How to Manage Comment Spam in the WordPress Administrator

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A very common issue with WordPress posts and pages where comments are allowed is spam – also called comment spam. Like email spam, comment spam is used in irresponsible advertising and intentional malicious acts to spread malware or provide links to sites that do this. They not only cause a lot of wasted time, but they can also impair web hosting servers to operate less efficiently. Basically, it boils down to a lot of wasted time and in some cases, money.

Preventing Spam in Posts and Pages

If you intend to publish a post or page, then you will need to decide if people can make comments about the the post or page. It’s not necessary to have every post or page, but you can set this option by doing the following:

1 – Login to the WordPress Administrator

2 – Click on the existing post or page, or click on the new post or page that you are creating.

3 – At the top of the screen you will see SCREEN OPTIONS. Click on this tab.

4 – If you have selected a post or page, you will see the option for Discussion. If you want to set the option for Discussion, then click on the check box next to it.

5 – Next you will to scroll down to the bottom of the post/page you are creating and then look for the block labeled Discussion. Here you can select Allow Comments.

If you don’t allow any discussion for the page/post, then there is now way for spam to be generated. On the other hand, you also prevent interaction with your website page or post.

Discussion Settings

There are also Discussion Settings that can be found under Settings in the WordPress menu. These are comprehensive settings that cover many different options. The options that can be used to help alleviate comment spam include:

Default Article Settings

Allow people to post comments on new articles

Other comment settings

Comment author must fill out name and email
Users must be registered and logged in to comment

Email me whenever

Email me whenever Anyone posts a comment
A comment is held for moderation

Before a comment appears

Before a comment appears Comment must be manually approved
Comment author must have a previously approved comment

The two main tools to help filter out comment spam are the Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist options. These options within the WordPress Administrator provide ways to prevent comment spam from appearing by filtering the comments based on a list.

Comment Moderation

Hold a comment in the queue if it contains 1 or more links. (A common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks.)

When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, email, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.

Comment Blacklist

When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, email, or IP, it will be put in the trash. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.

As with any website, the best way to keep your site vibrant and successful is to keep its content fresh and useful for your viewers. Keeping comment spam out of your posts and pages will requires constant attention. There are also many third party solutions available for free or paid that provide much more comprehensive services. Check out these options as per your needs.

Read our full guide on How to Manage Comments in WordPress

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Mazi has nine years of web development experience with the past five years spent honing his skills with WordPress plugins and themes. He's an expert in WooCommerce and is the author of the Simple Sales Tax plugin, a popular sales tax compliance solution for WooCommerce. Brett understands the importance of excellent communication, prides himself on producing high-quality code, and is comfortable working solo or as part of a team.

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