Best of WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins and Why You Need None to Fight Spam

Best of WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins and Why You Need None to Fight Spam

Today, while skipping rope I was pondering (my level of concentration increases when I skip rope) the reason behind the availability of innumerable anti-spam WordPress plugins. Did the creators of WordPress not think about spam issues and don’t they do so now when WordPress has gone viral? Actually, that isn’t the case. WordPress, as a Content Management System, comes loaded with basic features to tackle spam. It is just that we have been spoon fed the idea that a plugin is a must for any WordPress feature other than writing articles and uploading images.

Plugins are required for extra features. Believe me, basics are always packed with WordPress. This discussion will go through some of the best WordPress plugins to fight spam and later on excogitate the WordPress dashboards to find out if we really need such plugins.

Best of WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins and Why You Need None to Fight Spam

P.S. Don’t ask me why I was thinking about WordPress spam while skipping rope. I tend to think weird things at weird times.

The Showcase of WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins

The upcoming list of Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins will help you run a (literally) spam free WordPress blog. It will be your call when it comes to using the best out these bests. Remember, plugins tend to slow down your blog (even when the time period is fractions of seconds) so think before you install such plugins.

Akismet happens to be one of the first WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins which actually started the trend of Anti-Spam plugins. As of now Akismet comes packed with default WordPress plugins which in itself explains the importance of this plugin. Akismet requires a registration key but once you are through the setup then you can literally forget the plugin. It will continue to perform its job without requiring any interference from your end. Although, the occasional plugin updates at your discretion will be required.


This is another famous WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin which has received plenty of downloads and positive critic ratings. The unique feature of this plugin is the collection of words from old books that it uses for CAPTCHA verification. The functionality used for this plugin was acquired by Google which helped the plugin reach the heights of fame. The plugin has a lot of content for you to read if you have time to do so.


WP Hash Cash
Users are required to submit a proof-of-work in order to confirm that the website was opened in a Web Browser and not by some bot. WP Hash Cash provides admin with three options for comments that fail the JavaScript test. Firstly, you have the option to push the comment into a moderation queue. Secondly, you can push the comment into the default Akismet queue. Thirdly, you have the option of deleting the comment without a second thought.

Additionally, the plugin protects sign-up pages from dummy bots. The plugin is 100% standards complaint with XHTML 1.1 which is hardly the case with other plugins.

bcSpamBlock is a JavaScript based Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin that uses JavaScript and the crypt () functionality of PHP in order to smartly fight spam. Users that block JavaScript are switched to a CAPTCHA based legitimacy check exercise. This helps bcSpamBlock control spam from all fronts. The plugin hasn’t yet received the amount of recognition that other plugins have but it has left its mark pretty neatly.

The above plugin uses a part of the code from JS Spam Block which will be discussed next.

JS Spam Block
Like its child plugin, bcSpamBlock, JS Spam Block uses JavaScript to tackle unwanted spam in WordPress blogs. Legitimate users are asked to enter a given number which proves the authenticity of a real user over a spam bot. JS Spam Block comes loaded with backward compatibility for non-JavaScript users therefore this plugin too covers all sorts of spam. The plugin has received enough positive critic ratings which prove that it is good at what it does.

Spam Stopper
Much like other anti-spam plugins, Spam Stopper WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin uses CAPTCHA features to validate the originality of a comment. It uses JavaScript to validate if the required fields in the WordPress comment form have been filled with correct data. The plugin skips the CAPTCHA validation if the user is logged into the WordPress dashboard. It simply assumes that the author won’t leave spam comments in his own blog.

Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam
Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin uses CAPTCHA based validation functionality to gauge if the comment is from an authentic human or a spam bot. It will ask commenters to enter a random word (as per the CAPTCHA image) before the comment goes into the blog. Some of the exciting features of this plugin are the customization of words displayed in CAPTACHA image, random font display, no JavaScript required, audio feature for the visually impaired and a lot more.
The downside of this plugin is the unavailability of an auto-upgrade feature. To update the plugin you will have to perform manual tasks. Although updating a plugin manually isn’t a herculean task, some hearts do start pumping blood very quickly when they read the word – manual.

Spam Free WordPress
This plugin claims 100% spam blocking rate and the amount of downloads (almost) confirms the same. The plugin uses multiple features like IP address block list in case of manual spam. The plugin proudly boasts of its 100% spam blocking rate and boasts about even Akismet not promising the perfect blocking rate. I guess such comments take the Anti-Spam war to another level but at the end of the day it is the user who benefits from such war of anti-spam plugins so it is good!

And, Why You Don’t Need the Above Plugins!

