Spam can become a really big problem when you are running a WordPress website or blog. Even under normal circumstances, without even attempting to make your blog popular, your website is likely to receive traffic from automated bots, scrapers and crawlers.
Almost 61.5% of all web traffic is non human as of 2013. This non human traffic component, as a percentage of total web traffic, is only increasing.
So non human traffic growth is outstripping the organic traffic growth from real humans browsing the web. Web bots are far easier to build than ever before and as a result spam seems to increase as a function of time.
Without effective automated counter measures, dealing with spam is time consuming, annoying and painfully slow.
Free Anti Spam Solutions
WP Spam-Shield Anti Spam
The spam protector of every WordPress site by default. The plugin provides an excellent solution at no cost at all.
For a non commercial website and even commercial websites with medium traffic, one of the three freely available anti spam solutions will certainly be sufficient. For example, many sites only need Akismet to keep spam away. But Akismet’s free plan is capped at 50,000 checks for comment spam and beyond the 50,000 spam checks available for every month, you’ll need to subscribe for the Plus plan which starts at $ 5 per month.
Anti-Spam by Clean Talk
Currently most WordPress sites use Akismet by default, as it is part of every WordPress installation. There are 3 free spam tools that I like and would rather use than a premium anti spam solution. But at $ 8 per year for full spam protection, this plugin offers great value. This spam protection service receives 1.5 to 2 million spam check requests on a daily basis, of which 99.8% is considered spam.
CleanTalk is a cloud based service engineered to stop spam comments, spam registrations, spam mail via contact forms and spam created by trackbacks. And apart from that, the plugin also fends off spam orders, spam in widgets and spam email subscriptions.
This simple plugin detects and stops spam with no CAPTCHAs or other math-based, human/bot testing techniques. The same is true of free anti spam plugins, although they require a greater degree of admin moderation which costs time. These anti spam checks annoy visitors and ruin the entire user experience. People are far more likely to leave a comment on your website without multiple, painfully boring anti spam checks.
Spam plugins need to work in tandem with other plugins.
Anti-Spam works with pretty much all WordPress form plugins. The plugin functions seamlessly with Contact form 7, Jetpack’s Contact form, Fast Secure Contact form, Ninja forms, Landing pages, Gravity forms and any theme-based custom contact form.
For websites in the eCommerce space, which specialize in selling digital products via WooCommerce, this plugin filters out spam bot registrations and spam reviews. Anti-Spam is compatible with all the popular caching plugins as well.
How Does It Work ? Extra Features
You might be wondering how the plugin works. Well it looks for signs that a spam bot is at work. For example:
Comments like “Nice Post”, which don’t necessarily add too much value to your website may be allowed by the plugin as it isn’t considered spam.
The plugin also comes with an Analytics Dashboard on their website which you can access.
I reached out to them to inquire about their false positive rate. Denis (Plugin Author) says that the plugin has a false positive rate of 0.001%. The probability that legitimate comments get flagged as spam is nearly zero.
Multiple false positive spam tests ensure that legitimate comments make it through the spam filters. And in addition, you have access to spam attack logs for the previous 45 days, to help identify if your spam filter blocked anything you might deem legitimate.
They also have a remarkable rating of 4.9 on a 5 point scale with 844 reviews rated 5/5 for a plugin that has only been downloaded 30,000+ times.
I do not recommend a premium service for a newly started, low traffic website. But if your traffic starts to grow, as surely it will with time, so too will spam. When it becomes far too much for a free service to handle, then perhaps you can try out Anti-Spam by Clean Talk.