One of the essential first plugins to activate in your WordPress web site these days is spam comment filtering. As soon as you start a new WordPress site, it will begin attracting spam comments — comments designed to link to other sites and sell stuff; usually totally unrelated to your blog post, and often unsavory.

Akismet to the Rescue

 

Akismet is a spam filtering plugin that comes pre-installed in every WordPress web site. All Oakley Studio WordPress installations include the Akismet plugin. To begin using it, follow these four steps:

  1. Visit the “Plugins” section of your WordPress Dashboard and click “Activate” on the Akismet plugin.
  2. Visit the Akismet web site (there’s a handy link to it in the plugin description) and apply for a free “API key.”
  3. Check your email, find the email message from Akismet and copy your unique API key.
  4. Return to your Dashboard and paste the API key into the field for it in your Akismet plugin configuration screen.

Once you do that, Akismet will begin monitoring all incoming comments to your blog. (The API key is free for personal blogs. If you appreciate it, consider donating something to Akismet. Commercial sites pay $5 per month and up, depending on size.)

If Akismet spots spam, it will be moved into the Spam folder. In the “Comments” section of your Dashboard you can review all the messages in the Spam folder to confirm that Akismet is working. And when you’ve assured yourself that all the messages there are indeed spam, you can click the “Empty Spam” button. Poof — they’re gone.

It may not all look like spam at first glance. Some comments are written in such a flattering way that you may be tempted to publish them on your site. But (depending on how your WordPress comments are configured) once you have approved one post, the spammer can return and post anything they like without further moderation by you. So once Akismet is activated and working, be mindful about what you approve, and keep an eye on what gets published.