Effective ways to prevent blog spammers

Effective ways to prevent blog spammers

Hey look! It's that Monday morning again, and you're sitting down with your first cup of coffee while mumbling about "Why did my weekend past by in a flash of light". Despite all, you opened up your blog and excited to see that someone commented on your latest post. "Fantastic!" you think. "I'm finally starting to get some traction with my site! Monday isn't so bad after all!" Then you looked closer, and you slammed your coffee mug down in disgust. Those comments weren't from excited, engaged readers who truly enjoyed your content and want to join in the discussion. It's from a spammer. Yuck! Monday Sucks!

Well, we all agreed that comment spam is an annoying, disappointing part of online life, and one of the most common problems when building a website. It can be a pain in the ass to manually filter, and clean up all the mess made by them on a daily basis, or even hourly!  

In EasyBlog, there are two common types of spam that could occur, which is blog post spam and comment spam. The latter is usually the most common, as comments are meant for everyone to share their opinions and thoughts about the post.

Thankfully, there are several ways of preventing this from happening. 


Blog Post Spam

There are several methods that site admin can utilize to prevent spammers from flooding the site with any unwanted post. Let's go through each of the methods that's available in EasyBlog itself.  

1. ACL (Access Control Level)

EasyBlog by default does not allow non-members to post new blogs on the site. However, this can be configured in EasyBlog ACL. Given a situation here, you're the only person whose given the permission to compose & publish blog posts on the site With this, you could actually change the permission of other users from doing the same. 

Now, decide on which user groups are allowed to publish blog posts on the site. Once you have decided, navigate to backend > EasyBlog > ACL.


2. Anti Spam (Enforce Minimum Content Length)

This feature will not prevent all spammers from spamming your site, but it can be tricky for them to do so. Therefore, making this as the perfect first line of defense. Navigate to ​backend > EasyBlog > settings > editor > anti spam ​and increase the minimum word count or characters required for publishing a post on the site.

3. Moderation (Through ACL)​

​Very similar concept with non-member ACL, all registered users by default will not be able to directly publish their blog posts. All blog posts are required the admins to moderate and approve which post should be published. It can be a hassle for the site admins, but it's definitely a solid stronghold from preventing spam posts to appear to your audience.


Comment Spam

Another way for spammers to spam your site is via comments. As I mentioned earlier, this is the most common type of spam. Why is it so? The reason is because the main purpose of comments/feedback is to make everyone who visited your site to share their opinions and thoughts about the published content posted by your bloggers. Which resulted in comment form as it is being vulnerable, but that does not stop us from introducing several methods to reduce or prevent it altogether.

1. ACL

Long story short, ACL is the most powerful feature that you can have to prevent unwanted spammers from camping and barbecuing on your blog's comments. Go to your ​backend > EasyBlog > ACL > [select usergroup] > Comments ​and make the necessary adjustment.


2. Anti Spam (Prevent Spam-bot)

Once again, anti spam has been a powerful feature to prevent spammers from spamming their stuff on the site. Different than anti spam for publishing blogs, comment anti spam consists of Captcha and Akismet. In EasyBlog, there are 2 types of captcha; Built-in image captcha and reCAPTCHA. The main purpose for both of these anti spam is to prevent spam bots from spamming on your site.


2.1 Captcha

Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart (or CAPTCHA) is a powerful feature where it was developed to distinguish human from machine input, typically as a way of thwarting spam and automated extraction of data from websites. In EasyBlog, there are two types of captcha system, and we will go through each of it below.


2.1.1 Built-in Captcha

Example of a failed captcha answer


Built-in captcha consists of sets of images that are hosted locally, and users must recognize and enter the correct answers before they could submit their comments. This however is fairly limited in terms of security, as it does not contain large sets of images and answers, and sometimes it can be repetitive. However, it's still considered a tough test for most spam bots to get through. Not to mention, it only requires one step to turn ON the feature, which is located on your ​backend > EasyBlog > settings > comments > anti spam. 


2.1.2 reCAPTCHA ​

reCAPTCHA is a free service from Google, that helps protect websites from spam and abuse. A "CAPTCHA" is a Turing test to tell human and bots apart. It's easy for humans to solve, but hard for "bots" and other malicious software to figure out. Hence, it's by far the best single way to efficiently prevent persistent spam bots. In addition, the Turing test is constantly being improved by Google, with the help of self learns machine, making it more secure with time.

To integrate reCAPTCHA into the comment system, simply navigate to ​backend > easyblog > settings > comments > anti spam​ and choose Google reCAPTCHA from the dropdown. You can obtain the API key for your reCAPTCHA here. 


2.2 Akismet

​Akismet ​is a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks and contact form messages. Unlike reCAPTCHA, Akismet works by combining the information of spam captured from all participating sites, and then using those rules to block future spam. In other words, the filter blocks the content form passing through if it detects the content mimicking from a known spam rule from their database.

First, you need to obtain the API key by going to Akismet website and then head over to your ​backend > EasyBlog > settings > comments > anti spam > akismet​ and enter your API key. Once it is set up, you do not have to worry as everything will be handled in the background.


3. Moderation

Different than post moderation where it is based on ACL, comments moderation basically consists of three types:

1. Moderate all new comments

2. Moderate all comments from guest users

3. Moderate all comments made by the author of the post itself


4. Third Party Integration

​The world as people say is infinite, so do the huge library of extensions that 3rd party developers have to offer, to improve things or provide a better solution for a particular problem. There are a lot of great extensions specifically for commenting system, but today we will focus on Komento's comments integration with EasyBlog.


4.1 Komento Integration

Komento, as we know is a powerful comment extension that focuses on security and reliability. Unlike EasyBlog comments, Komento offers greater security and anti spam options with addition of CleanTalk integration. Komento also offers tighter ACL such as allowing or disallowing certain user groups from all access to comment on related items.

Conclusion 

Spam is a simple fact of life on the internet, and it will never stop, unless you plan to disable the blog post and comments altogether. But what could we learn from here today? Safeguard your site against inappropriate posts and comments are crucial to its overall health and performance.

By removing spam comments, you can keep your database clear, maintain a solid user experience, and improved user engagement. Not to mention, your content will be enhanced, not diminished, by the comments beneath it. And this stream of insightful commentary happens week after week, month after month, as your readership will continually submits astute, valuable comments on your posts, undiluted by insidious spam.

You get to published content in a spam-free world, and isn't that a world worth fighting for? :) 

 

Comments (3)

  1. joy

cool post, but would be nice to read something about ES 3.0 :c

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  1. Philippe

Hi Joy. It's been just a week since the post on EasySocial 3.0 came out.
They will not publish the next post right away. They are working on it.
It's useless to harass them, you'll get nothing !
You just have to be patient ;)

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  1. Yann Anderson

Thank you guys for the quality of your blog and informations, it's a pleasure to read your posts! Every week you post some content that help us to increase the quality of the configuration of our Joomla! site... How to make template or plugins override, how to set smartsearch plugin, how to prevent spam on our site... I really appreciate you take the time for publishing tips and tricks for your customers all over the world <3 Full respect !

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