WHAT'S WITH ALL THE SPAM ON MY BLOG?
We bloggers all know the feeling. You put all your heart and soul in writing amazing content and create, as far as you are concerned, amazing value-packed blog posts only to find yourself wondering what the world actually thought of it as soon as you had published it. Was it good? Did they like it? Had anyone questions??? And then it happened. I'll never forget the excitement when I received the notification that we RECEIVED A COMMENT on our blog. YES!
But what is that? As soon as I had a closer look I realized that this comment didn't make any sense. It was definitely not targeted to the article we had just published. Obviously somebody wanted to lure the readers of our blog to another web address. SPAM! WHAT A BUMMER!
It seemed like we got in the crosshair of SPAMMERS and received up to 10 - 20 spam comments each day. It's not the same kind of spam you receive in your email inbox on a daily basis, it's more like automated programs coming to your website and then using the comment section of your blog posts to unload their s**t for everyone to see.
These programs are also called bots which are visiting thousands of webpages each day to get the massage of their masters across. Luckily for us, there is a build-in approval process for new comments in WordPress which has at least prevented them from getting published right away.
With every spam comment we received our frustration level grew and we wondered, what could we do against those annoying and never-ending spam messages?
Although our site was secure I still had to go through each one of the comments to delete the spam and let the rest pass. In the beginning I was hoping that it might stop after a while, but turns out it didn't. We received more spam comments than ever. So I had to find another way to stop it myself.
So, what can you do against all those spam comments?
Did you ever hear of reCaptcha? If not you’ve probably seen it on the web before. Every time you have to confirm that "you are not a robot" reCatcha is the program running in the back. In the early days, you had to type some barely readable words into a box, remember?
ReCaptcha a free service offered by Google which is designed to protect your website from spam. If set up properly, it will recognize automated users (the so called "bots" I was referring to earlier) and prevent them from commenting on your website. Pretty clever, huh?
For legit users it’s most of the times just a click into a little square and Google will verify your humanness 🙂 Sometimes it will be slightly more complicated such as solving a little task (Select all pictures with street signs in it) but basically easy enough for every human to solve 🙂
If you like to read more about it, here's a link which describes it in more depth. http://www.google.com/recaptcha
We decided to use reCaptcha to automatically lock out all the mean spammers from our blog and only letting "the good ones" pass.
How to set up the reCaptcha plugin for your wordpress blog
Basically, reCaptcha is just a little piece of PHP code which is activated every time somebody or something is browsing your site and then connects to the google service in the background. Once activated it displays this little window “Confirm that you are not a Robot”.
There are several ways to include this code in your blog, but since we are using a WordPress setup for our blog "Hungry Backpack", I’ll be only covering how to implement reCaptcha using a WordPress plugin.
So let’s go...
We are using the plugin Google Invisible reCaptcha for WordPress by Mihai Chelaru, but there are several others out there. Without testing them all I guess they work similar in their functionalities. After installing and activating this plugin all you need is the private key and the secret key from your Google reCaptcha account. Say what????
What you need to do is go to the reCaptcha site and login with your Google credential's. You'll need a Google account in order to be able to do this. When you've logged in you have to register your website you intend to protect - this is where you insert your blog domain. You can also select the type of reCaptcha you want to use - we used invisible.
Once you've done that, you'll find the necessary keys under the Adding reCAPTCHA to your site section.
Now you can go ahead an insert them in the settings section of the raCaptcha plugin.
Honestly, the whole operation takes less ten 10 minutes. So, you might ask yourself the same question I asked myself...why didn’t I thought of this earlier?
We're running this solution since quite a while now and never had any spam comment since. So it is working...happy days 🙂 .
Let me know how it turned out on your blog or drop me a message in the comment section below if you need any further help (unless you are a robot of course, then sorry, I will never get your comment EVER again 🙂 ).
Good luck 🙂
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