Blocking Spam Comments in WordPress

Since I’ve started using WordPress for my blog, I notice that almost every post results in spam comments from random bots. Usually just gibberish but they can also be offering to sell some male enhancement supplements or asking for help to move thousands of £££s out of Nigeria. Hmm, maybe I should have a look at those – they may not be spam!

 

I want a nice simple way to stop spam comments. The easiest way is probably to have a quick test to make sure the commenter is a human. Some kind of CAPTCHA is in order here. But not a really annoying kind that are hard for even humans to read.

Let’s use Google’s re-CAPTCHA service. This is the one you’ll see all over the internet so will already be familiar with.

In fact, now Google is doing a much better job of making it more user friendly. For instance in my latest reCAPTCHA, I got asked to ‘Select all the drinks…’
recaptcha

Follow these quick steps to get it working…

  1. To use Google’s reCAPTCHA tool you need API keys. So go to the reCAPTCHA website and sign in using your Google Account.
  2. Fill in the short form to register your site. It took about 10 seconds and then presented me with all the keys I needed. Keep these handy.
  3. Install the plugin wp-recaptcha to your WordPress site.
  4. Go to Settings » WP-reCAPTCHA
  5. Enter your site and secret keys.
  6. Hit Save. All Done!

Now when anyone goes to leave a comment, they will have to fill in a reCAPTCHA to prove that they are human first.

A few other options are available if you find that the CAPTCHA is too complex and people are deterred by it if they keep getting it wrong….

  • You can use Honeypot to detect spam bots. By using the plugin WP Spam Fighter you add a secret feild to your comments forms which a spam bot thinks it needs to fill in but which a human doesn’t see. Thus the spam bot gives itself away!
  • You can use one of any number of other plugins to add simpler and more configurable CAPTCHAs. Securimage-WP is a good one but it is slightly less user friendly to set up and has various options which could be confusing to a less experienced web admin.

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