DiggingIntoWordPress

by Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr

15 Anti-Spam Plugins for WordPress

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During the recent book update, we needed to make some room for the new WordPress-3.1 content. The book is already over 400 pages and growing. So we have to make some hard decisions about which content is useful but maybe not needed in the book. And, as useful as long lists of anti-spam plugins might be, moving them from the book to the blog seems like a good way to free up some room while keeping the information available. So without further ado, here is a quick list of 15 anti-spam plugins to help you run a more user-friendly, hassle-free comment system.

Akismet
The best anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Bundled with WordPress, Akismet requires a registration key, but is easy to setup and provides excellent “set-it-and-forget-it” spam protection for WordPress.
bcSpamBlock
JavaScript-based anti-spam plugin that uses JavaScript to filter out spam quietly and discretely. Users without JavaScript must prove their legitimacy via copy-&-paste CAPTCHA exercise.
Comment Spam Stopper
Blue Anvil’s anti-spam plugin is CAPTCHA-based and includes JavaScript validation to ensure that required fields in the comment form have been populated with data. To save time, the CAPTCHA field is not displayed when logged into Admin.
Comment Spam Trap
Delivers a double death blow by adding a hidden spam field and an identical but required CAPTCHA field. This simple logic tricks mortal spam bots into revealing themselves and getting blocked. Also blocks trackback spam and optionally sends email notifications of anything it blocks.
Cookies for Comments
Takes a different approach by adding a randomly generated stylesheet URL to your theme. When that URL is requested by the browser, a cookie is set that is required for the visitor/user to leave a comment. The plugin homepage is kinda thin, so scan the WordPress Forum to gain more insight about this remarkable plugin.
Did You Pass Math?
Requires the user to solve a simple math problem, like “what’s 1+2?” If they can’t do it, they’re considered a bot and the comment is blocked. Simple yet effective anti-spam plugin with nothing to configure – just set and forget.
JSSpamBlock
Uses JavaScript to filter out spam bots and their filthy comments. Legitimate users prove their identity by entering a given number. Provides fallback for non-JavaScript visitors.
Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam
A full-featured CAPTCHA-based anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Requires all commentators to identify a random word before comment submission. Words are displayed as images and are completely customizable. Features: random font display, no cookies required, no JavaScript required, auto-generated audio for visually impaired users, selective blocking of trackbacks and pingbacks, and much more. First choice for full-flavored CAPTCHA plugin.
reCAPTCHA Plugin
Displays words from old books that users must correctly interpret. Uses the popular reCAPTCHA service that is used on popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Upside: use of this service helps to digitize old books. Downside: requires a key to work.
Referrer Bouncer
Referrer Bouncer provides powerful protection against referrer spam. Easy to use and requires no configuration. As it says, “It is like the strong silent bouncer at your favorite club.” The instant cure for the referrer spam that ails you.
Simple Trackback Validation
Solid protection against trackback spam. Trackback validation is done with an IP/referrer check and by checking the trackback page for your URL. Bottom line: an excellent solution for stopping trackback spam. Includes Settings Page for easy configuration, including the option to delete or spam blocked trackbacks.
Spam Free
Spam Free is an “extremely powerful anti-spam plugin for WordPress that eliminates comment spam, including trackback and pingback spam.” Spam Free has many features, including no CAPTCHA required for site visitors, a spam-free contact form, and dashboard counter with blocked spam count.
Word Verify
CAPTCHA-based anti-spam plugin that requires the user to enter a simple word in plain text (rather than an image). This makes it much easier for users to get it right the first time, while filtering out lots of automated spam. This plugin is probably best for smaller sites and blogs, as they aren’t generally targeted by the heavier OCR-capable spambots. Or so the thinking goes. Includes Settings Page for basic configuration.
WP-HashCash
CAPTCHA-based anti-spam plugin that claims to be 100% effective at blocking all spam and no real comments. Also blocks most pingback & trackback spam. Features Settings Page for statistics and configuration. And a huge bonus, WP-HashCash is “100% standards compliant XHTML 1.1 and works with both jQuery and Prototype.”

