Beating Spam Comments

by Martin Malden

Here’s a question I see over and over again in different forums: ‘Why does WordPress attract so much spam? I didn’t get any on my Blogger blog’.

There are a couple of reasons for this: firstly WordPress is targetted because it’s such a popular platform.

Secondly, if you don’t activate Akismet, the anti spam plugin that comes as standard with WordPress, you won’t have any protection at all.

The solution, then, is pretty simple: activate Akismet. It is part of the default package, after all.

To do this you’ll need a WordPress.com API key. This is because Akismet is hooking into the anti spam system that’s used by WordPress to protect the blogs they host on WordPress.com.

That’s great because it makes your self hosted blog part of a much larger anti-spam community, and you get all the benefits of their tracking and research activities.

To get a WordPress.com API key you’ll need to start a WordPress.com blog. This may seem a little over-kill, but there are benefits to having another blog – you can use it as a satellite/feeder blog for your main one.

But if you don’t want to write anything in your WordPress.com blog that’s fine – just go to your profile page and you’ll find the API key right at the top.

Copy it and insert it into the field that will be presented to you by Akismet when you activate it.

BTW, if you get a reject message try copying the API key into Notepad first and then re-copy and paste it into Akismet.

In addition to Akismet, however, there are a number of other anti spam plugins around, some of which are specifically designed to be used alongside it.

The one I use is Bad Behaviour.

Bad Behaviour is particularly effective against those content scraping bots that pick up your content and attempt to leave comments to get links – link spam.

In fact in many cases it will prevent those content scrapers getting into your blog in the first place.

(Of course your content can still be grabbed from your RSS feed, and Bad Behaviour cannot do anything about that!).

Here’s some more information on Bad Behaviour.

Since I’ve had Akismet activated and Bad Behaviour installed I get no more than 3 or 4 spam comments a week.

The difference was instantly apparent as soon as I installed Bad Behaviour and it remains consistently effective.

So I strongly recommend both Akismet and Bad Behaviour – the combination works great for me.

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