How to Combat Comment Spam in WordPress (4 Different Methods)!

By on September 22nd, 2022

As we all know, hackers use Spam Comments and Bots to harm our regular and less secure websites. But it’s not the only way that hackers use it. Spam and Harmful comments are two terms that refer to comments posted on a blog or website. That does not contribute to the discussion but instead tries to get people to click on them. It can be difficult to tell whether a comment is spam or harmful, but we can use some techniques to stop publishing the spam comments and increase security. For example, A link should be at the beginning of the comment that points back to the original post. If there isn’t, then it’s probably spam. The comment should be relevant to the post in question. If it doesn’t make sense, then it’s probably spam.

A blog or website is only as good as its comment system. An excellent comment system allows visitors to leave comments and interact with other readers on the site. It provides a platform for discussion and community building, attracting more visitors and increasing engagement. It should also be easy to use and understand so that people don’t feel terrorized by it. In addition, a spam-free comment system is essential to prevent commenters from posting spam. A great way to ensure your comment system works appropriately is by running an automated scan of incoming comments. You can do this using automated tools and plugins that provide different scan options. Another option is to have a human moderator manually review each comment before it goes live on the site.

When using any automated system, remember that it can sometimes produce false positives (comments that look like spam but it’s not) or false negatives (comments that look like spam but are real). These are usually caused by typos or incorrect formatting, so it’s up to you to decide what you want to accept and what you want to reject. 

This article will teach you some essential tips to battle spam and harmful comments. Some of the tips don’t need extra plugins because WordPress has some security settings that can be easy to use. But many of them use third-party plugins and tools which can be easily downloaded and activated on your WordPress websites. So, let’s get started from here. 

Enable Comment Moderation Settings

The comment moderation system works in two ways. Firstly, it removes spam comments which are inappropriate and malicious. Secondly, it prevents malicious users from posting inappropriate comments on your website. In simple words, Comment moderation is a system used to manage and moderate the comments section of a website. It is essential to any website’s maintenance and helps maintain its high standards. It is necessary to keep the website’s comment section clean and well-maintained by adding appropriate rules. WordPress has an advanced comment moderation feature with many related tools. So, we don’t need to add any necessary plugin to enable the comment privacy settings. Allowing the comment moderation settings is an easy process. Follow the steps from here, and we will also learn all the basic settings and how they will help you. 

Step 1: Go to your WordPress website’s Admin Area and log in through your Username and Password.

Step 2: After redirecting Dashboard, hover the cursor on the Settings tab section available on the left side of the screen. Then, click on the Discussion tab option, as seen in the image below. 

Step 3: On the Discussion Settings page, you will see a few sections like Default post settings, other comment settings, and Email me whenever and Before a comment appears.

Step 4: To change the setting of Comment Manual Approve, we need to click on the checkbox “Comment must be manually approved,” as you can see in the image below.

Step 5: After enabling the manual comment to approve settings, find and click on the following available checkbox: “Comment author must have a previously approved comment.” This setting will automatically allow the author’s comments we previously approved. See the below image as a reference. 

Step 6: Then Scroll down the page and click on the Save Changes button to save the current changes of the Discussion or Comment system.

Congratulations, we just successfully changed the Comment Moderation settings for WordPress. All these settings are available within the WordPress CMS and available for free. As we discussed, we don’t need any extra plugins to moderate these settings. The discussion settings page has many other feature settings like we can select the comment type and need to approve the comment with specific details. 

2. Adding Google reCAPTCHA Verification

ReCAPTCHA is Google’s open-source image and text verification system developed by Carnegie Mellon University. It is used by over 100 million websites to prevent robots from accessing the content on them. ReCAPTCHA uses unique, human-like patterns that prevent automated software from reading the content on a web page. This system can prevent bots, spammers, and unwanted traffic from accessing your website. This is another best way to add more security. We just need to activate a plugin and configure some settings on WordPress. This system allows us to use different types of questions with a bunch of images. So, let’s learn the process of adding Google reCAPTCHA verification and configure it to stop spam and bot actions on our WordPress websites.

Step 1: Goto your WordPress Website Admin Area using your Username and Password. Then, Hover the cursor on the Plugins tab section and Click on the Add New option, as you can see in the image below.

Step 2: Then, Find and Click on the Search Field and Type Simple Google reCAPTCHA.” Then, Find and Install the Right plugin. You can identify the plugin based on the following image below. Then Click on Install Now button to install the plugin. Then, Activate the plugin as well. 

Note: We must register our domain to the Official Google reCAPTCHA tool and collect the Site and Secret Key. We need to add the Google reCAPTCHA plugin to register and activate the features. 

Step 3: Now, Open a new tab and search for Google reCAPTCHA using the google search engine. Then click on the first link available as reCAPTCHA – Google, as you can see in the image below.

Step 4: Next page will be the official page of Google reCAPTCHA. Now click on the first link available as v3 Admin Console on the right side of the screen, as you can see in the image below.

Step 5: Here, in the admin console, fill all the details in the form. The first field is for the site label, so we can identify the correct configurations. Select the reCAPTCHA version, and add the domain name just below that. It will automatically collect your google email address, and click on the last checkbox, as seen in the image below. Now, scroll down and click on the SUBMIT button. 

