One of my blogs was overwhelmed last week with quite a bit of comment spam. Luckily my host locked it down for me until I resolved the issue. Not too much fun when your site is shut down, but here are some remedies that will help you avoid your site from becoming 403’d – the HTTP code for Forbidden. In other words, a person browsing to your website is not allowed to. 🙁
The site that received all the comment spam is about 3 years old and I did not have it tricked out with any other comment spam protection other than Akismet that comes with WordPress, the self-hosted version. Akismet catches the majority of comment spam that comes by your blog. But, there are other tools to help Akismet take some of the pressure off of being the sole spam guard on your blog.
I took a look at the following WordPress plugins to help stop this from happening again. You can find WordPress plugins at the WordPress Plugin Directory site as well as reviewing in more detail a plugin’s author and website to find out more about the plugin and see what people are saying about a particular plugin.
1. WP Captcha-Free
The first one up is WP Captcha-Free. Here’s the WordPress Directory link to WP Captcha-Free and the accompanying author and plugin website.
If you haven’t heard of captcha it’s a challenge-response system to prove that a response is not computer generated. If you’ve ever entered information on a web page that required you to type in some funny looking alpha-numeric characters, that’s captcha – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It’s a way to tell if a human is entering the data.
Well, WP Captcha-Free does this with your WordPress comments without forcing commenters to type in anything.
WP Captcha-Free works along side Akismet and is not to be meant as a replacement. They handle comment spam in two seperate ways, so they complement each other.
Another powerful weapon against comment spam is WP-SpamFree. Find it here at the WordPress Plugin Directory under WP-SpamFree Anti-Spam and the accompanying author and plugin website. Here’s the tagline at the WordPress Plugin Directory:
“An extremely powerful WordPress anti-spam plugin that eliminates blog comment spam, including trackback and pingback spam. Finally, you can enjoy a spam-free WordPress blog! Includes spam-free contact form feature as well.”
Man, after reading that, who wouldn’t want to install it. 🙂
3. WP Super Cache
When you get hit by comment spam the bandwidth at your blog will spike, possibly causing concerns for the network administrators at the hosting company your using to host your blog. When the bandwidth hits a certain threshold, they’ll shut your site down temporarily. Or offer you an upgraded service. 😉
Well, to circumvent your hosting company from shutting down your site, you can use the WordPress plugin WP Super Cache. You can find it here at the WordPress Plugin Directory as WP Super Cache as well as the accompanying author and plugin website.
Here’s how it works:
“This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.”
“…Heavier and more expensive…” refers to what needs to be generated on the server that serves up your blog posts. The more you can cut down on those processes, the quicker users who come to your blog will be able to view your blog’s content. This helps cut down on bandwidth.
Historically, WP Super Cache was used for what was and is known as the Digg effect. When an article (blog post) becomes popular on the content sharing site Digg and a whole host of viewers come rushing over to your blog to read your valuable stuff, your server takes a whoppin’. But with WP Super Cache, you’ll be good to go because your content will be served up quicker.
Well, come to find out, WP Super Cache will also help with blog comment spam and possible stop your hosting site from temporarily shutting down your blog.
That’s it for this blog post. I’m going to start writing a comment policy and there’s some pretty good ones out there to guide me. So stick around.
Photo Credit: rallycarter