I have no intentions of disrespecting the hard work done by programmers in order to launch the plethora of Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins. Really. But, I am a WordPress user and my life revolves around WordPress. I won’t be doing justice to the best Content Management System if I do not introduce my readers to some of its amazing features.

You (the WordPress user) might have already been through every page on your WordPress dashboard and assumed that without a plugin spam will kill your WordPress blog. Actually, Plugins must be used when webmasters want to utilize extended features that WordPress does not support. Otherwise, the basic WordPress features might just do well!

No Spam

Ignorance will stall your own blog. How? Well, when you ignore the basic WordPress features and use plugins instead then you give away memory for those plugins to run smoothly. That is when your blog starts to lag. Let us quickly look into different WordPress features that can fight spam without using plugins. The Settings > Discussion section from your WordPress Dashboard will now be our point of discussion.

Default Article Settings

I am assuming that you dream about people leaving gazillions of comments on your posts so the comments cannot be blocked. From this section we can cut down pingback and trackback notifications. These are the silly heads up that keep popping up when some article from your blog is linked by some other article. This step eliminates the requirement of those plugins that fight pingback and trackback notifications. Trust me, you don’t need them.

Default Article Settings

Other Comment Settings

Fields like Name and E-Mail in the comments form must be marked as mandatory fields. As this is turned on by default in WordPress installations most WordPress blogs have this setting enabled already.

Other Comments Settings 1

If you require users to log in before leaving comments then this will cut down on a significant amount of spam comments. This step might be a turn off for few legit readers who want to leave a comment but don’t want to sign in. So, analyze before you enable this feature.

Usually old posts are the target of spammers instead of legit readers. So, it is suggested that you close comments on post that are pretty old. Say 3 months? If you are writing articles that are evergreen for discussion then you might want to skip this suggestion.

Other Comments Settings 2

E-mail Me Whenever

You can use this feature if you don’t get thousands of comments on your posts. You will get email notifications for every comment that pops up and you can mark it spam right away cutting down on a section of spam comments.

Email Me Whenever

Before a Comment Appears

Allowing readers who have previously left a comment to leave a comment again without requiring any approval will help you cut down the legit comments in the moderation queue while you can mark the rest of the spam comments as – spam!

Before a Comment Appears

Comment Moderation

Usually, spam comments have plenty of outgoing links. Pushing such comments into a moderation queue will give you the time to approve the legit comments and spam off the useless ones.

Hold Comment in Queue

Comment Moderation Blacklist

If you smartly tune your Comment Moderation Blacklist and regularly update it with words that you think are often part of spam comments then you will eradicate the need for plugins that do the same task. It might take some patience to build such a list but the hard work will surely pay off. This will remove the need for any third party blacklists and plugins that use such lists to fight spam.

Comment Moderation Blacklist

Comment Blacklist

Comment Blacklist is more or less similar to above list. The only difference is that comments blacklisted through this list will be directly marked as spam and they won’t be pushed into the moderation queue for re-consideration. Use this list very carefully otherwise some legit comments will be marked as spam.

Comment Blacklist

Life Without Akismet

Akismet anti-spam WordPress plugin comes loaded with default WordPress installation so it must be important? Well, not really if you are using the above features smartly and updating them regularly. Please understand that every plugin will eat up a section of your useful memory which might (as pointed out before) slow down your blog. Use the aforementioned features and you might not even feel the need for Akismet!


Let me know if you will take the extra step of disabling Akismet and start fighting spam without any WordPress plugins. I am ready to take this step. Joining me?

Salman Siddiqui is a seasoned WordPress critic with 5 years of WordPress experience. He is an alpha geek with a degree in computer engineering. He spends his day as software engineer with a Fortune 100 company and nights as a freelance writer. He believes that everyone must blog about something and plans to be a full time writer in future.


    • dj,
    • January 28, 2012
    / Reply

    Interesting viewpoint – a bit… ah… let’s just say that I don’t interpret the situation like you do. I’ve just (past 6 months) entered the brave new world of WordPress, having been strictly in the realm of HTML, CSS and jQuery for close to 15 years. Like most others, spam has been an increasingly irksome bunch of crap to me which has sometimes provoked me to throw things. HOWEVER, I never knew what pain was until I uploaded WP to my server and began the conversion process for a couple of HTML sites! Mind you, even after 6 months, only one has actually gone live. Three others are on my server but there is absolutely NO published links to them – and the only way I can get in is to use a URL that appears nowhere on the web! All three of them began receiving identical spam within two weeks of them being initiated – AND, I already figured out and use ALL of the [forgive me… piddley] methods you espouse here. I’ve also realized that activating AKISMET does nothing more than move the spam from your “moderate” box into the AKISMET box – which, until recently, I have been checking as if it were my moderatoin que. And just for larks, the LAST site I began working on, I immediately changed options to “keep the site from being scanned by search engine bots – which didn’t work either, and it’s still receiving spam without being live!