Step 6: On the next page, you will see two fields with some random text. We must copy both keys and paste them on our WordPress website’s reCAPTCHA plugin. Copy both keys from this page, as seen in the image below. You can click on the Key Icon to copy all the text in one click. 

Step 7: Return to the WordPress website admin area and hover the cursor on the Settings tab. Then click on the Google reCAPTCHA option, as seen in the image below. 

Step 8: Paste both keys we copied from Google reCAPTCHA Admin Console. Then, click on the Enable reCAPTCHA v3 to enable the latest version of reCAPTCHA. Now, click the Save Changes button in the image below.

Congratulations, you successfully learned how we can add official Google reCAPTCHA security to Any WordPress website. And as we discussed, this system can reduce or prevent all the evil and spam bots traffic. We can use it to comment and all the form submissions. 

3. Remove URL Fields from Comment

Many people often use blogs and other websites to add URLs to their comments. Using these techniques, they can boost their rankings on different search engines, Because they use these comment URLs as backlinks. We all know what backlinks are and how it used to enhance traffic and rankings. So, people who want to add URLs only have the only goal to leave a URL that is not relevant to the discussion or the topic. The perfect identity of these comments may contain some lines of nonsense keywords with author names like “Sexual @SEOExpert” or “Joseph From Dino Muffins.” All these types of comments are non-harmful but not relevant to the topics. To solve this issue, we should remove all the URL fields from the Comment form and add rules like a comment should not contain any Link or URL. We have some default settings within the Discussion Settings of WordPress. But we can also use some simple plugins to remove these fields. Follow the steps from here. 

Step 1: Goto your WordPress Website Admin Area using your Username and Password. Then, Hover the cursor on the Plugins tab section and Click on the Add New option, as you can see in the image below.

Step 2:Then, Find and Click on the Search Field and Type “Comment Link Remove and Other Comment Tools.” Then, Find and Install the Right plugin. You can identify the plugin based on the following image below. Then Click on Install Now button to install the plugin. Then, Activate the plugin as well. 

Step 3: After Activating the plugin, click on the QC CLR Settings tab option on the left-sided tab section. See the below image as a reference.

Step 4: Here on this page are some settings with Checkboxes. To remove URLs from the Comment form, click on the “Remove WEBSITE Field from Comment Form” and mark it as valid. 

Step 5: We can even remove Hyperlinks from the AUTHOR Bio section. To configure these settings, click on the “Remove hyperlink from comment AUTHOR Bio” checkbox and mark it as true, as shown in the image below.

Step 6: We can even delete unnecessary comments using one click. We have three different buttons on the top of this section Delete All Comments, Delete Pending Comments, and Delete Spam Comments. To delete any type of comment, just click on the specific button, as shown in the image below.

Step 7: Now, Scroll-down and click on the Save Changes button to save all the current changes. 

This is how to remove the URL field from the comment section form. We also removed hyperlinks from the users’ author bio section and learned how to delete all the unnecessary comments in one click. So, let’s understand the next tip of this article. 

4. Close Comment Section On Old Posts

There are many features available by default in the WordPress Discussion section. These tiny configurations help us in many ways. We can disable Trackbacks, Turn off the Comment on Old posts, and turn off the comment section from whole WordPress websites. All these configurations are straightforward. Anyone can do this without any code or script using settings. Turning Off the comments from the entire website will help us to prevent all the Spam and Malicious spasms in case the comment section is not required for your website. We can even configure the settings for old posts which are old and published on specific days ago. So, let’s understand how to configure the settings and make our WordPress more secure. 

Step 1: Go to your WordPress website’s Admin Area and log in through your Username and Password.

Step 2: After redirecting Dashboard, hover the cursor on the Settings tab section available on the left side of the screen. Then, click on the Discussion tab option, as seen in the image below. 

Step 3: Firstly, we will turn off the Pingbacks and Trackbacks from the comment section. Here, on the Discussion Settings page, see the first section, Default Post Settings, and uncheck or click the second checkbox called “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts” see the below image as a reference. 

Step 4: We will turn off the comment section on old posts with specific day selections. So, just below the Default Post Settings, we have a second section called “Other comment settings.” In this section, see the 3rd checkbox, “Automatically close comments on posts older than.” Click on the checkbox and mark it as true, then select the specific days per your need, as you can see in the image below. 

Step 5: The third configuration will completely disable all the comment sections from the whole website. This setting is available in the first section, “Default Post Settings.” As you can see in the image below, just click and uncheck the third checkbox, “Allow people to submit comments on new posts.”

Step 6: Then, scroll down the page and click the Save settings button to apply the changes to your WordPress websites. 

Congratulations, you just learned how we can change the Default Discussion or Comment section on WordPress. As discussed, we can modify the comment section per our needs. So, in this tutorial, we learned how we can disable comment sections on OLD posts, as well as how we can turn off the comment section from our WordPress Websites. 

Conclusion

As discussed in this article, we have several configurations about which the comment section is available within WordPress websites. We have five tips and tools within this article that shows how easily we can secure our websites from spam and bot attacks. We have many free and paid plugins that provide different features and tools, but we use only free and effective features in this article. The used plugins in this article can be downloaded from the WordPress.org Plugin repository. After applying all these configurations to your website, you can quickly secure your website from hackers and spam.

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