Wp-Spamfree – Banish Comment Spam

Wp-Spamfree Comment spam is something every blogger has to endure on a daily basis. The default antispam plugin – Akismet, does a decent job of filtering, but it’s known to get it wrong. And to manually dig out the legitimate comments from hundreds of spam comments is no mean task. Recently, I reviewed two better alternatives to Akismet. However, even with Defensio and Typepad Antispam the aforementioned problems remain. As a result most bloggers are forced to implement multiple antispam techniques. The most popular ones being –

Arrow Challenge-response tests : These tests attempt to distinguish a human from a bot by analyzing their response to a server generated question. The most popular implementation is captcha, which asks the user to retype a sequence of letters displayed in an image. While this may help you in reducing the number of spam comments, it will also aggravate your readers and discourage them from commenting. Due to this more bloggers are switching to less annoying challenge-response tests like Challenge

Even with these newer plugins the main problem remains – the commenter is made to put in extra effort. Not only that, a significantly large number of spam comments manage to get through these challenge-response tests.

Arrow IP Address based filtering : While this doesn’t require any action on the commenter’s behalf, its not very accurate either. And no ones knows that better than me, since almost all ip address based blacklists have Dataone’s (India’s largest ISP) ip addresses on their blacklist.

After trying multiple plugins and multiple approaches, I have finally found a spam blocker that works. It’s Wp-Spamfree. Before using Wp-Spamfree I used to get more hundred spam comments (often in excess of two hundred). Now, on an average I get zero spam comment every day!!

So, how does Wp-Spamfree work? In the plugin developer’s own words :

Few bots can process JavaScript (JS). Few bots can process cookies. Fewer still, can handle both. In a nutshell, this plugin uses a dynamic combo of JavaScript and cookies to weed out the humans from spambots, preventing 99%+ of automated spam from ever getting to your site. It’s important to know that the particular JS and cookies solution used in WP-SpamFree has evolved quite a bit, and is no longer simple at all. There are now two layers of protection, a JavaScript/Cookies Layer, and an Algorithmic Layer. Even if bot authors could engineer a way to break through the JavaScript/Cookies Layer, the Algorithmic Layer would still stop 95% of the spam that the JavaScript Layer blocks. This JavaScript Layer utilizes randomly generated keys, and is algorithmically enhanced to ensure that spambots won’t beat it. The powerful Algorithmic Layer is what eliminates trackback/pingback spam, and much human spam as well. And, it does all that without hindering legitimate comments and trackbacks.

One potential cause for worry is that users with js disabled wont be able to comment. But, such users form a very very small minority.

Off topic rant : A surprisingly large amount of users with js disabled are paranoid Firefox users with no-script plugin. Not only is completely disabling Javascript unneccessary, it actually spoils the web experience as a huge majority of websites (including almost all web 2.0 websites) just won’t work without JavaScript.

Also this plugin has compatibility issues with some plugins that interfere with the comment system. So after installing the plugin don’t forget to check out if a guest can still comment. If you experience any problems, contact the developer (Scott Allen) who provides support for free.

Wp-Spamfree is the best antispam plugin I have come across. Give it a try and you may just be tempted to ditch all other antispam plugins.

26 Responses to Wp-Spamfree – Banish Comment Spam

  1. ameo July 1, 2008 at 3:07 am #

    OK here is the summary I’m familiar with personally ,
    askimet ————- normal
    defensio————— good but complicated ,
    challenge —————–the best thing i love
    wp-spam free ——— Sux
    some times i just tend to disable JS and EVERY website has this plugin i just have to enable it for this site using opera site specific perf. :D like yours ;)

  2. Pallab July 1, 2008 at 3:13 am #

    Why do you have js disabled? Its much better to disable specific funtionalities (as opera allows you to), or to disable js on specific websites.

  3. ameo July 1, 2008 at 4:34 am #

    js might carry some bad security risks and it some times faster to browse without ,
    and simply enable for the site that tells me it need it urgently

  4. Carl Mercier July 1, 2008 at 7:02 am #

    Why do you think Defensio is complicated?

  5. Siddharth July 1, 2008 at 7:20 am #

    I sitll think akismet rocks
    till now not more than 2 spams have gone out of its box :D

  6. narendra.s.v July 1, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    oh this is better than Akismet :O

  7. ameo July 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    @ Carl Mercier :
    defensio has strong antispam engine , BUT it has some extra features that won’t be need by most blogger at least 95% won’t be using it .
    and that that spam stats !
    no one need to check the spam he got last year or in certain time on the archive ! yes people check their logs daily but logs for good stuff like site hits and PR and even comment amount , but spam stats . just seems over described and when i tested defension i was only logging in defension CP just for getting APIs and that is it ,

    the second point i want to talk about is the acuracy ratio
    http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/9686/20080701115332tg0.png

    all i know about comments is that it has only 2 faces

    Spam and legitimate comments ,

    there is no 50 percent spam or 90 % spam it’s either spam or not ,
    that issue really got me confused first time i installed defensio , i didn’t know what value should i use so i used what you adviced 80 %

    —— ——- ——- ——– ——- ——-

  8. Pallab July 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    Actually, that is a feature and a good one. Algorithms are not as skilled at analysis as human minds. So, its not as simple as “Either Spam or not”. They try to gauge the spaminess based on a variety of factors. Defensio allows you to make the filter more strict or loose depending upon whether too many spams are getting through or legitimate comments getting blocked.
    One great thing about defensio is that it allows you to arrange comments according to spaminess ratings, making it easier to spot false positives.

  9. Pallab July 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    My main issue with Akismet is that it blocks many legitimate comments too.