    So perhaps the article was for “shock value” and if that’s the case it worked! HOWEVER, in filling out this comment – I notice that YOU have NOT yet taken your own advice and still use some “spam protection 6 + 9 =” JS, which you seem to decry in your article. So, if this wasn’t merely for shock value — good luck! Let me know how it works out for you!

      • dj,
      • January 28, 2012
      / Reply

      In actuality… I got so carried up in the moment that I forgot the real reason I commented. Thanks for the list of things NOT to use – several, seem quite good and worth trying out. [I wish your article had been on the specifics about exactly how much of a server “hit” each one would give and the relative merits of each.]

  1. / Reply

    I want to know how you added your 2+3 solution. Via Javascript? I tried doing it via WordPress in the comments section but it turns out I have to edit core files to do it. I was thinking of having an array of random questions/answers similar to what you have below.

    Let me know please.

    • Paul,
    • January 28, 2012
    / Reply

    I use disqus for comments and they use akismet underneath so they normally do a good job in blocking most of the spam coming through to your site.

    • Don,
    • January 29, 2012
    / Reply

    I agree with dj. Had one WP site which really got hammered with spam even with Akismet turned on.
    And I do like the math spam catpcha technique. Thanks for your post.

  2. / Reply

    The Math Capcha is done via, the “Math Comment Spam Protection” plugin.

    I also like the (just as simple) validation plugins that ask you to “check the check box to prove you are a human.

    Simplicity as it best :-)


  3. / Reply

    Thanks for a great article Salman, made me go back and re-think and re-set a couple of setting.

    Too often you set up and forget, so thanks for reminder and good ideas.

  4. / Reply

    Thanks for sharing about spam details to us.

  5. / Reply

    I’ve ditched Akismet since I ran into problems where it wouldn’t check my comments, and their tech support was unable to help me.
    Since then, I’ve been using Antispam Bee which hasn’t given me any grief and works great.

  6. / Reply

    It’s nice to be able to break out of the slump o’ spam. Honestly Akismet is a livesaver. I can’t imagine life without it! :0

    • Steve,
    • February 9, 2012
    / Reply

    It’s so hard to know the best route to take. I’ve used Akismet, but have had to spend time going through the spam to make sure it didn’t tag any legit comments (which happens periodically). I then tried the GASP plugin, which seem to work great, but doesn’t allow people to leave comments if they don’t have javascript enabled. Now I’m a bit gun-shy about using some of these javascript plugins. I hate the thought of missing out on real comments, because something was not just right with their computer, or the plugin, or all of the above. Oh bother…

    Thanks for the great tips though. I’m sure I’ll eventually figure this thing out. :-)

    • Jane,
    • February 15, 2012
    / Reply

    Thank for the information now i know to protect my blog against spammer cheers!!! from Philippines

  7. / Reply

    Thank for the information now i know to protect my blog against spammer cheers!!! from Philippines Mabuhay ka!!!

  8. / Reply

    Excellent article. I don’t use any plugins for spam on my blog. Mine isn’t very high traffic, so I just approve them for now.

    Many times simple solutions can be done using the default wordpress software or hard coding into the template versus installing a plugin.

    • Noel,
    • February 19, 2012
    / Reply

    A great article and practical. I will certainly have a look at my settings and adjust. I have just bookmarked your site. Great I will be back

  9. / Reply

    Great article, which is the best plugin to blacklist some ip’s from commenting again.

    Thank you

  10. / Reply

    i am using “akismet” but it filters too many not spam mails… but this javascript calculus captcha can also filter some dumber visitors… sometimes there is a dog on my website and not everyone can calculate… other way would be to hire someone as a spam checker lol ;)

    • melly,
    • May 1, 2012
    / Reply

    you have discussed a nice thing . no people will get more aware regarding spams.

    • Mbz,
    • May 3, 2012
    / Reply

    Great post! Fighting spams takes longer time than writing posts. I used akismet but sometimes it didn’t work as what I expect, and neither did Spam Free WordPress plugin, a lot of mistakes found. I don’t use them now, and it is better. I do the steps as mentioned above instead, and everything is fine.

