How to stop blog comment spam on a WordPress blog

Blog comment spam can be a significant problem once your blog begins to attract more visitors. It can be time consuming to deal with, so setting up your blog to stop blog comment spam is important. The first step reducing blog spam on your WordPress site is to sign up for an Akismet account.

Akismet (by Automattic, the makers of WordPress) is free for personal, non-commercial sites and blogs for unlimited non-commercial sites (up to 80,000 checks across all sites), with commercial plans available for $5-50/month.

How to install Akismet on your blog

  • Download the Akismet plugin from wordpress.org/plugins/akismet, and then upload the Akismet plugin to your blog.
  • Install the Akismet plugin directly from your WordPress admin site.
    In the WordPress admin, select Plugins > Add New, and then search for Akismet, and then click the Install Now button.

After installing the Akismet plugin, you’ll need to activate the plugin and sign up for an Akismet API key. Go to akismet.com/wordpress and click the “Get an Akismet API Key” link. Once you’ve signed up and gotten your API key, you can enter your API key via Settings > Akismet (or Jetpack > Akismet, if you have Jetpack installed).

Another way to prevent comment spam

Another way to prevent unwanted spam comments is to change your blog comment settings and prevent users from commenting on posts older than X days, disallow anonymous comments, limit how many links a comment can contain before it gets held for moderation, etc.

How to change comment options in WordPress

In your WordPress admin, go to Settings > Discussion to toggle several comment settings. For example, you can disable comments completely on your blog by deselecting the “Allow people to post comments on new articles” (this can be overridden on a per article basis).
You can also control whether users can comment anonymously by toggling the “Comment author must fill out name and e-mail” checkbox. Or auto-close the comments on an article after X days to prevent people from commenting on older articles.

By toggling the “Comment must be manually approved” checkbox, you can set whether an comment appears automatically after a visitor posts the form or whether you need to manually approve the comment before it appears on the site. There are also sections to control how many links can appear in a comment before it is held for moderation (and must be approved by an administrator). Or you can create lists of disallowed words or IP addresses to control whether a comment will be held for moderation or be considered spam.

If you use CommentLuv, Disqus, or other third-party plugins

CommentLuv attracts a lot of spammers, just by having the code on your website. To reduce spam, you will need to use their own spam plugin called GASP. Disqus does a fantastic job of handling spam all on its own, but your visitors will be mixed on whether they like using the commenting system or not (it seems to be love or hate!) For advanced topics on third-party commenting system, check back soon – and subscribe to our newsletter for updates!

Author Jen deHaan

Jen deHaan is a freelance graphic and web designer, fascinated with great layout and usability. She has been working in the software industry since 2001, and has held positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Motorola. Jen has written and contributed to over 20 print publications on web design that have been published by Peachpit, Adobe Press, and Wiley. She is also a professional pet blogger at DOGthusiast, and owns a small business called Stylish Canine.

More posts by Jen deHaan

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • cora says:

    This is one of my big gripes with having my (work) website on WordPress, the sheer amount of spam – I got over 5000 spam comments in the space of 7 months! I couldn’t justify the £20 per month (when I enquired) for Akismet – on top of my photography gallery site, and webhosting (as well as other business costs) just to stop spam and has put me off of WordPress terribly – although, I’d like to have my Pet Blog there…it’s something I need to really think about I suppose. I hadn’t heard of the other plugins though – thank you, I shall go and take a look.

  • Jen Jelly says:

    I really lucked out by finding out about Akismet early on – it didn’t take long to realize how ridiculous of a problem spam really is without it. It’s definitely a plugin I’d recommend to any blogger; set it and forget it. And then watch as your spam comments disappear. Great information.

  • MyDogLikes says:

    Completely agree – Akismet is a MUST on a WordPress blog. It rarely lets any spam slip through and I have only ever come across a couple comments blocked that should not have been.

    I just checked our stats and Akismet has caught over 21,000 spam comments in the past 6 months! Sorting those by hand would just not be practical!!

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