  10. Ajay July 1, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    i don’t much about any of the spam filters.
    i think this post help me to solve my spam problem

  11. Pallab July 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Did you try the Wp-Spamfree plugin?

  12. Carl Mercier July 1, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    Ameo,

    Thanks for your answer.

    Statistics is our way of being transparent and telling you exactly how well/bad we’re doing. As far as I know, we’re the only service that publishes these. Maybe you don’t find them interesting or useful, but it’s actually one of the biggest selling point for us and most people love this feature. And we’re not scared of telling the world how good/bad we are, because we believe in our algorithm! ;-)

    Saying that spam is black or white couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion, and that’s why we perform so much better than the competition: we make that subtle distinction.

    For example, on my blog, I’m very strict about who I let comment. If a guy named “Download Free Music” comments, even if it’s relevant to my post, I’ll flag it as spam because he’s obviously just trying to crank up his Google juice. However, I know many people who want to have the same comment featured on their blog if the content is relevant, regardless of what the commenter is trying to accomplish.

    Defensio learns from those behaviors of yours and will automagically adjust accordingly. The spaminess ranking is our way of saying what our level of confidence is regarding a given comment. It allows you to sort spam in a much smarter manner, making comment management a breeze. No more going through hundreds of pages of spam to find false positives: if there’s any, they’ll just bubble up to the top! That said, we understand that 85% spaminess doesn’t mean anything to mere mortals, so that’s why we “bucketize” everything as “not very spammy, very spammy, extremely spammy”, etc to make it easier to understand for you. Machines prefer to sort on numbers, though, so that’s why we return a % value through our API.

    The “hide obvious spam” setting doesn’t affect accuracy, it’s just a way to clean up your screen a little bit. Maybe we could be clearer about what it does…

    This discussion is interesting, cheers!

  13. ameo July 2, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    @ Carl Mercier :
    i agree with all you’ve said other than the stats part . coz it still show no need for users , each day blogger will notice the good work of defensio just through the counter in wordpress dashboard or any other CMS that supports defensio .

  14. Carl Mercier July 2, 2008 at 7:47 am #

    I think you’re completely missing the point. The number of spam an anti-spam service catches doesn’t mean it’s doing a good job. What if it catches every legitimate comment as spam? It’s obviously doing a very poor job even though the spam count might be high. Only an accuracy statistics will tell you how good we’re doing.

  15. ameo July 2, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    @ Carl Mercier :
    okay , let me first mention that I’m completely objective third party outsider with completely no personal interest in the matter .

    we are talking about the spam stats on defensio user CP not the accuracy measures , offcourse if the spam filters is catching all comments as spam will increase the stats level and won’t be such a good sign .
    i think askimet also has stats

    http://akismet.com/stats/

    and it doesn’t require registering or signing in to askimet to show it although it’s not as personal as defensio stats BUT it does the same job and it show how askimet did today globally

    why doesn’t defensio do that ? or simply integrate it into wordpress dashboard .. there is no need to separt the stats from comments moderation !

    after i took another look at my defensio installation i did found it pretty cool to sort the spam in the quarantine
    but still the basic spam protection , defensio has it to five classes i think 50 , 60 . .. , 100% is a bit OVER .
    if i got it the right way .. 80% spam threshold will hide a comment with 2 links and some keywords in it and 50 % won’t !? then what is the need of these variation , why don’t defensio just set it’s measures to optimal values that suites every one , and disable this feature
    no one loves spam and if some one did then he won’t be even thinking about having any antispam protection

  16. Dries July 5, 2008 at 4:00 am #

    Tried Mollom yet to block spam? See http://mollom.com. A WordPress plugin was made available recently at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-mollom.

  17. Ovais Mirza April 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Wp-Spamfree is actually a great plugin for anti spamming……one of my friend told me about that..he is using it for almost six months and very much satisfied..

  18. Harsh Agrawal July 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I have been using Akismet from first day and in between I switched to some alternative spam commenting measure.
    I installed captcha and comment on my blog lowered down by almost 50%. I installed another spam prevention plugin and many comments landed into spam and many spam comment appeared in moderation queue…

    My View: Akismet is good, though you need to check spam folder once in a while.. Also when people are using keywords while commenting @place of name, chances are high it will land into Spam folder.
    .-= Harsh Agrawal´s last blog ..Thesis 18 Coming Soon- Download Thesis Now =-.

  19. used tires October 4, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    You know… Akismet has been the same forever… they should really take a look at some of these plugins and think about implementing some of these features for us users to be able to take advantage of!

    Till then,

    Jean

  20. Computer Tips Tricks October 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Akismet has been doing fine for me but sometimes you know it might not be that accurate though and still spams come in. It’s good to have alternatives but I wonder if they run together with Akismet. Will try it out.

  21. Jasmine October 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I think Akismet is really good in filtering out spam comments. So far I am quite happy with this plugin but lately quite a number of spam comments have slipped through. I think I will need to check out WP spamfree. Hope it works well!

  22. Corporate Photographer October 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi

    I am looking to change my anti spam plugin but need to ask if Wp-Spamfree has any conflict with CommentLuv or KeywordLuv. Will it conflict with the dofollow? Grant

  23. Jasmine November 14, 2010 at 12:57 am #

    Wp-spam free looks pretty promising! And of course, every blog should at least have Akismet!

  24. Raji22 January 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    So, how does Wp-Spamfree work? In the plugin developer

  25. p90x January 17, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks for the recommendation. Was Askimet not enough? Akismet does seem to miss some of the spam on my blogs but a lot of them are deleted. Do you run both Akismet and Wp-Spamfree? Thanks for the advice.

    - Robert

  26. Corporate photographer in London July 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Interesting, i’ve tryed using seval anti-spam plug in’s but yet to find one that actually is worth its worth.
    Would also be interested to see if it works o.k with comment luv
    Mark.

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