Reduce Spam Comments in WordPress

As a website or even a webpage grows in popularity, so does the problem with spam comments.  Everybody wants to be seen on your popular post and the best way to do this is to spam your comments.  Sometimes popularity is not even the key factor.  The basis in spamming is to keep sending unwanted comments in, with the hope that a few make it past the filters.  They always do.  So what can a webmaster do to combat the problem of spammers taking over the comment section?

Here are a few suggestions we have for fighting spam comments in WordPress.

Remove the URL Field

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One easy suggestion would be to remove the URL field for people to leave their website link.  Sure, it makes it harder for you to see your commenter’s website, however this is one of the biggest reasons spam comments exist.  They are looking for links back to their crummy content.  Just think of it as refocusing the comment section on discussion rather than your commenters getting a plug in for their website.

While we are talking about disabling things, you can also disable HTML in the WordPress comments. There are several ways of doing this, from editing your functions.php file or finding a WordPress plugin that does the job.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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Trackbacks are not really necessary for every blog out there and they are a big portion of comment spam out there.  Why not disable trackbacks all together?  You can find the option to disable trackbacks in WordPress from the WordPress dashboard.  Simply navigate to Settings > Discussion.  Unclick the check mark box for allowing link notifications from other blogs and then save.  You can also disable this on a per post basis.  Simply navigate to the post in question from within the WordPress dashboard, and then in the Discussion section, uncheck “Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this page”.

Turn Off Comments on Older Posts

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Is there really a good reason to leave a comment on a post that is more than a few months old?  I don’t think so either.  A lot of the good discussion for a post comes on the day it is posted or maybe up to a week or so after it has been posted.  You also have the option to turn off comments on older posts. From the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Discussions.  In the area for “Other comment settings” you should see a section that says, “Automatically close comments on articles older than X days”.  You can set the number of days to any value you wish.  Personally I think 30 days is a good place to start.  Once you have done so, save and your settings should take effect.

So, is there a perfect way to combat spam comments in WordPress? I am afraid not.  However, I would suggest taking all these tips, try them out and see what works best for your WordPress-powered blog.  You have to remember that spam commenters are always updating their tactics so it is up to you to do your best to stay one step ahead of the gang.  Have any other comment spam fighting suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

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