more plugins which may not be essential if your main focus is to decrease the number of spam comments.
6. Add a Web Application Firewall (Like Sucuri or Cloudflare)
Web Application Firewalls like Sucuri or Cloudflare can help you decrease the number of spammy visits your website receives altogether, as a result, this decreases possible spam comments.
Their servers check every visit before it comes to your WordPress host to block all the bad proxy traffic and bots. They enable you to block entire countries where you get most spam from with the click of a button. However, that might be a little aggressive, so make sure to think this through before you implement it.
A great benefit is that it can decrease bandwidth usage saving you money from your monthly hosting bills. :)
7. Use a Third-Party Comment System
The last option to consider is to stop using WordPress comments altogether and replace the native system with a third-party system that is proven to cut spam comments without the need to worry about all other things.
The most popular is Disqus. It has its own anti-spam software that is optimized over time to be able to moderate spam comments and block it. It learns from the behaviour of users on all their sites which is huge.
They partnered with Akismet as well to help develop their anti-spam capabilities.
One of the great features they offer is verifying the email address before leaving a comment. It does wonders. Also, commenters can request that their comments marked as spam be reviewed.
Disqus isn’t all gloomy. But if you plan to use it, one of their main problems is that it increases the load time of the page, which can be decreased by using the Disqus Conditional Load Plugin for free.
The plugin enables you to lazy load comments on the scroll, on click or normally after the page loads completely.
Overall, Disqus is a great alternative to decrease the number of spam comments you receive if you are willing to forfeit the native commenting system on WordPress.
Spam comments are a huge problem for most web owners. Luckily for you, with this guide, it won’t be a problem anymore.
You can start by disabling it if you don’t want all the hassle. You can also disable comments after certain days.
Make sure to activate Akismet as well.
Consider the comment moderation features available to help you combat spam.
And think about adding Google ReCAPATCHA to your forms, using a web application firewall, and/or using a third-party commenting system.
Tell me below your experience with spam and what you did to combat it.