Social Media Moms

How to Protect Your WordPress Installation

0 Comments 31 March 2011

The popularity of Facebook and other social media websites has helped to fuel many a viral marketing campaign in the blogosphere. Although social media can certainly help your blog to gain exposure, among many other things, it also brings the worst aspects of the online community with it. A common problem with these types of grassroots marketing efforts is that the more popularity we gain through these networks, the more lucrative we become to the spammers. Certainly it behooves us to stop the spam if possible before it gets posted into the comments section of our blog. This list of plug-ins represents what I think are the best ones for fighting spam.
It is important to note that most of these plug-ins use some type of CAPTCHA scheme to deter spammers. CAPTCHA are those boxes you see with the squiggly text that ask a user to input that text before being allowed to post. These challenge-response tests are designed to weed out the automated computers used to propagate the spam, usually from a compromised computer.
There are a ton of anti-spam plug-ins available for download. The ones I’ve included in this list I do so for several reasons. Some of them are unique enough projects to warrant their inclusion, while others offer comprehensive functionality. Additionally, I have chosen to include only those plug-ins are compatible with the current version of WordPress and have active developers.


1. Askimet

This plug-in compares comments left on your blog to a database of known spam, and returns flagged comments to you for evaluation. It has a host of features including a comment status history, highlighting of suspicious links, and built in reports.

2. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam

This plug-in allows you to add CAPTCHA challenge-response tests to your logins, comments, registrations, and lost passwords. This plug-in can be used in conjunction with Askimet.

3. Comment Email Verification

This plug-in requires email verification from comments held for verification from people posting on your blog. It automatically works with Askimet and other anti-spam programs so that no verification email is sent to suspected spammers.

4. AVH First Defense Against Spam

This anti-spam plug-in looks at the IP address of the visitor and compares it against lists of known spammers at Stop Forum Spam and Project Honey Pot. A local blacklist can also be used for comparison. The nice thing about this plug-in is that it can prevent known spammers before any content is served which saves you both bandwidth and cpu cycles. It is compatible with Askimet and WP Spam Free

5. Block Spam by Math Reloaded

This plug in uses a slightly different type of challenge-response test that instead of using the famous squiggly text asks the visitor to answer a simple math problem instead. It has the same functionality as SI CAPTCHA, so it would be redundant to install both of these plug-ins, although if you really wanted to you could use a combination of the two by using math verification for some tasks, like leaving comments, and CAPTCHA for registration.

6. Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

This plug-in is very basic and just adds a small box for the visitor to check when entering a comment. The author claims that this little checkbox is invisible to the automated bots that propagate the spam and will weed out approximately 99% of them. It’s not a bad option if you don’t want to make your visitors answer a CAPTCHA every time they want to post a comment.

7. NoSpamNX

This anti-spam plug-in uses a nifty little trick to weed out the spam bots. What it does is place additional fields into the comment form that are invisible to human users, but can be seen by the bots. The bots will fill out these fields while a human visitor will not, and it then blocks all posts when these hidden fields have been filled in.

8. Ironclad CAPTCHA WP Plug-in

An interesting alternative to SI CAPTCHA instead of asking the visitor to enter text, it instead displays 3D objects and asks the user to count them. It can add a bit of unique flair to your anti-spam efforts if that happens to be your thing.

9. Bad Behavior

Bad behavior is similar to the AVH First Defense Against Spam plug-in as it blocks spammers from even being able to see your site. It looks at different parameters than AVH and considers the delivery method and software being used to identify spam.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching forensic science scholarship programs as well as scholarships for single moms. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

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