    • Phil,
    • May 16, 2012
    / Reply

    Spam is always an issue and I must admit to just going with Askimet as the sort of ‘default’ option. However I agree with some of the other comments here that it simply filters out too many ‘real’ user comments to be considered 100% accurate. The problem comes when you are getting huge amounts of spam – it is simply self defeating to have to go back through and look for the real comments.

    I like the WordPress solution above and have never thought about it (or even looked!). Will see how this works out. From what I have seen on a Forum I help out, the maths Captcha definitely seems one of the strongest solutions at present. Thanks!

    • Mike,
    • June 2, 2012
    / Reply

    Ya I found this article very interesting cuz we have about 200 articles on our blog and feel I might be missing a key element since I have comments turned off, I just didnt want to deal with all the spam I have dealt with in the past. After further review feel im missing out on alot of user comments that could help my site and add value. Im going to try it without the plugins (crossing my finders) and see what happens ( nothing to loose by trying). But feel I want some some layer to stop the bots. So as Pauls said just use the Math questions.

    Takeaway Note: I like that you suggested to minimize plugins that bog down our wp sites. This has been a focus for me the last few months to trim some that are just not needed. :)

    Q: how do you make comments no-follow automatically or is this just wp default setting?

    • Manteca,
    • June 13, 2012
    / Reply

    believe it or not SPAM actually serves a purpose and plays a useful role in this thing we all call the internet.

    • Manteca,
    • June 13, 2012
    / Reply

    dang … as you can tell I’m not very good at it either.

    • Sci,
    • June 20, 2012
    / Reply

    Nice post who are expect to rescue from spammers

  11. / Reply

    Haha, about 5 spam comments made it through here. Maybe it’s time to get some plug-ins?

    I like the tip with deactivating comments in old posts though – anything older than a year should surely be ok to block.

    1. / Reply

      Hi Thomas,

      Welcome to the Internet. You may not be aware of this but years later when you search for something it is then current to you. It does not matter that the post is years old, the topic is fresh to you.

      Shutting off comments for older posts is not only insulting to the person reading your post but it will drive people away from your site quicker than you can say, “Bad User eXperience.”

      You should also note that the author now uses an anti-spam plugin. As should everyone.

  12. / Reply

    if akismet is not enough for anti-spam, what is the best plugin? I’ve tried nospamnx plugin, the method used is quite easy because users do not need to write a character, or adding up numbers. but there are some bugs, especially the appearance of an error code when wp_debug enabled.
    *sorry about my bad english

  13. / Reply

    I like all it. Do we can use more one it?

    • Sumangali,
    • July 20, 2012
    / Reply

    Thanks for a great article Salman

    • Jaqs,
    • July 21, 2012
    / Reply

    Very helpful and resourceful.

    Thank you!

  14. / Reply

    NIce Post. Thanks for the information.. now i am bull guard for my blog .

    • Vicky,
    • July 23, 2012
    / Reply

    I do all those good WP things, and if I don’t have Akismet running, I’m still overrun with spam. The problem is, the sh!theads hire slaveys in Third-World countries to cruise sites and enter human-made posts–they have no problem filling in all the WP blanks, nor are they fazed by Captcha. The result is my e-mail inbox is full of ads for everything from porn to loan sharks, and the only way I can post comments from real readers is to wade through all that crap. Since I have two other businesses going, I don’t have time to fool with that.

    Akismet causes my site to throttle on Bluehost. Disable Akismet; the throttling stops. But WPSpamfree, which my guru thinks is almost as good, just does NOT cut the mustard. Or the spam.

    What’s needed is a spam filter that’s as good as Akismet but does not make BH throttle one’s website. ;-)

    • Joe,
    • July 24, 2012
    / Reply

    I agree, lesser plugins means a leaner, meaner, better WordPress system …

    On the other hand, if one has a huge number of comment spams (I don’t) due to a very high-profile website, then it should be a good invest to add an anti-spam plugin.

  15. / Reply

    It is very helpful information. I will definitely recommend this site to others.

    • Harris,
    • August 10, 2012
    / Reply

    Great articles! Fantastic information I also got lots of from this post and getting everything, and I will read them again and again!

    • Harris,
    • August 15, 2012
    / Reply

    I will definitely visit this site again because I learned a lot and got very helpful information from your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wpr,
    • August 22, 2012
    / Reply

    Love the comic – yeah, it’s so sad to think about the amount of junk mail and spam we get.

    • aank,
    • August 28, 2012
    / Reply

    I’ve used Disqus for a while now and found that the plugin not only improves on the comment box on my pages but also effectively eliminates spam as well as akismet does.

