At the start of the new year, a client noticed a deluge of comments posted on his WordPress website. Close to 20,000 comments in Russian, Japanese, Chinese and English had come in during the holidays. Spammers don’t take a break with robots working on the execution of spam attacks. On the opposite end, the business owner is stuck with the tedious task of cleaning up. Even when you delete in large batches, it is time consuming. This client had spent hours trying to delete, but they kept on posting at a fast rate. After realizing that his progress was minimal, he called us for help. When we accessed the site, this is what we found:
Have you found yourself in this situation before? If so, please share with us some tips. If not, consider yourself lucky! The following measures can resolve the problem, better yet prevent a spam attack.
General Comment Settings. If you allow comments in the general settings, this option overrides it, It can be turned on/off for each post. Go to the comments option inside the article by checking the corresponding boxes:
Allowing Comments. Your blog & news page offer the advantage of increased engagement and the opportunity to build relationships. But leaving the comments section open without monitoring can lead to disappointment. Check the main settings under “Discussions” if you don’t have a blog and don’t want comments, make sure your main settings are checked accordingly:
Monitoring who can post Comments. If you allow comments look at the options that help you monitor who posts. You can require users to register and log in to comment or limit the number days for comments. This will prevent a spamming spree when you least expect it.
Moderating Comments. If you prefer, you can moderate comments. Indicating that comments must be manually approved prior to appearing on your blog, you will have the responsibility of reviewing and approving each comment.
Email Notifications. You may turn on email notifications when someone submits a comment. The opportunity to approve and reply to the comments is there regardless. Just remember if you request emails you will have another email to clear in your mailbox.
Comment Moderation Queue. Hold comments in queue when the message contains a hyperlink, typical of spammers to have one or more links. You can also ad specific words that will flag the comment and hold it in queue until you review it.
Sometime ago, we faced similar issues with one of the blogs. We consulted with a good friend who is a WordPress expert and got some recommendations that still help protect the sites we manage. There are many others, but these are the ones we use for this purpose.
- Akismet to help protect against spam attacks.
- Captcha to keep robots out with a simple math question to check if the user is a human or not.
Once you have all the settings in place and the above plugins installed and activated, you will notice immediate improvements and you will keep out the spam robots and trackback spammers. But don’t stop there! Don’t let your guard down, they tend to creep back up. Update your plugins and review the activity in your site as part of routine maintenance.
Do you have any other solutions? Please share any other measures you have used to keep your blog spam free.