Is Akismet Still the Best Spam Plugin for WordPress?

Spammers (human and automated) love WordPress as much as bloggers do, so to say you need a spam blocker is an understatement. Akismet has long reigned as the best spam blocker for WordPress, but is this plugin still the best contender in the realm of spam blocking services?

That’s exactly what we’ll decide in this post, by comparing Akismet to its rivals and seeing if it stacks up, and ultimately, comes out on top. Let’s dive in!

The Long Reigning Comment Spam Blocker – Akismet

No one likes receiving spammy email messages or reading spammy comments online. We all know that spam is a nuisance, but is annoyance with it a sufficient reason to block it? Do we really need to block spam on our websites?

The simple answer is an emphatic “Yes!”, and not just because spam is irritating. For example, if hackers create new user accounts on your website and add spammy hyperlinks to your site, you could be penalized by Google. Comment spam falls into this category as well. If your website is indexed and found to have spam, it might be assessed negatively, and a negative assessment of your website can cause it to be removed from Google’s search results.

In order to keep your site accessible, it’s simply good practice to monitor your website and correct any malicious attacks. This is where spam blockers like Akismet come into play.

Akismet was first launched in 2005 by the makers of WordPress. When activated, it filters spam from a website based on information gathered from all websites on which the plugin is activated. Spam is filtered from contact forms and comments sections.

Akismet vs. The Top WordPress Spam Prevention Plugins

akismet-antispam-plugin

Akismet’s web service prevents site owners from having to moderate spammy comments themselves. But some website owners have reported false positives – meaning non-spam comments have been blocked along with spammy ones. False positives can be verified via detailed data insights available with the paid version of this plugin.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to activate Akismet, there are some plugins that claim to take anti-spam services a step further. Here are some spam blocking plugins that offer additional anti-spam features that might better serve your website needs.

WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam

WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam Plugin

WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam blocks spam from even reaching your WordPress database, which supports site security. This plugin claims to “simply make WordPress spam disappear” without the need for site visitors to type in captcha codes. It’s free for personal and commercial use, and it blocks both human and automated spam using a dual-layered process, without any false positives. Your email address is protected with this plugin and it protects your website from:

  • Comment spam
  • Trackback spam
  • Registration spam (WordPress, BuddyPress, bbPress, WooCommerce, and more)
  • Contact form spam (Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, JetPack Contact Forms, and most others)

Stop Spammers Spam Prevention

Stop Spammers Spam Prevention Plugin

This plugin uses one of three captcha configurations to confirm whether a denied login attempt or comment has actually been submitted by a non-spamming human. It’s reported to work well with Gravity Forms. Stop Spammers protects your website against:

  • Trackback spam
  • Contact form spam
  • Comment spam
  • Registration spam
  • Login attempts

A couple caveats have been reported. Sometimes valid users are unable to login to their own WordPress database. Also, this plugin will not work on a proxy server or with a hosting company that does not use PHP functions.

Anti-Spam by CleanTalk

Anti-Spam by CleanTalk Plugin

Anti-Spam by CleanTalk is a cloud-based spam blocker. The plugin is free, but its cloud service, CleanTalk, requires a paid account.  After a 7-day free trial, you can decide whether you want to continue with this service.

In addition to blocking comments, registration, contact form, and email spam, Anti-Spam by CleanTalk also protects your website from spammy:

  • Bookings
  • Orders
  • Widgets
  • Subscriptions
  • Newsletter plugins

This plugin is capable of analyzing multiple aspects of your website without slowing your site down because it uses the cloud instead of servers. It not only blacklists email addresses, but also the domains and IP addresses linked to spammers. There’s an optional firewall feature that prevents spam bots from accessing your web server by sending them to a blank page.

Simple Security Firewall

Simple Security Firewall Plugin

Simple Security Firewall blocks comment spam and offers website security against malicious IP addresses. This plugin cloaks your login page and claims to block all spambot comments, while preventing human spam comments. Malicious login attempts are deterred by two-factor authorization.

Although the firewall can be disabled, this plugin is primarily designed to secure your website. Spammy IP addresses are automatically blacklisted and brute force attacks are blocked. All plugin features are fully accessible for free.

Which Spam Plugin Is Best for You?

Spam blockers prevent your website from being negatively evaluated by search engines. They also remove the headache of moderating spammy comments and intercept the creation of unwanted new user accounts on your website.

But the question remains, how do you determine which anti-spam plugin is best for your website? Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to determine which plugin is best for your needs:

  1. Is this plugin compatible with the other plugins that are active on your website?
  2. Are you in need of comment spam blocking services only, or a more inclusive spam blocker?
  3. Are you looking for a fully-featured free plugin or one that has enhanced features with plan subscription?
  4. Are you interested in a cloud-based or web server system?
  5. Are you looking for website security in addition to spam blocking?
  6. Would your readers be annoyed with filling in captcha code prior to commenting?

