10 Effective Ways to Prevent Spam

Spam can make your website look unkempt and unprofessional. Often times bots and malicious users will leave spam in your website or blog’s comments area, or as links in guestbooks and other forms. If you have an online email or message system, you may notice people using it for spam as well. Use these 10 effective ways to get rid of spam on your website once and for all.

1. Moderate Your Comments Manually

The task of manual comment moderation sort of naturally comes with the job of owning a website or blog. The most effective way to get rid of spam on your website is to moderate the comments by hand. You can delete existing comments and even require that comments be reviewed before being posted to the site. To review the comments for spam, check for URLS with usernames or incentives or spammy comments containing irrelevant sales pitches or testimonials.

2. Install Captcha

Since most spamming bots and scripts on the web can’t pass even a basic Captcha test, this is a great way for preventing spam on your website. The drawback is that Captcha can be difficult for some users to read or interact with, which may lead to frustration among your visitors. To combat this, use a newer version of Captcha that only requires checking the “I’m a Human” box, or by providing an audio option for text Captchas.

3. Update Plugins

When you start a blog you may be tempted to use a lot of plugins to make your job easier and add features. Unfortunately some of the plugins available to blog owners have vulnerabilities from time to time that allow for spam or malicious scripts. Your site will be reasonably safe from spam if you make sure to update your plugins frequently, as the developer releases fixes and patches for any discovered issues.

4. Use Automated Spam Filters

If manually reviewing your comments isn’t practical due to time constraints or the scale of your blog or website, consider using an automated spam filter. These often come in the form of plugins and extensions and can prevent the vast majority of spam from ever being indexed with your site. These plugins are often easy to install and require no maintenance, making them idea for time-pressed site owners.

5. Email Limitations

Many websites need to allow users to send email using a form or plugin. These systems can often be misused by spammers at your expense. Make sure you have limitations in place to prevent these systems being used for spam. This includes setting a limit of how many emails each visiting IP address can send per hour. Consider using cookies to identify users and restrict overuse of your email system and forms. You can also set up a list of words that aren’t allowed through your email system for maximum protection against spam. Include words related to sales or scammy products to cast a wider net over spammers.

6. Conceal Email and Contact Information

One of the quickest ways to see your inbox fill with spam is to publish your email address online in plain text. A better idea is to use mail links in non-indexed sections of your html or simply use a button or image to let users contact you. This is another area where Captcha can be used, too. You can even make users verify they are human before seeing your contact information, if too much spam is otherwise making it’s way through. Consider using a landline for your contact number, as spammers may try to text any number published on your site which can be annoying and even inflate your cell phone bill.

7. Require Email or Phone Verification

If your website or blog has user profiles you should require email verification before allowing users to comment or message other users. This will prevent a great deal of spam, as spam-bots often neglect to go the extra step and verify emails. To make it even harder for spammers use phone verification instead of email. This is a popular practice among mobile apps.

8. Use Nofollow

Anytime your visitors leave a comment with a link you have the option to let that link be indexed and clickable or not. Use Nofollow or Dofollow to control this setting in WordPress. When you start a blog you may feel like people will comment more if you set your links for Dofollow, but this will mostly just encourage spam. Use Nofollow on all visitor links for a cleaner blog or website.

9. Block URLs From Comments and Posts

A powerful and effective way to prevent spam in your comments or user posts is to simply block URLs. You users don’t need the authority to post links on your blog, as you can do that as a webmaster. Some spammers will try to get around this by spelling out URLS or using spacing, so this method while effective, shouldn’t be your only preventive measure. With URLS disabled, your users will also be able to more easily identify spam on your website, should any make it through, since it will be oddly formatted.

10. Turn off Trackbacks

If you have a WordPress blog or website you can prevent a lot of spam by turning off trackbacks. You will find this option in the default article settings. Turning off trackbacks will discourage spammers from posting links, since they won’t be indexed as well or counted as trackbacks through the WordPress URL tracking and ranking system.

Spam can hurt the appearance and reputation of your website. Keep a well-maintained site by weeding out spam and preventing users from leaving un-moderated comments. Making sure that your plugins are up to date and minimizing your site’s vulnerabilities to spam will ensure you visitors see only the quality information you intend to provide.

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