Sifting through spam comments can be one of the most or least enjoyable experiences of operating a website. We tend to have fun with the spam we get around here, but it’s easy to see it being a major inconvenience for many. In truth, it is for us too. We just try to make the best of it. Over the next few minutes here we’ll look over some of the more cleverly designed anti spam plugins for WordPress.
A note before we go: yes, there’s Akismet. Akismet checks all comments against an internal database and flags those that appear to be spam. We don’t have any problem at all with Akismet, it’s a great basic offering that serves a purpose of need, and it’s conveniently pre-installed with WordPress.
The anti spam plugins listed here go above and beyond that basic level of service without resorting to captcha and/or other annoying gimmicks. If you find yourself still bothered by copious amounts of spam despite Akismet, or want cool extra features, check these anti spam plugins out!
Anti Spam Plugins for WordPress
Anti-Spam by CleanTalk is strictly an anti-spam solution, focused purely on filtering out spam. It safeguards for comments, registrations, and contact forms, along with a host of other neat anti spam features. It works by checking input against a remote database that runs a battery of tests to detect spam.
- Stops spam comments.
- Stops spam registrations.
- Stops spam contact emails.
- Stops spam orders.
- Stops spam bookings.
- Stops spam subscriptions.
- Stops spam in widgets.
- Check existing comments for spam.
- Works completely in the background
- Improves overall website performance
- Eliminates false positives with corrective feedback
- Includes anti-spam features for Ninja Forms and other form plugins
- Registration anti-spam
- Stops email harvesters
- Faster than cloud-based anti-spam plugins
WPBruiser is an up-and-coming plugin with a small current user base but outstanding reviews and features that receives regular updates. It couples anti-spam protection with an additional layer of brute force protection that is completely invisible to legitimate end users. WPBruiser is completely self contained (doesn’t rely on a remote database) and detects spam before it’s ever left rather than using resources to sort it after the fact. They have really great taste in mascots, too!
- Integration with standard WordPress features
- Ability to set the maximum number of characters for each comment field
- Logging with the ability to enable/disable
- Automatically Block IP Addresses
- Automatically purge logs older than a certain number of days
- Manually white-list, block/unblock IP Address (IPV4 and IPV6)
- Properly detects client IP Address when using CloudFlare, Incapsula, Cloudfront, RackSpace, Sucuri CloudProxy, AWS ELB
- No requests to external APIs
An established plugin that complies with European data privacy standards. Antispam Bee is completely free for personal or commercial use and uses both remote and local databases to protect you from that lovely processed meat byproduct. It’s even adfree despite being free for commercial use!
- Trust approved commenters and/or commenters with a Gravatar.
- Validate the IP address of commenters.
- Search local spam database for commenters previously marked as spammers.
- Match against a public anti-spam database.
- Delete existing spam after n days.
- Limit approval to comments/pings (will delete other comment types).
- Optionally exclude trackbacks and pingbacks from spam detection.
- Display spam statistics on the dashboard, including daily updates of spam detection rate and a total of blocked spam comments.
WangGuard is a little bit different from the others on this list in that it’s a specialist. It doesn’t guard against comment and form spam, but instead focuses solely on registration spam and spam users. It is compatible with standard WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress, and bbPress registrations. It complies with the most stringent European data privacy standards and sends all communication via SSL.
- Free API key for personal use
- API works over SSL
- Clean your database of unwanted users and sploggers.
- Centralized database of sploggers.
- Block users emails by domains.
- Configure from Admin panel
- Valid HTML
- I18n language translation support
Whether you’re unhappy with Akismet, need to move on, or are just experimenting with what else is out there, this list ought to give you the best possible launchpad to find what you need. It’s hard to pick a single (or even a few) anti spam plugins and say ‘these are the best for this purpose’. Each has its own unique qualities, and ultimately which one works best is up to the characteristics of the traffic that you receive on your site. Check them out, and if you have opinions of your own please tell me about them in the comments! (unless you’re a spammer, and then we’ll sic on of these guys on you 😀 )