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Last Updated on
April 19, 2023

How to Stop Comment Spam on Your WordPress Site

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Is your WordPress blog being flooded with comment spam? Does it take you several hours each week to sift through these comments, deleting spam and approving those you want to keep? I know your pain.

Your comments should be a positive space for your readers to express themselves and engage with your work - but they often take a turn for the worse.

If you find yourself in this position, you are not alone. Fortunately there are steps you cant take to prevent WordPress comment spam in the future. Once you make a few critical (yet simple) changes, you may be surprised at how quickly the spam comes to an end.

4 Tips to Reduce WordPress Comment Spam

Want to keep comments on your WordPress website, but don't want to deal with the endless string of spam that comes with it?

There are steps you can take. Numerous successful websites are able to keep a clean and civil comment section, without paying a team of moderators to work around the clock.

Here are my tips:

1. Configure your discussion settings

Many people jump past this and immediately begin their search for a plug-in or alternate solution. Don’t make this mistake.

Here is an ironclad tip for stopping WordPress comment spam: check the box to manually approve every comment. This means comments will only show publicly once you've read and approved them, which you can do from your WordPress dashboard.

Preventing WordPress comment spam manually
A look at the comment section in the WP-admin dashboard, where you can manually approve or remove comments.

This is the most direct way to avoid displaying spam comments on your site (aside from disabling comments altogether, of course). But it does mean taking more time out of your schedule to review and manually approve or deny each comment. You need to consider whether you are okay with that tradeoff.

Note that you can also experiment with the “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” setting. This way, once a legitimate party submits one comment, they can do so again in the future without the need for your approval.

This may provide a

2. Activate Akismet

The Akismet anti-spam plugin

Upon installing WordPress on your website, you'll notice the Akismet plugin already accessible on your plugin dashboard.

Akismet is a plugin that millions of WordPress websites use to stop comment spam. It's completely free - though if you have more powerful needs, there are paid subscriptions available too.

The paid features are unnecessary for the majority of sites, though, unless your site is serving millions of readers.

With Akismet (or another anti-spam plugin) in place, a large number of spam comments will be weeded out on your behalf. But don’t worry, you can always review your spam comments from time to time to make sure nothing legitimate snuck in past the filter.

Other popular WordPress comment spam plugins include:

Feel free to experiment with all these plugins, tracking the results of each one. You may soon find that one works better for your blog than the rest.

3. Add captcha verification

You'll find most WordPress comment spam is automated. With the success rate of comment spam, it's only a viable tactic for spammers if done at a mass scale.

Luckily, automated bot-spam is pretty easy to detect and prevent.

With WP-reCAPTCHA, for example, you can make a user prove they are human before leaving a comment. This will not have any impact on manually submitted comment spam, but it will take care of spam bots.

It will also deter many human spammers as well, as it lets them know that the site's webmaster is actively on the lookout for spam.

A simple step like this will likely stop 80% or more of your comment spam right away.

4. Remove the website URL field from the comment form

Most spam comments are only useful to the spammer if they can get a link with their comment.

This may be to link to unscrupulous sites, but more often, it's a cheap search engine optimization (SEO) tactic designed to get a backlink to the spammer's site.

Although comment links are no longer effective for SEO, you'll still find people flock to any open comment section that allows links - especially if your site has strong domain authority.

If you eliminate the URL field, however, there is no reason for an automated or human spammer to leave a comment. You'll find spammers don't bother and move on to another site.

Conclusion - How to Deal with WordPress Comment Spam

WordPress powers tens of millions of websites - 43% of all live websites across the internet, in fact. So it's easy to see why spammers flock to WordPress sites, and the path of least resistance - the comment section.

Comments can be a great tool to add value to your posts, but only if they're kept clean and spam-free. If you do nothing to prevent this, you can expect a flood of spam before long.

Take the four tips outlined above on board for your site. Just one of these methods may work out to reduce almost all of your WordPress comment spam, in one fell swoop.

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