Manage Comment Spam on a WordPress Site

If you enable comments on your WordPress site, spam comments are almost inevitable.  Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help cut down on the number of spam comments you have to moderate.

Change your discussion settings

If you go to Settings>>Discussion, you can make a few quick changes to help cut down on comment spam.

Changing your discussion settings can catch spam before it ever reaches you.

What you decide on changing on this page is up to you.  While many of these settings are self-explanatory, here is a short description of what they do.

  • Automatically close comments on articles older than _____ days: Closing comments on posts that are no longer active is a good way to limit spam comments.  This option will do will allow your site to do this automatically.
  • An administrator must always approve the comment:  If you don’t check this option, comments can appear on your site without your permission.  This will not only allow an influx of spam comments, but they will appear on your posts and pages.  Check this box to maintain the maximum amount of control over your site.
  • Hold a comment in the queue if it contains _____ links:  Spam comments are designed to get users to click on links in order to drive traffic to other sites.  As a result, many spam comments contain multiple links.  Setting this option to hold all comments that contain 2 or more links will help catch more spam.
  • Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist:  You can experiment with these text boxes to catch spam that contains certain words.  However, we recommend that you don’t blacklist IP addresses.  Each comment will list an IP address for the person who posted it, but because of the way W&M’s web servers are configured, banning that IP will ban everyone from commenting on your site.
About Evan Cordulack

Evan Cordulack is a Web Applications Specialist for Academic Technology. He helps faculty members with Web-based projects related to their research and teaching. He earned his PhD in American Studies at William & Mary in 2013. Find him at