Your answers to these questions can help you determine which anti-spam and/or site protection features might work best.

But even after making your selection, flexibility is a must. Sometimes plugins don’t operate well with one another. You’ll have to test out your preferred spam-blocking plugin to determine whether it operates well with preexisting plugins.

Conclusion

When operating a website, activating a spam blocker is essential. Without an anti-spam plugin, your website could be overtaken by malicious attacks, causing your site ranking to plummet and possibly become undetectable altogether until you make the necessary updates.

You need a spam blocker, but is Akismet the best option for you? In order to answer this question, you have to assess your website’s unique needs, and then rather than drawing assumptions, you can use our comparisons above to select the right option for you.

How do you block spam on your WordPress website? Is Askismet still your spam-blocking solution? You’re welcome to share your thoughts and/or additions to this list in the comments section below.

John Hughes
Post Author: John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and a staff writer for WordCandy.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Josh says:
    I've been using Akismet for such a long time, I don't even think about it anymore. Maybe I should give WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam a shot?
  2. Barış Ünver says:
    Haven't found a better alternative than Cookies for Comments yet. Seriously.
  3. Stéphane says:
    Why fix something that isn't broken? I think "Josh" said the right words: "I’ve been using Akismet for such a long time, I don’t even think about it anymore." It mean that it is working perfectly.
  4. Terry Chadban says:
    @Josh, we use both Akismet and WP-SpamShield on all our sites now, and it is amazing the number of spam comments that WP-SpamShield blocks AFTER they get through Akismet! Haven't tried just using WP-SS on its own because the combination of the two blocks all spam on all our sites, but probably worth a try.
  5. Alain Schlesser says:
    Hey John, Thanks for the article, and for showing alternatives to Akismet. My personal opinion is that Akismet is the best antispam plugin just as Internet Explorer 6 was the best browser on Windows; it isn't, it's just popular because it comes bundled with core. It sends data from your visitors to some external site, without the visitor's consent or knowledge, which is illegal in a lot of countries, and it still fails to have better results than some more reasonable options like Antispam Bee, which is my preferred solution, and which you've failed to include in your list, by the way. Cheers!
  6. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:
    With Akismet I got some spam comments.... but they were driving me crazy because I had to go through their "catches" (to the tune of hundreds per day...who has time for that!) to find comments of my engaged readers who were captured as spam. So... I did a little research. I am not technically inclined and so after all my reading I decided to go with WP-SpamShield. With Akismet it was like my back door had been cracked open and couldn't be closed. With WP-SpamShield I felt like my house was secure and I no longer had to worry about creepy invaders or see my lovely reader comments mingled with them. Because I had both plugins functioning I decided to try dropping Akismet. There was no hiccup and I've been so very happy since. It's been 9-12 months since I made the change and recommend it to everyone. I do know that I tried a few others before getting WP-SpamShield with little success. Also they update the plugin often which says a lot for them.
  7. Caspar says:
    I´am using Akismet for a long periode. On the beginning the result was very bad, but now ....... we will see :) Thanks for your article!
  8. Merlyn Low says:
    I have been asked to pay for Akismet for my newly launched ecommerce site. I had problems trying to use Mastercard to pay as my merchant bank said that Akismet is on their hot list...meaning that too many scammers on Akismet, if I understand correctly. However, I don't plan to use any comments page as I would be doing that on FB. H'ver I was unable to activate some plugins that are bundled with my purchased Flatsome theme. Have been stopped in my tracks to post anything. I plan to use WP Spam shield or shield...So any advice here? Akismet did not respond, and it's quite a hassle to get answers. Site is still under construction...awaiting for the right answers.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      If you are using FaceBook comments you don't need Akismet because you won't have live WordPress comments on the site. We personally use JetPack comments which is free and it actually processes through Akismet (for free) which is awesome! But also you can always contact the Flatsome theme developer to see what commenting or anti-spam plugins they recommend with their item.
      Admin
  9. Rob Leachman says:
    Great article and super helpful... thanks! I'm leaving Akismet and hoping whatever I land on doesn't break the filtering What are y'all using here? Sweet comment thread :)
    • John Hughes says:
      John Hughes
      Rob, this blog uses Jetpack Comments, which is processed through Akismet for free. If you're looking to get away from Jetpack completely, WP-SpamShield has some rave reviews, and requires no captchas.
      Author
  10. MakeOnlineShops says:
    Recaptcha from google is simply the best and you simply don't seem to know :-)

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