One of the best thing about the award-winning content management system, WordPress, is the ability to avail additional functionality through third-party scripts. It’s called plugin. A plugin extends the functionality of a WordPress-powered site significantly. Literally, there are no WordPress-powered blogs that don’t have at least a few number of plugins installed and activated. In fact, it is mandatory that you install some useful plugins for WordPress to improve security, functionality, and visibility in search engine result pages (SERP).
However, most plugins are not authored by the developers of WordPress. Therefore, it may not be safe to install plugins in your site from other than WordPress plugin directory. The plugin directory consists of thousands of plugins. Sometimes, it’s easy to get deeply confused which plugin to install for a specific functionality. That’s when you look for a review on the Internet.
There are a few things to do after installing WordPress. Installing a plugin to prevent spam comments is one of those. Today, I’ll introduce you to the best solution to preventing spam comments without the risk of losing legitimate comments.
Why Not Akismet
Akismet comes default with every WordPress installation. It is authored by the core developers of WordPress. It works really good using its algorithm. It determines which comments are machine-generated and automatically filters them into spam. However, the downside of Akismet is: it often catches legitimate comments as spam and filters them into spam folder. Legitimate comment means a comment submitted by a real reader not in the purpose of link building or spamming. Once your site starts receiving heavy traffic from search engines, you are very likely to get such spam comments full of URLs. You will always find your spam folder full of thousands of spams. It’s impossible to manually check all of them to find out the good comments.
That’s when I started looking for an alternative solution. One common solution out there is activating a captcha plugin which requires everyone to enter a captcha before submitting comments. However, this kind of makes commenting harder. That’s why I kept looking for a better alternative and came up with the best alternative out there: G.A.S.P.
G.A.S.P. is a shortened form of Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin. It is an easy way to prevent robots from submitting comments. This free little plugin adds a checkbox in the end of every comment box. That checkbox needs to be checked in order for the Submit button to work. As you can guess, an automated bot cannot check a checkbox. Thus, the comment will not be submitted.
Yes, G.A.S.P. filters spambots even before they are submitted to your site.
G.A.S.P. is available for download from WordPress plugin directory. Click here and then click the big red download box to start downloading the zip file. Once downloaded, decompress the file to your WordPress’ wp-content > plugins folder. You can even try this on your local computer (See this post if you don’t know how to install wordpress on a Windows computer).
The better way to do this is through your WordPress dashboard. If your site is online, simply log in to your dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New. In the search box, type growmap anti spambot plugin and hit enter. In return, you’ll see the plugin and you can install it directly to your web server.
Configuring GASP is as simple as it could be, because the concept of the plugin is quite simple. As soon as you install and activate this plugin, a separate sub-menu called G.A.S.P. will show up under the settings menu on your WordPress dashboard.
On the G.A.S.P. settings page, the first thing you can change is the label that’s shown the visitor of your site. You should change it to something more personalized so that readers can easily understand what it is and why it is important. Be very brief here and write only one short sentence.
You can optionally disallow trackbacks if you don’t like them. Below that you will find three separate fields to add personalized message to the visitor whenever something wrong happens (like checkbox not checked).
At the bottom of the page, there is an option to set the maximum number of allowed URLs in a comment. You can also set the maximum number of words in the Name field to avoid those comment writers with the purpose of building links with keywords.
Finally, you have an amazing choice whether the suspicious comments should be sent to spam or pending filter. I recommend setting it to ‘pending’ because that way you will be able to see suspicious comments as soon as they are submitted.
So, that was G.A.S.P. Spambot’s nightmare. Using this has literally changed my experience in maintaining a blog. The screenshot below will demonstrate how amazing this little plugin works.
No, I didn’t clear up the spam box. There was literally none!
What do you think of Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin? Do you know any better plugin that handles the job in an even smarter way? Let us know in the comments.