Handling spam messages and comments on your website can be a hassle. You have to spend a lot of time going through each comment one by one to figure out which ones are real. Anti-spam solutions for WordPress monitor and filter comments so you don’t have to.
You’ve likely heard of popular options like Akismet, Jetpack Anti-spam, Antispam Bee, and Titan Anti-Spam. To help you find the best solution for your site, we’re going to dive into important features you should consider.
What is spam?
Spam is unsolicited and irrelevant content and links that try to divert traffic away from your site, over to someone else’s. If a spammer wants to target your visitors, they’ll submit comments on blog posts or products. If they want to grab your attention, they’ll submit forms on your site. Spam negatively affects your reputation and search engine rankings.
Don’t think your website is vulnerable to spam? Think again. Akismet, the engine behind Jetpack Anti-spam, has blocked over 500 billion spam comments — there are plenty to go around.
Solutions keep a record of common spam links, phrases, and even usernames in a database (a set of information stored on a server.) Spammers are numerous and are always adapting. But once anti-spam services identify the latest tactics, they can automatically remove unwanted comments with more precision.
The number of records the database holds matters because it directly relates to a tool’s ability to work effectively. Every user contributes data, and the more a platform has, the larger the potential database and better their ability to prevent spam. This helps website owners save even more time, since they have to moderate fewer fake comments. And what’s the point of using a spam protection service if it doesn’t catch all the spam?
Server-side or cloud-based anti-spam solutions
When it comes to installing any kind of plugin on your WordPress website, it’s important to understand the impact it can have on performance.
The databases needed to catch and filter spam are massive. But cloud-based solutions (software that runs on servers managed by the software provider) use their own resources to store all of this information and have virtually no impact on your website’s speed.
In contrast, server-side solutions (software you run on your web host’s server) utilize your host’s resources, weighing down your site and negatively impacting load time.
To CAPTCHA or not to CAPTCHA
CAPTCHAs ensure that the person submitting a form is actually a person rather than a bot. Some are invisible, while others ask you to verify that you’re not a robot or select all the pictures containing traffic signs.
When they don’t work correctly, they can annoy real users and even prevent them from completing their task. Because of this poor experience, CAPTCHAs can reduce conversion rates and cost you money.
Speaking of forms…
Some anti-spam products don’t integrate with forms, which means they only do half the work. They may block unwanted, fake comments on posts, but you’ll still receive emails with form submissions that are totally irrelevant. This is a major distraction and can take up a lot of your time! After all, when you get an email with a new customer request, you expect it to be real.
And by only catching and blocking spam in comments and leaving forms vulnerable, your website can be bombarded with attacks that result in server downtime and a lot of annoying emails.
Those aren’t the only things to consider when choosing a solution. Also pay attention to:
- Active installations: This can contribute to the quality of a solution because more users are adding to a database that identifies and prevents spam. A high number of active installations is also a good indication that users are happy with the service provided.
- Price: Understand how pricing is structured and choose a solution that fits within your budget. Keep in mind that free solutions may save you money temporarily, but if the service is sub-par, you could lose hours of time manually moderating spam comments — time you could have spent building your business!
Anti-spam solutions compared
Let’s take a look at how a few popular solutions measure up.
|Jetpack Anti-spam||Antispam Bee||Titan Anti-spam & Security|
|Description||Jetpack Anti-spam, powered by industry leader Akismet, automatically protects your site while still providing a high-quality user experience.||Antispam Bee blocks spam comments and trackbacks on your site and is available in the WordPress plugin library.||Titan Anti-spam, formerly Webvitaly, is an anti-spam and security tool.|
|Is CAPTCHA required?||No.||No.||No.|
|Is it cloud-based or server-based?||Cloud-based.||Server-based.||Unclear based on their documentation.|
|Does it protect forms?||Yes, it protects both comments and forms from Jetpack, Gravity Forms, and Contact Form 7.||No.||No.|
So what’s the verdict?
Jetpack Anti-spam: Since Jetpack partners with Akismet, it’s backed by more than five million installations that contribute to an incredibly robust database. It doesn’t impact site speed, doesn’t require an annoying CAPTCHA, and does protect supported forms — a popular choice for a good reason.
Bonus: If you purchase Jetpack Security, which includes Jetpack Anti-spam, you also get additional features like site backups and malware scanning.
Antispam Bee: Unlike Jetpack, Antispam Bee is server-based, so it may only be a good option for simple websites. Antispam Bee has just a fraction of the installs that more popular solutions (like Jetpack Anti-spam) have. This means that it’s less likely to catch all spam, and you may still need to spend some time monitoring comments.
Titan Anti-spam & Security: Titan Anti-spam & Security only has 200,000 installations and focuses on more than just spam. So, its database is not as strong as Jetpack’s. While it doesn’t require a CAPTCHA, it also doesn’t prevent form spam. If you’re simply looking for the highest-quality anti-spam program at an affordable price, this may not be your best choice.
The right tool for your website
Spam slows down your site, ruins your reputation, and is downright annoying. Thankfully, Jetpack has a solution that goes to work right away, protects both comments and forms, doesn’t require a CAPTCHA, and won’t take up valuable server space.
In the end, do your research to make the right decision for your site. But we think you can’t go wrong with Jetpack Anti-spam! It’s affordable, easy to install, and has a proven track record of success.