By the latest numbers, WordPress powers about one-third of all the websites on the Internet. And while that’s great for the WordPress community, it also has a dark side – people love finding ways to spam WordPress sites!
They’ll spam your site with comments. They’ll spam your site with form submissions. They’ll spam your site with fake user registrations. It’s just spam all the way down.
But you don’t have to just sit there and take it – with a WordPress anti-spam plugin, you can insulate your WordPress site from the worst spam without needing to lift a finger.
In this post, we’ve collected the best WordPress anti-spam plugins that you can use to keep your WordPress site spam free. Because spam should be eaten* – not a part of your website.
*Disclaimer, I don’t actually recommend eating spam, but you may have different culinary preferences.
The Six Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins in 2019
Here are the six best anti-spam plugins for WordPress, in no particular order…
CleanTalk is first on our list because it’s the actual WordPress anti-spam plugin that we use here at WPLift. It’s also used by plenty of other people, too – 90,000+ according to WordPress.org.
And over all those users, it’s maintained an impressive 4.8-star rating on over 1,700 user reviews.
So why do we, and others, like it so much?
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First off, CleanTalk offers a comprehensive solution that can stop spam in a ton of different ways. It can help block spam…
- Contact emails
- Survey and poll submissions
Basically, it’s one plugin that tries to stop spam everywhere on your WordPress site.
CleanTalk works by connecting to the CleanTalk cloud service and analyzing form submissions there for spam.
It also includes a SpamFirewall service, which lets you block bots before they even access your site (which reduces the load on your server, too).
Once you install and activate it, you can generate an access key with a single click. From there, it will automatically activate the spam protection.
If you want, you can then go through a detailed settings area to tweak how the anti-spam functionality works:
For example, you can decide whether to automatically delete spam comments or just move them to the spam folder.
While CleanTalk gives you a free trial to test things out, you’ll eventually need to pay to continue using the CleanTalk cloud service. It’s super affordable, though. You’ll pay just $8 per year for a single site. There are other affordable plans that allow for multiple sites.
By the numbers, Akismet is the most popular WordPress anti-spam plugin. It comes from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com, and is used on over 5 million WordPress sites.
Like CleanTalk, it works by connecting your site to the Akismet cloud service, which analyzes each comment or form submission for spam.
You can opt to put everything into the spam folder, or you can have Akismet automatically discard the worst of the spam (it will still leave edge cases in the spam folder for you to manually approve).
You’ll also get these nice analytics that let you see how much spam you’re dealing with and how accurate Akismet is:
To use Akismet, you’ll need an Akismet.com API key. This API key is free for personal blogs, but businesses and commercial sites are supposed to pay (though to be honest, there’s no verification process). Keys cost $5 per month per site.
3. Antispam Bee
Unlike CleanTalk and Akismet, Antispam Bee helps protect your site from spam without sending data to a third-party service via the API. That is, everything stays on your own WordPress server.
Once you activate it, you’ll get a settings area where you can configure lots of different features like:
- Whether to automatically delete spam comments (either immediately or after a certain amount of time)
- IP address validation
- Automatically trusting certain commenters, like already-approved commenters or people with a Gravatar
- Blocking requests from certain countries or languages
Antispam Bee is 100% free for both personal and commercial projects, though the developer does accept donations.
4. Stop Spammers
Stop Spammers is a free WordPress anti-spam plugin that aims to do exactly what its name suggests – stop WordPress spammers in their tracks.
It can help protect you from spam…
- Bots in general
Once you install and activate it, you’ll get a detailed settings area where you can configure a ton about how your anti-spam functionality works, including:
- Which protection options to use
- Allow lists
- Block lists
- Allow requests
Overall, you get a ton of options. That’s good if you like tinkering. But if you’re just a casual user, you’d probably be better served by one of the simpler WordPress anti-spam plugins above.
Anti-spam does not win points for having a creative name, but it does win points for giving you a simple way to block comment spam in WordPress.
Like Antispam Bee, it works entirely on your own site without the need for a connection to an external service.
It’s also super simple to use – it starts working as soon as you activate it, and the only setting that you need to choose is whether or not you want to save spam comments into the spam section.
Cloudflare isn’t so much a plugin as it is a service, which means I’m bending the rules a bit. But, in addition to acting as a content delivery network to speed up your site, Cloudflare can also protect you against bot traffic, which means it can also cut down on a lot of spam at your site.
If you’re interested in this approach, we have a whole tutorial on how to set up Cloudflare for WordPress. It will tell you more about all the ways in which Cloudflare helps your site, as well as how to get everything working.
What’s the Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin for Your Needs?
If you want the absolute simplest WordPress anti-spam plugin, you should go with Akismet because it:
- Is dead simple
CleanTalk is also a great option if you want a little more control. Again, it’s what we use here at WPLift.
If you want something that will work without the need to connect to a third-party service, check out Anti-spam for the absolute simplest solution, Stop Spammers if you want tons of detailed control, and Antispam Bee if you want something that sits somewhere in the middle.
Finally, hooking your site up to Cloudflare can also do a lot to cut down on spam at your site, plus you’ll get the benefits of a CDN as well!
Any questions about which is the best WordPress anti-spam plugin for your needs? Ask away in the comments!