if Spam Blockers were Superheroes, this would be the JLA

Although this blog is not yet a month old, my other blog has been going for over three years now. It originally ran on a program called Greymatter, but it was not long before i moved to the much more flexible and powerful WordPress.

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of other bloggers complaining about the amount of comment spam they’ve been getting. I’ve personally been using a combination of anti-spam measures for the last six months or so which have resulted in virtually no spam. This is not to say that they haven’t been trying, but I seriously can’t remember the last time that a spam comment actually got through. (And crossing my fingers that some jackass out there isn’t going to see that as me throwing down the gauntlet!)

My first line of defense is a plugin called Bad Behavior. This one more or less works by looking not at the content of the post, but at the behavior of the posting program with reference to HTTP requests. In other words, when it works it blocks the spam before it ever really hits your server. Certain spambots look at your site, and get a “Forbidden” response — they never even see your page. That blocks a whole lot right there, and saves your server some workload.

After that, comments have to get past the excellent Spam Karma, which is a highly modular and flexible plugin. Basically, Spam Karma uses a number of highly specific filters, each one of which looks for a particular behavior that is normally indicative of spam (examples include looking for browsers that don’t understand Javascript, or visitors that post within seconds of first coming to the page). As each filter is passed or failed, the comment is assigned positive or negative points, and if the points are too low, the comment is blocked. As a fallback, if a comment is right near the borderline, the poster is (optionally) offered a captcha test to prove he’s a human being.

My third line of defense is what I believe really puts this method over the top. Anyone who has used WordPress has probably heard of Akismet, especially as it comes included with the most recent version of WordPress. Normally it runs as its own WordPress plugin, but I use it as just one of the many tests within Spam Karma, which I believe is more effective — the combination of the two is greater than the sum of them separately. That plugin for Spam Karma (not WordPress) is available at http://www.sebbi.de/.

So if you’re having spam troubles with spam comments on WordPress, try out this triple-combo.

Those links again:

Enjoy.

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