We’ve touched on WordPress comment spam several times over the past few years, and we offer managed WordPress clients the opportunity to use our developer licenced version of Akismet to get rid of comment spam, but if you’re self hosted, the below tutorial will help you to get Akismet installed, setup and running, and get rid of comment spam for good.
How to Install and Setup Akismet
Akismet is a plugin made by Automattic, the company which owns WordPress (yes, it is Open Source software, but yes, it is owned by a company… worth over $1billion, in case you wondered).
As such, Akismet comes pre-installed on WordPress.
You will need to:
- Navigate to your WordPress admin page by logging in (http://yoursite.com/wp-admin)
- Click “Plugins” down the left hand side
- At (or near) the top of the “Inactive” plugins list, you should find Akismet. If it is not there:
- Click “Add New” at the top, and type “Akismet” into the search box provided.
- Install and activate the plugin
- Click “Activate” next to Akismet
- You will either be prompted at the top to setup your Akismet API, or you will need to visit the “settings” page at http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=akismet-key-config
- You don’t have an Akismet account. You will need to sign one up here: https://akismet.com/account/upgrade/
- Assuming your account is for a personal (low usage) account, then sign up the Basic Account and choose to pay what you’d like.
- When account setup is complete, you will receive an API key – copy this, and paste it into your website in the relevant settings page.
- You shouldn’t need to change many of the standard features, unless you want to.
- That’s it!
Using Akismet to Delete Spam Already in your Website
You can use Akismet now to delete spam comments sitting in your moderation queue, by navigating to the comments page (left menu in admin page) and clicking on the new button which says “Check for Spam”.
This will rip through all the spam in about 30 seconds or so (could be more, could be less, depending upon the speed and power of your hosting and how many spam comments are in there!).
Empty Your Spam Folder
After you’ve done this, you can go to the Spam folder by clicking the blue “Spam” link at the top, then pressing “Empty Spam” – this will delete all that spam from your database. Note with the standard settings, spam is silently discarded after 30 days or so, without you doing anything.
Protected Against Future Spam
You are now protected against future spam comments. Note that one or two manually added weird comments will still slip through – so I don’t recommend allowing all comments – and also you might find real comments end up in spam, so it can be worth fishing around in the spam folder every so often and clicking “not spam” when you find something real.
Rule of thumb? If it contains a web address (URL) in the comment, treat with scepticism!