Apr
12
2020

One simple change to improve spam filtering on WordPress websites

WordPress website header - WP logo

Here’s a great quick tip to improve the spam filtering on your WordPress website.

If you have a WordPress website, the likelihood is that you’ve seen spam comments appearing on your website in the “comments” section, unless you’ve disabled all ability for website visitors to add comments to your posts.

These are a magnet for spam comments to totally unrelated websites, and can harm your website’s search engine optimisation efforts, so it’s important to reduce and remove spam wherever it appears.

Using WordPress’ built-in blocklist feature for spam

Log in to your WordPress website’s administration panel, and navigate to the Settings > Discussion screen:

Improve spam filtering with WordPress

Scroll down the page to find the Comment Blocklist field:

WordPress' Comment Blocklist feature for reducing spam

As described in WordPress, the Comment Blocklist field:

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

Here, you can list one word per line which will automatically filter comments to the “trash” (or “bin”, if you have the British English version of WordPress installed!), bypassing them being published.

Careful – the words in the list will do complete and partial matches, meaning any words on the list which appear as part of another word (e.g., ‘

A list of useful words to use in WordPress’ Comment Blocklist feature

To help make a start on your own blocklist words, we’ve included some common words found in spam comments which you might want to add to your own comment blocklist. It is important to note that phrases that appear in other words (e.g., like “ink” is found in the word “sink”).

viagra
rolex
rolexs
rolexes
bitcoin
outsource
outsourcing

Please check these before you add them to your own website’s blocklist – as we mentioned above, this has the chance for some “false positives” to be made, meaning genuine comments could be removed. And, of course, what we would consider a spam word on this blog could be relevant to your own blog – e.g., if it was about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, you probably don’t want to block comments about Bitcoin!

Other ways to block spam on your WordPress website

You can also use WordPress’ Comment Moderation field in Settings > Discussions to flag comments for moderation – rather than sending them straight to “trash”.

As we mentioned before, this isn’t a fool-proof way of stopping spam comments appearing on your WordPress website. Here are a few other ways to improve your website’s spam filtering abilities:

  • Using the Akismet plugin – this can improve your WordPress website’s ability to filter spam comments
  • Enabling Recaptcha or other captcha services on your form entries – this

Any, of course, if you’d like any help with your WordPress website, please do get in touch with us.