Wanted: Your help against the evil Spam!

It’s getting out of hand, waaay out of hand. Last time I asked for help in the blogosphere, it resulted in a perfect new rig, so this is me turning to my fellow wordpress veterans out there. As an ex-blogger, I’m still fairly new to self-hosted wordpress and after researching spam plugins, I’m a bit at a loss what to go for next.

Some context: I am currently using Antispam Bee, so spam won’t be auto-published on the blog. Most of it goes straight to the spam box although a few will be pending for regular approval. While spam Bee unfortunately doesn’t seem to “learn” as far as popular spam words, sender address or IP go, it was fine to check the spam box manually until more recently. But not so anymore. Ever since my hoster “fixed” my comment issues (genuine commenters receiving 404 errors on comments), the flood gates to more web spam have apparently been opened wide.

I am now receiving 180 comments and upwards per day. This is 18 pages of spam to go through a day if I want to make sure no genuine comments or pingbacks get lost in the mix. After holiday break I came back to 1000+ spam comments which I deleted right away. This is of course not satisfactory at all since the whole point of fixing my past issues was to minimize commenting troubles for readers.

So, this is where I turn to you. I have of course come across Akismet and alternatives such as Spamfree WordPress or Growmap, but there are some general concerns I have. Basically, I am looking for the following:

  • Unobtrusive, as in no captchas or similar inconveniences
  • Smart system that will automatically expand filter database
  • Spamfilter that will keep spam from happening: going through a ton of spam pages a day just won’t do.

Now, I’ve no idea if that last part even exists, however I don’t see any value in yet another plugin where I’ll have to manually select spam to be approved or moved to the trash bin on a daily basis. Also, while several bloggers seem to use Akismet, I recall that causing a lot of commenting troubles in the blogosphere (but maybe that has been fixed). How does Akismet hold up in terms of minimizing manual labor and genuine comment loss?

Maybe there’s also some other alternatives I’m not seeing – unfortunately I am no code monkey. Thanks for any tips and recommendations! It’s greatly appreciated.


  1. I’ve been using Akismet forever. I’ve had maybe three incidents (that I know of) of legit comments being marked as spam in that time, which is pretty good. Right now I have to manually remove roughly 5 comments per week that get past the filters.

    So basically I’m quite happy with it!

  2. Same as Liore. I pay the $12 annual fee for Akismet and it’s been more than worth it. I also use Disqus which seems to do very well with spam detection as well. Only rarely does a genuine comment get caught in the spam box, but Akismet and Disqus can learn/be corrected for similar future incidents.

  3. I also recommend Askimet, but I’ll also suggest Invisible Defender (http://www.poradnik-webmastera.com/projekty/invisible_defender/#en), which hits the bots hard and not only keeps them from posting, but responds with a false 403 FORBIDDEN response type, which reduces the load on your server dramatically.

    It may show as not compatable (or not verified) with the current version of WP, but I’m up to date and it still works fine.

    The inestimable Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament (http://murlocparliament.com/, RIP) turned me on to this little gem.

  4. Akismet is absolutely the best! I also use a plugin called Growmap Anti Spambot which adds a simple checkbox to the comment form which spambots can’t see. I can’t remember the last time I had a spam comment get past Akismet.

  5. My experience of Akismet is from the other side. I found my comments on certain sites were just not appearing, as if they had been swallowed up by a black hole. It took me weeks to track it down to Akismet*, because it gave no warning as to why the comments had gone missing. They just didn’t appear. And once I had tracked it down, I had to write to Akismet directly to get myself whitelisted.

    So because Akismet has these false positives, you’ll still have to wade through all the spam to look for genuine comments, or lose them and alienate a reader who won’t be inclined ever to comment on your site again.

    * Judging by the number of hits that particular page gets, there are a lot of people suffering the same problem, and it’s getting worse, not better.

    1. Did Akismet reply to you when they whitelisted you? Because I’ve had issues with my comments getting eaten (even though I am signed in with a WordPress account!) and contacted them about it, but I’ve received no reply about the matter and it still keeps happening. 🙁

  6. I can also vouch for akismet. Never had any issues with it. Very rarely there seems to be a weird race condition: I get a notification mail to approve or trash a comment that’s obviously spam; when I go check, akismet has already put it into the spam folder.

    Just so you have some context: in the last six months, akismet identified 13,728 spam posts on my blog, with 12 false negatives (missed spam) and not a single false positive (misidentified comment as spam). The missed spam, of course, was held in the approval queue, so it didn’t get published. I go through the spam folder occasionally before I trash it, and, as you can see from the stats above, have never found a single false positive.

  7. Thanks guys! I’ve a feeling I should give Akismet a go in any case – it doesn’t seem like there’s anything similar for my purposes. it definitely sucks to miss a comment but I’ve a feeling that may happen a lot less with Akismet than it’s happening for me right now. if stuff ends up pending, that’s okay too; the issue isn’t approving the odd commenter but all the spam right now. I remember similar troubles to what Shintar mentions when I was still with blogger (I have sent Akismet my share of emails for white-listing..) but at this point I am still willing to try – fingers crossed! 🙂

    Also great tip about Invisible Defender, I am deffo checking that out as well!

    Cheers everyone!

  8. I use Akismet, but I also have it set so that comments are held for moderation unless the poster has had a previous accepted comment. That tends to cut down on a lot of spam showing up, as I can catch it in the moderation queue. The downside is that a new poster won’t see their comment immediately. The other benefit is that it can help for those times when Akismet barfs and lets some spam through, as it won’t be posted immediately.

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