  16. / Reply

    I am going to try these plugins. Lately my blog started receiving a lot of spam comments and it was so annoying that I disabled comments on my site. But this makes no room for discussion between the reader and the writer of the post/article. So I was looking for a plugin that would block all spam comments. And I guess when Google sees that a site has a healthy discussion going on there, it does help in context of SEO. Don’t you think?

    P.S. Thanks for sharing this. :)

    • BC,
    • September 12, 2012
    / Reply

    While the article is a good review of the WordPress comments settings, I found the most useful information in the comments, so I’m glad you didn’t have the ability to comment turned off! (Someone above said “users may need to have javascript enabled” to use GASP. I didn’t know that, and since I’m trying to decide what to set up for my blog, every new bit of info from people who have actually done this helps. Thanks for provoking the discussion!

  17. / Reply

    Very nice site, I’ve used Disqus for a while now and found that the plugin not only improves on the comment box on my pages but also effectively eliminates spam as well as akismet does.

  18. / Reply

    thanks for this great article.I was searching in google from the last couple of days about anti spam plugins.But unfortunately i din’t find any great way.But now my journey comes to an end.Thanks a lot for your great and informative article.If you post some more interested articles like this in future.Please suggest me.
    I will surely gonna read it

  19. / Reply

    i am searching the plugins that are best for wordpress any one guide me .

  20. / Reply

    many Plugins You have mentioned above that are not updated since 2 years so should we use that plugin ? We may face the Compatibly and security issue .

  21. / Reply

    Brand new site. Live on WP. Posted two test articles to it. Shortly after getting spammed. How are they finding it?? Why? We have CAPTCHA’s on so how are they getting round them? Also have another site where we’re getting 50-100 new users a day who are just spamming their profile descriptions… wtf?! Help would be appreciated.

  22. / Reply

    Akismet is a life saver. My site was heavily spammed with more than 2000 comments a day, and Akismet blocked it with a charm

    • gamersoul,
    • March 30, 2013
    / Reply

    lol and you use disqus instead.

    • Helge Sverre Hessevik Liseth,
    • April 11, 2013
    / Reply

    I have a little conspiracy theory… WordPress sells site lists to Third Party Spammers, and Akismet is a Backdoor….

    • Ian Tomlinson,
    • April 28, 2013
    / Reply

    I’m being riddled with spam at the moment and have askimet turned on. Only this morning I had to delete 30 spam messages from my filter and I only cleared it yesterday. I’m not sure why my blog is being targeted so heavily. The idea of doing away with the plugin is pretty scarey. I think my email would ping every 5 minutes to tell me I have yet another comment about handbags!

  23. / Reply

    sounds good I will have to use these on my site

  24. / Reply

    Great post, simply put and said.

    I have been looking for a while for a few good plugins for my new blog, but
    most lists just didn’t do it for me.

    Thank you for this, I’m sharing it right away.

  25. / Reply

    What is the point of akismet if you have to still look through all the spam comments to check for legit ones that were marked spam? Why not cut off the spam in the first place with a captcha based or a question/answer or something? I don’t get many legit comments on my site, just one here or there, so the loads of spam comments are a burden. The only reason I need to check my site admin regularly is because of the spam comments in akismet.

    I will look for a different solution to cut them off more before they happen so I have less work.

    • Nghai R. González V.,
    • August 6, 2013
    / Reply

    You are my new hero. start fighting spam without any WordPress plugins. I am ready to take this step too

    • Zane,
    • October 22, 2013
    / Reply

    Good post. My biggest issue is with annoying registration spam which Askimet doesn’t appear to block. Any suggestions there?

    • claradev7,
    • October 29, 2013
    / Reply

    Hope through this plugin users can select wide variety of methods to display the captcha

    1. Sorting in increasing or decreasing order
    2. Entering biggest or smallest number
    3. Selecting Am or Am Not Spammer using combo box
    4. Entering the alphabets
    5. Addition or Subtraction

    • DeathByCactus,
    • January 9, 2014
    / Reply

    Really? Because I need some better protection then because the stock options do nothing to curtail the hundreds of spam comments I get every two days.

  26. / Reply

    I rarely use wp, and it’s very usefull for me. thankyou

    • Alex Kenley,
    • February 21, 2014
    / Reply

    Thanks mate good info

  27. / Reply

    Funny to see how many of the comments in this thread, that is actually …. nothing but spam !!!

    So much for the advise in the article. :D

    • Ken Lee,
    • August 11, 2014
    / Reply

    I cannot agree with plugin-free protection. Even if I take all the measures mentioned in the article, it’s always good to just click click click and boom, no more spam. What I really care about is saving time from moderating comments.

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