Comment spam is very big headache for any legit and good blogger or website. Comment Spam is not a new concept and this is very nasty thing to deal with. When I was new in blogging then I was not much aware of it. They are mostly automatic and posted by using commenting software. These software can post even 1000 comments on your single post in minutes. Imagine!
When my blog (this one) was new and I just started to write, I was not getting much traffic. Slowly when blog started to roll and I started getting visits, suddenly, my free webhost (Xtreemhost) removed Fsockopen support from free servers. Akismet stopped working and I understood what comment spam can do to you.
So, if you are new to blogging then don’t neglect this part. Even if you can’t have Akismet due to no Fsockopen support on your server there are basic ways to get optimum protection.
WordPress Comment Hold for Moderation:
If you are using WordPress then, this basic feature of WordPress is very important. You should turn this on and leave it on always. Unless you are not a autoblogger who doesn’t care for comment spams etc, there is no reason to keep it off.
In ‘WordPress Dashboard’ there is ‘Discussion setting’ under ‘Settings’. Set these settings for that page:
* Comment Author Must Fill Name & e-mail : ON
* An administrator must approve comment before display: ON
Other settings like e-mail, subscribe etc are all your choice. Above two are important and will not let publish any comment without your cross-check.
There is major issue here. You can’t multi-delete, comments in WordPress. There is no option available yet (not at least till 3.2.1). Only thing you can do is mark them as Spam first and then you can delete them in batch. Weird that this option is only available after marking comments as spam.
Akismet, Defensio etc:
Akismet and Defensio plugins are anti-spam plugins which are based on highly accurate database and algorithm to prevent spam. When someone post a comment, Akismet or Defensio analyses it and automatically mark them as spam (if they are). Now, half work is done and you can delete them in Batch as Spam supports multi-select and delete option.
These plugins are available for nearly every kind of website and blogging platforms. Akismet is state of art in this technology and highly loved by everyone. You can find more info here.
There is little problem with these plugins. They need Fsockopen to make these plugins work which is hardly available on Free Hosts. Defensio is reported to work sometimes with errors even when Fsockopen is not available but Akismet will never work. For Defensio, read this post.
So, What can people using Free servers can do? Here, Captcha comes in play.
CAPTCHA Comment Control:
Automatic commenting can be very easily controlled by using CAPTCHA, which is a small challenge to prove that commenting person is human and not a software or Bot. This is small image which contains letters, spellings, questions, numbers or calculations; to which reader have to answer before commenting. You can see this at bottom of this post under comments. These are random challenges and keeps changing. This is snapshot how it looks:
These images if left empty or not entered correct, comment is not accepted. Software can’t read these random generated challenges (as they are in images) and even if they do, they are hardly capable of entering it correctly. There are some software which can even do this but all of them fails at complex challenge.
My favorite is Si-Captcha Plugin for wordpress. Google Blogger and other also have plugins/codes to add such captcha. I installed this plugin when site was on free server and it did wonders. From next minute, all Spammy comments stopped.
You can select any captcha plugin as you like but before using it remember that, User Experience is everything. Don’t make it very complex or tough to read or genuine readers will also defer from commenting.
If you are on paid server go with Akismet or Defensio. If you are on free server or server with no Fsockopen support go with Captcha plugins. You can have both if you like.
So, these were simple but effective methods to prevent and stop comment spam. If you are new to blogging then I suggest you to implement them as soon as possible.