Top WordPress Plugins to Fight Spam

You could say that spam is pretty much a fact of life when it comes to the internet. It comes in many forms, and all are irritating to different degrees. If you want to keep your site clean and free of spam, there are options. To give you an idea of what you can call on for help, here is a list of five of the top WordPress plugins to fight spam.

Akismet

Akismet is one of the more popular WordPress plugins when it comes to fighting spam.  It basically acts as a guard for your site’s comment section.  When somebody posts a comment to your site, the plugin will check the comment against the Akismet web service to determine if it appears to be spam.  This really helps you save time when it comes to checking spam, as the web service contains a database of comments that were marked as spam by other website owners.  If, for some reason you cannot reach the plugin’s servers, Akismet will automatically try once again when a connection is restored.

The main strength of Akismet is its reporting.  It’s likely that you will be hit by the same spammer more than once, so it’s a definite plus to be able to see a history of comments.  Akismet lets you view a comment status history that displays comments that were either deemed spam or not by the service, as well as by a moderator.  Moderators also have the power to view a user history that lists their approved comments.  Another plus of the plugin is the way it highlights links found in comments.  This is important due to the fact that so many spammers post links in their comments to try to drive your visitors to their sites.

Link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/

Bad Behavior

The Bad Behavior plugin is one that takes spam prevention to a whole other level.  It not only prevents spammers from being able to post useless comments.  In fact, it also helps in keeping them from even visiting your site most of the time. 

Bad Behavior works in a different manner to most plugins that deal with spam prevention.  While many such plugins only look at the spam comments, Bad Behavior also analyzes the way in which the comments are being delivered and the software that’s being used.  So , not only will you be protected from pre-existing spam that has made its way around blogs and other sites, but you will also be protected from new forms of spam in many cases. 

As Bad Behavior keeps your site clean of spammers and their useless comments, your site’s load will decrease.  In addition, you can count on cleaner site logs and worry less about denial of service problems.  To get the most out of Bad Behavior, it’s recommended that you use it along with other spam prevention services.

If you are somewhat skeptical of the Bad Behavior plugin for some reason, don’t be.  Installing and configuring the plugin can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.  There are thousands of site that use its services, including SourceForge and the United States Department of Education, just to name a couple.

Link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bad-behavior/

reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA is an anti-spam plugin that takes traditional CAPTCHAs and adds a twist. In case you are not too familiar with what a CAPTCHA is, it’s a technology that was invented to require human input as a way of preventing spam.  When a visitor is ready to register, post a comment, etc., a CAPTCHA will appear and prompt them to type in the random text or whatever is presented as a test.  This usually helps to prove that the visitor is human, and not a spam bot.  While it does provide an extra line of defense, some spammers have been able to find ways to work around traditional CAPTCHAs.

reCAPTCHA improves on the traditional CAPTCHA system by using words that cannot be read by software during the process of digitizing books.  The plugin takes these select words and distorts them even more to make it even harder for software to detect them.  Now, if you are worried that your visitors may become frustrated with solving these CAPTCHAs, there are options.  If a certain CAPTCHA is too hard to solve, the visitor can request another one.  Another fallback option is to request an audio challenge that may offer a solution that is easier to understand.

Link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-recaptcha/

WP Hashcash

WP Hashcash is a powerful plugin that serves as a buffer between your site and spam bots.  There’s no shortage of spam bots in cyberspace, and this plugin was made keeping that in mind.  Before a visitor can post a comment to your site, Hashcash will require them to use obfuscated JavaScript to submit a proof-of-work.  Doing so will indicate that an actual human opened your website instead of a spam bot.  If they do not pass the JavaScript check, the plugin gives you three options to deal with the comment.  The first option, which is also the default setting, is to put the comment into moderation.  The second option is to put the comment in the Akismet web service queue, which we discussed earlier.  The final option is to simply delete the comment.

Although Hashcash is powerful in its function, it only blocks spam and will not affect your real comments.  It will also help prevent the majority of trackback or pingback spam, plus offer protection for WordPress, BuddyPress, and WordPress Multi-User signup pages.  It’s compatible with the popular Akismet plugin, and works well with the Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari web browsers.  As a side note, if you decide to use Hashcash, make sure your WordPress theme includes the wp_head and comment_form actions.

Link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-hashcash/

bcSpamBlock

bcSpamBlock is another WordPress plugin that serves as a buffer between your site and spam bots.  It’s similar to the Hashcash plugin in that it uses JavaScript to determine whether or not a comment poster is a spam bot or a human.  If the visitor has JavaScript enabled, bcSpamBlock will essentially remain silent and undetected.  If JavaScript is not enabled, however, the visitor will be asked to copy and paste a random code into an input box as a confirmation that they are human.  Extended functionality comes in the form of the prevention of trackback and pingback spam as well.  Best of all, bcSpamBlock is lightweight.

Link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bcspamblock/

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