Note that the book now contains an abbreviated version of this list, along with sidebar mentions of some of the other plugins sprinkled throughout the various chapters. Going through this list again for the post, it was great seeing the wide variety of sites and personalities involved in keeping WordPress spam-free. If you know of any good anti-spam plugins that we missed, feel free to share them in the comments.

22 Responses

  1. I’ve been using Ntz Antispam for 2 years now. I find it better than Askimet. Just install, activate and forget about it :)

  2. Antispam has its disadvantage too some times its block other comments that’s not spam at all, However its still the best we can get

  3. I recommend 3 plugins: “Disable Trackbacks”, “Cookies for Comments”, and “Spam Honey Pot”. I’m not a fan of captchas.

  4. M.K. Safi April 19, 2011

    The only problem with Akismet are false positives. Fortunately, those can be put through WordPress Conditional CAPTCHA to verify their legitimacy.

    • Bruce Serven April 22, 2011

      Actually, I get far more false negatives from Akismet than I do false positives.

  5. I have been using G.A.S.P. (Growmap Anti Spam Plugin) for my clients. It basically places a check box that needs to be checked before submitting the comment.

    Result? Virtually *ZERO* comment spam!

    Pretty amazing!

    Ken

  6. Jeff – While launching a new site recently, it amazed me how much of a difference Akismet makes. I launched my blog without it initially because it has become a $5 a month option for commercial sites but it took me all of about 2 days to see the error of my ways and subscribe.

    Will have to pick up the revised book soon!

  7. Nice list, but I disagree that Akismet is the best. It is notorious for false positives that ban legitimate comments and legitimate commenters. A much better and simpler alternative is the Growmap Anti-Spam Plugin.

  8. There’s also Defensio, which is similar to Akismet.

  9. To make the list more complete: There’s also AntispamBee. I’m using it since a while and I am very satisfied.

  10. Julian Widya Perdana April 22, 2011

    how about using 3rd party comment service such as Disqus?
    do we need additional security?

    • yes, I think that can be one alternative, since we have to logged in to comment it must be only legitimate user who comment in

  11. Might I suggest BitDefender’s take on the subject as well? It’s an excellent free alternative to Akismet, especially if you’re running multiple sites. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bitdefender-antispam-for-wordpress/

  12. Hello,

    May i suggest an excellent plugin protecting your authors against email harvesters? http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pixelines-email-protector/
    What’s nice :
    – user-friendly: authors can just write the plain email address, it will be neutralized in the html code. the actual, clicable email address is reconstructed for the human visitors via javascript if javascript is available
    – very safe: fully protects all email addresses
    – progressive enhancement. Users without javascript will see the neutralized version of the email, which explains how to get the email address right.

    Thanks,
    Alexandre.

  13. What about SweetCaptcha ? We love it!
    :)
    Ari

  14. Brian Mulawka April 26, 2011

    I’ve used Disqus for a while now and found that the plugin not only improves on the comment box on my pages but also effectively eliminates spam as well as akismet does.

  15. Martin May 2, 2011

    I use WP True-typed on my site and get zero spam!

  16. hey, thanks for this post! i might just try some of these anti-spam plugins.

  17. hey i have one doubt related to plugin, i download and install Enhanced WordPress plugin, how can i use it for particular page, i mean that i want to add it with contact form page, How it could be possible? hope i ll get answer here

  18. Craig Marshall June 18, 2011

    First of all let me thank you for updating with such helpful information. This is some great plugins to block spams on Wp. But sometimes the block some comments that were not spam at all.

  19. You can also use WPBayes. WPBayes plugin implements spam filtering using Naive Bayesian classifier. This plugin will automatically classify new comments as legitimate or spam based on past decision done by you.

  20. Salman July 19, 2012

    excellent…. are are all usefull

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