Guide To Reducing WordPress Trackback Spam And Comment Spam

Over the last 3 months I’ve had to deal with an ever growing spam problem on my WordPress blog. At its worst I was getting over 250 spams a minute, which not only meant I was struggling to process the spam, but my poor old server was struggling under the load. Although Spam Karma was stopping approximately 98% of all the spam I was receiving, it was still incorrectly labeling a handful of genuine comments or trackbacks everyday, which were virtually impossible to locate and correct.

This week I feel that I’ve finally won the war against not only Comment Spam, but also Trackback spam so that they don’t even hit my server or SK2, and I’ve decided to share the steps I’ve taken that have virtually eliminated all Comment Spam and Trackback Spam without creating any false positives.

Send Spam Bots On A Wild Goose Chase

This is probably one of the simplest and quickest ways to reduce comment spam. Most bots work by submitting comments directly to the wp-comments-post.php file. One way to significantly reduce spam is to change the name of the file that sends a new post to your blog, so that spam bots won’t be able to complete their mission.

To learn how to do this click here.

Create Fake Comment Forms To Trick Spam Bots

This is a similar trick to the one above as it is designed to throw spam bots off course. It works by adding fake comment forms in front of the real comment form that are only visible to spam bots. Because these spam bots usually only post spam to the first forms that they see, no spam will be actually left on the real WordPress comment forms.

To learn how to do this click here.

Stop Referral Spam

One of the big drivers of spam on my server was referral spam. If you haven’t come across referral spam yet, it’s when a site creates a fake referral which appears to come from a certain site. What the spammers are hoping is that for servers that publish their top referrals, then their site will be featured and will get picked up by search engines. Unfortunately, when these ‘referrals’ hit a certain level like on my server, they can almost bring it down like a denial attack. Pretty dumb really, and very ineffective.

To stop referral spam all you have to do is install Angsuman’s Referral Bouncer Plugin. What this plugin does is basically turn the fake referrers away like a bouncer at a club.

Eliminate Trackback Spam

The final piece of my spam defence is the WP-Hardened-Trackback plugin. This plugin generates single-use, expiring trackback urls that are only usable for 15 minutes. Whenever a spam bot tries to send an automated trackback without a valid key it’s just ignored and discarded.

WP-Hardened-Track has been live for a few days now and I’ve only had a few spam trackbacks from splogs that have obviously added the trackbacks manually.

More: WP-Hardened-Trackback plugin

I hope that you found this guide useful. If you have any spam fighting methods or tips that have worked on your blog then please leave them in a comment.

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