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Prevent spam comments

WordPress Comment Moderation

One way to begin keeping tabs on comment spam is to turn on Comment Moderation in WordPress under “Settings > Discussion”.  

Turning on Comment Moderation in WordPress

This requires that all comments be approved by you, the site owner, before they will be published on the site.  So this ensures that if comment spam does come to your site, you’ll see it first and can delete, before it appears on the site.

WordPress Comment Blacklist

Also in the “Settings > Discussion” area is a Comment Blacklist field.

Comment Blacklist Option in WordPress

Here you can type in any words, names, e-mail addresses, IP addresses, etc that will prompt WordPress to automatically trash the comment for you.  So if you continue to get comment spam from a particular user, you could input their e-mail address here.  Or if you keep getting comment spam containing the word “pharmaceuticals” for example, just paste that into this field so that none of those comments make it through.

WordPress Anti-spam Plugins

Now if you are getting a ton of comment spam and the options mentioned above not helping, the best combatant would be a WordPress plugin.  The best WordPress plugin we’ve found to deal with comment spam is called Akismet. (In fact, we even use it on our own site.)  This plugin has a free personal/hobby key, or a commercial key that costs $5 per month.

An alternative to Akismet are any number of free spam prevention plugins. Some have a captcha and some don’t. We like a simple one called “Anti-Spam.” A number of security plugins include anti-spam functionality, as well.


Step 1: Activate the Akismet Plugin

To start using Akismet, just log into your blog’s admin area and, in the left-hand, main WordPress sidebar menu, go to “Plugins” » “Installed” and click the activate button in the Akismet plugin box.

wp42 activate akismet

Step 2: Get & Enter your Akismet API key

Next, you will need an Akismet API key to get Akismet working.

w42 akismet api activation

You have a few different options, depending on the type of blog that you have. Choose from the following options on the Akismet pricing page

  • Personal” – If your blog is just a personal or hobby blog then you’re in luck.  You can create an API key for free!
  • Pro” – Many photographers would fall into this category.  You are not a personal blog but your site is not crashing the server with traffic.
  • Enterprise” – This is for photogs that are running multiple sites and want to use Akismet on all of them.
  • Hi Volume” – This would be very few of our clientele, and based on sites that get tons of calls to the API.

If you aren’t sure how to classify your blog, all you have to go on is what Akismet says on their site, “If your site is for a business or if it promotes a product or service, you should pick from one of our paid account options.” Don’t contact us for clarification, as that decision is up to you.

That’s it! Akismet will catch pretty much all of your spam.

Step 3: (Optional) Discussion settings

Now that you’ve got Akismet running, we also recommend turning off comment moderation and notifications in your WordPress admin area. There’s no need to manually moderate comments or be notified of spam when Akismet is doing all of the work for you. Just go to “Settings” > “Discussion” and uncheck the four boxes shown in the picture below.

wp42 discussion settings