New Update: Boost Social Proof with Reviews & Automation
New Update: Boost Social Proof with Reviews & Automation
If you’re a WordPress user, you’re likely aware of how frustrating spam form submissions are. They clutter your inbox, waste your time, pose security risks, and can interfere with conversions.
So, how can you rid yourself of this inconvenience? Fortunately, WordPress offers several ways to prevent and stop these unwanted intrusions.
In this article, we’ll guide you through simple, straightforward steps to secure your form submissions and keep spammers at bay.
WordPress form spam is irrelevant or inappropriate submissions generally generated by bots. They’re automated systems that flood your site and contact forms with spammy links, advertisements, and unsolicited content.
This can clutter your site and compromise your website’s user experience, speed, performance, and security. It may also lead to a drop in search engine rankings since a slow-loading site is an SEO ranking factor.
Spammers target websites for a variety of reasons. They might be trying to build backlinks, spread malware, or engage in phishing.
Complex bots or human spammers can easily get past basic captcha-based security. It’s frustrating, we know, but there are ways to make your site more robust against these form spam submissions.
Dealing with spam can be challenging, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re here to guide you through some simple steps to prevent and stop spam form submissions.
Let’s dive in.
Having the right tools at your disposal is the first and the most vital step in the battle against spam. Countless plugins are available, making them your first line of defense.
So, how do you choose the right spam prevention plugin?
Imagine someone entering a contest multiple times with fake information; wouldn’t that dilute the spirit of the game? It’s a common trick manual spammers use, and you don’t have to be the victim of this type of spam.
Implementing a simple and effective fraud protection method for your giveaway forms can help you fight back. So, how do you do this?
Luckily, RafflePress, the best WordPress giveaway plugin, comes with built-in fraud protection and anti-spam features.
When creating your giveaway, navigate to the Settings panel, and you can activate Recaptcha and invisible Recaptcha.
Invisible Recaptcha doesn’t involve interactive puzzle-solving for the users. Instead, it uses an advanced risk analysis system to decide if it’s a human user or a bot.
You can also require users to verify their email addresses when entering your giveaway. This is a great way to confirm their identity and that they’re actually human beings.
It provides an added layer of protection against automated bots and malicious users who try to submit spam through contact form submissions. Previously, WPForms used a Honeypot field (a secret hidden field), but since spam bots are now smart enough to bypass it, they removed it and replaced it with the anti-spam token.
All you need to do is enable the feature in your form settings.
Behind the scenes, the plugin adds a secret token unique to each submission. Since spambots can’t detect the token, they get stuck and can’t submit the form.
We mentioned previously that RafflePress includes Recaptcha for giveaway form submissions. What you might not know is that many other WordPress plugins also offer this feature, including WPForms.
Instead of having just one Recaptcha method, they offer a choice of 3:
After choosing your Recaptcha method, adding your API keys, and going through the authentication process, you can add the Recaptcha field to your online form. The field validation will help control fake submissions.
When the form field is in place, you’ll see the Recaptcha badge in the form builder preview.
Some other popular WordPress plugins with Recaptcha features include:
It isn’t just contact and giveaway forms that can attract spammers. Your comment section is prime real estate for spam messages. That’s why our next recommendation is to moderate your comments.
Comment Moderation is a built-in WordPress feature that lets you review and approve comments before publishing them on your site. It prevents spam comments from appearing publicly and lets you control what is displayed.
To enable comment moderation, navigate to Settings » Discussion from your WordPress admin. One of the options you’ll see is ‘Comment Moderation.’
Here, you can specify the number of links or keywords that trigger comment moderation. For example, if you set the value to ‘2’, any comment with more than two links will be held for moderation.
Similarly, if you add specific words to the moderation list, comments containing those words will also be held for your review.
After, click the Save Changes button to apply the settings. From now on, any comment that meets the moderation criteria will be held for your approval before it appears on your website.
Do you have a persistent spammer who won’t take the hint? It might be time to consider blocking their IP.
Blocking IP addresses is a simple way to keep those pesky spammers at bay. But be cautious: blocking an IP should be your last resort, as it can potentially block legitimate users.
First, you’ll need to identify the IP addresses causing problems. You can find these in your server logs, where all IP addresses interacting with your site are recorded.
Once you have the offending addresses, add them to your comment disallow list. To find it, navigate to Settings » Discussion and scroll down to the Disallowed Comment Keys section.
Now paste the list of IPs, one per line, and click the Save Changes button. Anyone slipping past your Captcha will now be blocked.
Occasionally, you may get spam form submissions from humans. Scammers and sales teams will visit your form repeatedly, spamming you with emails you don’t want or need.
Since they’re real visitors, Captcha, and typical spam filters won’t stop these submissions. However, you can still take some steps to get rid of them.
If you’re using WPForms, you can block or allow specific email addresses. That way, they won’t be able to complete and submit your form. Plus, each form you create has its own block and allow list.
To find this feature, head to your forms in the WordPress dashboard and edit a form.
Next, click the email field and expand the Advanced Options heading.
After expanding the menu, click the Allowlist / Denylist dropdown and select your desired option. For this example, we’ll choose the Denylist.
Type the email addresses you want to block in the box beneath the dropdown. You can type the full email or use an asterisk * to create a partial match.
When you have the denylist set up, save the form.
Many website owners have told us they often get spam form submissions from specific countries. It’s easy to find this out by checking their IP locations.
With its suite of advanced spam protection settings, WPForms also allows you to block IPs from specific locations. Simply edit your form, then toggle the Enable Country Filter option in the spam settings.
From there, you can restrict entries from specific countries or accept submissions only from selected countries.
In addition to the tips above, here are some common questions that our readers ask us about form spam.
One reason why people spam forms is for promotion. They use spam forms to advertise their products or services, hoping to catch your eye and lead you to their websites.
Additionally, some use this tactic to collect your email address. Then, they can send you unwanted emails. At their worst, these spammers do it to cause trouble and disrupt your website.
An unusual increase in form submissions is a clear sign of spam. Spam hints include random text, weird keywords, or jumbled sentences.
Spam bots also use many links back to their sites or products, so spotting a surplus of irrelevant links could be a warning that you’re dealing with spam.
Additionally, spam bots often use temporary emails. Look out for unusual or random strings of characters – they’re likely spam.
Yes, you can track the source of spam form submissions on WordPress. One way to do this is by using WPForms. It provides a feature called Form Abandonment, which tracks the IP address of the user who started filling out the form but didn’t submit it. This can help you identify potential spam sources.
Furthermore, some WordPress security plugins offer features to track the source of spam. For example, Sucuri and Wordfence provide detailed logs and reports showing IP addresses and other relevant information about spam submissions.
Securing your site from spam form submissions is an excellent way to protect your site’s credibility and protect user data. With the steps in this guide, you’ll create a robust wall against spam invaders.
Good luck, and here’s to a spam-free WordPress site!
You might also find the following tips and tutorials useful in maintaining your WordPress site:
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