Spam and profanity are a big problem for anyone with a WordPress site. Whether yours is a simple website with a few pages or a multi-user platform that hosts tons of user-generated content, you need to be wary of profanity and spammers for two major reasons:
- Profanity will scare away prospects leaving you with a thinner bank balance.
- Spammers will instantaneously hurt your SEO rankings in Google and other search engines
Depending on the type of website (or community) you run, profanity may or may not be a problem. But excessive use of cursives and adult language will decrease your online sales and your potential to attract viable partners. That’s right; companies will think twice about collaborating with you if your website is overly profane.
Spam on the other hand will hurt your credibility with search engines as well as human web visitors. Credibility is your online currency – lose it and you lose business.
This guide will reveal five profanity filters and five spam plugins to help you improve your rankings in Google and provide a better user experience with your WordPress site.
Top Five Profanity Filter Plugins For WordPress
WebPurify Profanity Filter
WebPurify is probably one of the best profanity filters out there. Firstly, you don’t need to create a list of profane words/phrases to filter out since the plugin comes with an extensive list not only in English but also in several other languages including Spanish, French, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and even Chinese.
Whenever a user posts profane content, let us say, via the comment section, the plugin uses WebPurify Profanity Filter API to replace the profane words with asterisks immediately.
If you’re willing to spring for the premium service, WebPurify can do much more than text filtering. Sorting through content is an uphill task, but sorting through images and videos can break the back of even the most resilient web master. WebPurify premium includes helpful video moderation to save you some valuable time.
This free plugin works like magic replacing profane words with your own choice of words. If the discussion on your WordPress site is peppered with particular profane words or phrases, you can choose to turn it around using the Word Replacer plugin.
The only drawback is that you must spend a relatively long period setting up your word replacements. You pay that price but when the replacements are in place, the plugin will do the rest automatically.
Word Replacer also allows you to specify which areas of your website to monitor meaning you can filter words in certain parts of your website while ignoring other areas completely.
Word Filter Plus
Word filter plus works in the same way as Word Replacer. It would be fair to say that Word Filter Plus is more than a profanity filter as you can replace explicit words and phrases with your own words.
After downloading and installing Word Filter Plus, you will be able to access the plugin by clicking “Tools” and then “Word Filter Plus” in your WordPress Dashboard.
Selecting this option will take you to a new screen where you can set up your filters. Word Filter Plus is a great profanity filter, and as soon as you’re done configuring your word filters, the plugin will scan your entire website for profanity. It combs your entire WordPress site, meaning it replaces all profane words that were left deep into the past or just recently.
This plugin will help you deal with profanity as well as enable you to make quick changes in your content. For instance, you can use the plugin to change your telephone number on several pages without having to edit each page manually.
WP Content Filter
The WP Content Filter has come of age and grown smarter with each update. This profanity filter now features flexible but strict filtering options. For instance, if your flagged words/keywords appear in the middle of a whole word, it (the whole word) will be ignored.
Here is what I mean:
Let us say you flagged “pot”. If a user enters “potbelly”, the whole word will be ignored unlike in the past where it would have appeared as “***belly”.
Another cool feature is the ability to replace all letters with wildcard characters of your choice, or retain the first or last letter of the replaced word. For instance, “pothead” would be filtered to appear like “*******” or “p******” or p*****d”.
In addition, you can choose to filter different parts of your website from posts to comments to tags and post titles etc. WP Content Filter is a particularly useful tool to block out all manners of profanity including explicit language, abusive comments and swears.
That is right; this plugin fits the bill as both a profanity filter and a spam blocker. The Defensio Anti-Spam will help you round up and punish all rogue users on your WordPress site.
The plugin is one among the few profanity plugins that can handle spammers as well as junk or profane content. The plugin was designed to offer URL categorization, profanity filtering, script detection and malicious content detection amongst other cool features.
According to the developers, Websense Inc., Defensio Anti-Spam “learns and adapts to your behavior and that of your users over time…”
The only drawback is you cannot use Defensio Anti-spam with other anti-spam plugins such as Akismet as doing so will only lead to compatibility problems. This means you have to deactivate Akismet and other such plugins even to try Defensio Anti-spam.
Speaking of anti-spam plugins, shall we now look into the top five anti-spam plugins that will help you give spammers the boot?
