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Must-Have WordPress Plugins: Akismet

If you have an email account—and who doesn’t—you are fully aware of and hate spam. Spam’s original definition of unsolicited email has expanded somewhat to now include unsolicited comments on blog posts. According to data published by Automattic, their anti-spam WordPress plugin Akismet caught over four billion spam comments in one month. Only 3.4% of the comments that were submitted were real comments. Fortunately, Akismet is one of two plugins installed by default in WordPress. Unfortunately, it is not activated by default. It has, however, been installed on over 74 million sites. All WordPress sites account for over 59% of sites using a known Content Management System (CMS) and powers over 26% of the entire web [wpmudev.org].

If your site is using an older version of WordPress, you’re automatically at a higher risk than sites that are up-to-date. Only about 22% of WordPress sites are up-to-date. Is your site one of them? It should be and if not, you need to consider updating it as soon as possible.

Typical spam comments are often filled with links or they may contain just a single link to a site that is filled with malware and viruses or even sales pages for pharmaceutical drugs, knock-off designer clothes, and accessories or other goods.

list of plugins including inactive Akismet

Akismet Features

Here’s why you want Akismet active on your WordPress site:

  • Akismet automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
  • Each comment that comes in has a status history so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were handled by a moderator.
  • If the commenter included any URLs in the message body, they are shown to reveal hidden or misleading links.
  • Comment moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
  • There is also a discard feature that immediately blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.

How to Configure Akismet on WordPress

The first thing you will need to do is Activate it.

Activate Akismet by clicking "Activate"

You can watch this short video to see how to install Akismet. It only takes a couple of minutes…I promise! The video shows the setup for a non-commercial account (free) but the process is the same for a business account except you need to enter your payment details.

After Akismet has been setup on your site, it will begin to keep statistics for your site. Here are mine:

Akismet

Other Anti-Spam Alternatives

If you are running a business site and don’t want to pay a monthly subscription, there are some free options.

  • Wangard  – Free up to 5,000 daily comment checks
  • Anti-Spam Bee – Free for both personal and commercial sites
  • WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam -This free plugin uses a double-layered protection service to defend your WordPress site from spam. It also blocks registration spam, trackback spam and spam on contact forms.
  • WordPress Zero Spam – Free for both personal and commercial sites
  • Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP) – Just for comments; adds a checkbox to the comment form
  • Stop Spammers Spam Prevention – Has many pages of options to fully customize settings
  • WP-SpamFree Anti-Spam – Works in the background to remove spam from comments and trackbacks

Are there others that I should include on this list of alternatives? Just let me know in the comments below.

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