The commenting feature of WordPress allows bloggers to interact with their readers. On a certain case, you can also use it as a medium to provide technical support. Unfortunately, not everything goes the way you expected. Often times, you have to deal with a bunch of spam comments on your WordPress site instead of the type of comments you expected when you wrote your articles.
There are lots of ways to stop spam comments on your WordPress site. Before installing an anti-spam plugin, you can implement the tips we are going to share below to get rid of the spam comments on your WordPress site.
8 simple ways to stop spam comments in WordPress without a plugin
WordPress offers some settings you can apply to reduce spam comments or even stop them completely. You can access those settings by going to Settings -> Discussion on your WordPress dashboard.
1. Manually approve the comments
The default setting of WordPress approves all comments getting in via the comment box on your site. If you leave this default setting, it could be a huge gate for spammers to bombard your website with spam comments. The problem is getting worse if the spam comments are read by your real visitors as it could ruin your site reputation.
You can manually approve the comments to make sure only the appropriate comments to appear on the comment section on your website. To do so, go to the Discussion Settings page on your WordPress dashboard (Settings -> Discussion) and scroll down to the Before a comment appears section and check the Comment must be manually approved option.
While this method might look exhausting, you can combine it with other tips below. Read on.
2. Create a blocklist
After implementing the first tip above, you can then create a blocklist to make sure only the real comment to enter the approval queue. You can create a list that contains inappropriate words on its content, name, or URL. On the Discussion Settings page, scroll down to the Comment Blocklist section and enter the words you want to block on the available box.
WordPress will automatically move the words in the list to the Trash. WordPress executes the words vertically. To make sure the list executed properly, add one word per line.
3. Turn off anonymous comments
One of the purposes of spammers to comment on your website is to get a backlink or traffic. To achieve their mission, some spammers use an anonymous identity. In WordPress, it’s easy to stop anonymous comments. On the Discussions Settings page, go to the Other comment settings section and make sure the Comment author must fill out name and email option is checked. When this option is checked, your visitors are required to enter their identity (Name and email address) before being able to add a comment.
4. Reduce/ban links in comments
As mentioned on tip number 3 above, one of the purposes of spammers to comment on your website is to get a backlist or traffic. If you want to get link-free comments only, you can set the number on the Comment Moderation section to 0. Any comment that contains a link will be automatically added to the moderation queue if you set the number to 0.
If you want to allow comments with certain numbers of links, you can simply enter the number you want. For instance, if you set the number to 1, visitors can only add the maximum of 1 link on their comment.
5. Only allow comments from logged in users
Best practice for a membership/community site. You can apply this tip to make sure only those having an account on your website to be able to post a comment. On the Discussion Settings page, scroll down to the Other comment settings section and check the Users must be registered and logged in to comment option.
6. Automatically close comments on old posts
Spammers that try to get traffic from a certain keyword might find your old articles (using a certain tool) and leave a comment on them. To prevent this annoying practice, you can instruct WordPress to automatically disable comments on old posts. To do so, scroll down to the Other comment settings section on the Discussion Settings page. Check the Automatically close comments on posts older than option enter a certain number. WordPress will automatically disable comments on articles within days (according to the number you entered) from the day they were posted.
For instance, if you set the number to 14, WordPress will automatically disable the comments on articles two weeks from the day there were posted.
7. Disable comments for individual posts
For a certain reason, you might want to disable comments on a specific post (regardless of you want to avoid spam comments or not). WordPress allows you to do so. When writing a new article (you can also edit a published article, of course), open the Documents tab on the Settings panel and scroll down to the Discussion section and uncheck Allow comments option. This will disable the comments for the associated post.
8. Disable comments entirely
The default setting of WordPress allows visitors to comment on articles on your website. If you want to disable comments on the entire website, you can uncheck the Allow people to submit comments on new posts option on the Default post settings section on the Discussion Settings page.
Please note that unchecking this option only disables comments on new posts. All comments on the published articles will still exist unless you remove the comment section by editing your theme.
The bottom line
The commenting feature of WordPress allows you to build engagement with your readers on your articles. Unfortunately, spammers don’t care about content engagement. They only care about site traffic regardless of the method. Thankfully, WordPress offers settings you can apply to combat spam comments on your website. If they are not enough, you can also install an anti-spam plugin.
You can also protect the comment box on your website with reCAPTCHA or a similar verification tool to add an extra spam protection layer. For more solid spam protection, you can also install a security plugin.