Top Five Anti-SPAM Plugins For WordPress
You hate spam, I hate spam and we all hate spammers because they are desperate albeit very determined. They crave attention and we all know how the vice is as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee. But it is the numerous links and incomprehensible comments that are out of context that irk nearly every WordPress site owner I have talked to.
Some spammers are incredulously funny though, but hideous all the same. I know this firsthand because I used to fight a losing battle with all types of spammers until I found Akismet. Actually, it found me right in my dashboard and all I had to do was configure an API key.
Akismet is a very popular anti-spam plugin that will help even the beginner WP user to eliminate spam.
While the number of downloads shouldn’t necessarily mean anything as far as effectiveness goes, I have used and loved Akismet greatly. I feel that the millions of users who downloaded the plugin feel the same way.
Akismet is free for small WordPress blogs but you will need to part with a 5-dollar-a-month fee for big commercial websites.
Akismet, which launched in 2005, has a complex filtering engine that keeps track of all comments, trackbacks and pingbacks on your blog. Using this data, it performs rigorous tests to filter out junk. The plugin then pushes all spam comments into your spam folder in case you need to counter-check.
Akismet can be overenthusiastic at times, blocking even comments from genuine readers. However, the plugin has become quite intelligent since it learns as you continue using it.
Facebook, Twitter and Google are huge fans of the reCAPTCHA. But what has that got to do with WordPress? WP-reCAPTCHA – the WordPress version of reCAPTCHA – gives you the power wielded against spammers by the likes of Google and Facebook.
The plugin has an ever-growing number of supporters as well as critics who sing praise for its effectiveness.
WP-reCAPTCHA uses a unique system that utilizes archaic word combination for its CAPTCHA as opposed to a majority of anti-spam plugins that use the same flawed verification system. This is probably why people, read Google, Facebook and Twitter, love it so much.
Even smart spambots that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to decipher CAPTCHAS cannot go past WP-reCAPTCHA since the plugin distorts the wordings to create new images that eliminate all spammers.
This plugin’s title couldn’t get any more suggestive. “Yay! We stop spam and stuff with our Spam Stopper.” It is so obvious, right? Moving on.
The Spam Stopper Plugin lives up to its title. It uses a CAPTCHA verification process (just like WP-reCAPTCHA) to check and validate every comment left by your users. Then, if it detects a spam comment, it will STOP it dead it its tracks.
Spam Stopper is easy to setup and use. Generally, the plugin targets spambots that assault blogs with endless strings of junk. The Spam Stopper plugin runs automatically and even checks to ensure that users fill out all required fields before posting comments.
Once you install the plugin, you are good to go and you will only see it if you are logged out. That is brilliant, right? One downside to keep in mind though is that the plugin hasn’t been updated for two years (just an fyi).
If it had as many downloads as Akismet, this anti-spam plugin would rival (and probably oust) Akismet as the leading spam blocker. With a breathtaking WordPress rating of 4.9/5, it is easy to see why Growmap would be a threat to Akismet.
It is an effective anti-spam tool that will help you get rid of automated spam – spam that is posted by spambots. It is flawless as far as combating spambots is concerned but severely handicapped where real human spammers and pingbacks are concerned. Actually, the guys at Growmap are not at all concerned with pingbacks or trackbacks – their business starts and ends with automated spam.
That should explain why Growmap uses a checkbox where human readers are required to tick to validate they are indeed warm-blooded. But guess what, human spammers can tick the box as well.
All the same, Growmap is a lethal anti-spam plugin that takes the battle to spambots using one of the smartest anti-spam technologies around.
SPAM Free WordPress
Spam Free WordPress is yet another lethal anti-spam plugin that is just about guaranteed to keep your site free of spam.
SPAM Free WordPress is one of the best anti-spam plugins according to the developers who claim that it can block all cases of automated spam without false positives whatsoever. Hello Akismet?
For what it’s worth, the SPAM Free WordPress plugin has great features including zero-reliance on CAPTCHA, low database load especially during heavy server traffic and IP address blacklisting. Sounds pretty cool if you ask me.
The plugin allows users to choose whether they would like to have the spam removed automatically, which is a great way of saving time.
There you have it. Ten great plugins to keep your WordPress free of spam and profanity. I know this article was quite long, so here is a quick recap.
Top five profanity filters
Top anti-spam plugins
Do you know of any other anti-spam and profanity filter plugins that were not mentioned in the article? Let us know in the comment section below!