21 Mar Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Akismet Anymore
There was a time when almost all WordPress based sites used Akismet as a plugin to ward off spam comments. Unfortunately Akismet has not kept up with the times and faces threats developers frequently encounter. Users complain of mistakes and garbage comments in your WordPress database.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t use Akismet anymore.
- It’s only free for personal use. Commercial users have to pay $60 for each site and up to $50 “for publishing networks, agencies, hosts and universities or multiple sites”. The problem is that they don’t really define what a “commercial” website is. Is a blogger that sells a few products with a few Adsense a commercial website or are they only commercial websites if they have hundreds of products and services?
- Lots of obvious spam still gets through.
- Akismet doesn’t actually block spammers. It might flag their comments as spam but does not stop them from dumping hundreds of spam comments a day on your website. All of this can eat up your bandwidth, eat up your disk space and clutter your WordPress data base.
- It has a tendency to flag good comments as spam. This false positive result means that you still have to slog through hundreds of comments through your spam folder to make sure that all of them are really spam.
- It ignores comments used by actual visitors. Some users complain that they leave thoughtful comments in response to a blog post but once you hit submit they receive a response that the comment is awaiting moderation. This means that there is a good chance that Aksimet blocked it.
Akismet’s job is to send suspicious comments to the spam folder. However, it also sends legitimate comments to the folder and doesn’t even let some comments into the system. Their mysterious algorithm also sends some email addresses to the spammer’s list. A person who left a comment on a blog complained that one of his replies, which was long albeit to the point got tagged as spam. A trace revealed that his email was tagged by another blogger’s email that was on Akismet’s banned list. This is bad news for people who leave legitimate comments on a blog and bad news for your blog too because you have to moderate and search for real comments tagged as spam manually.
So if we can’t use Akismet anymore, what should we use instead?
There are some alternatives to Akismet that are free and more effective. These alternatives can help you save time, keep garbage from entering your data base and block spammers even before they have a chance of entering your website.
This is one of the best first-line-of-defense against comment spam. Not only do they have their own list, they also maintain a 3rd party blacklist. Just like AVH it can also be configured to block spammers using their IP address. Once it notices a new attack, Cloudflare starts to block it not only for the website but for all Cloudflare users. It has one of the fastest and most secure networks. It is also known to recognize repel brute force attacks against a website.
AVH First Defense Against Spam Plugin is a good alternative to Cloudflare. It uses external lists such as Stop Forum Spam, Project Honey Pot and Spamhaus to block bad bots and spammers from attacking your website. You can also create your blocked IP list using AVH Plugin.
5G Blacklist works by creating some sort of firewall for your WordPress site. The creators from PerishablePress.com believe that this is the best way to stop bad bots and attackers from harming your website. It works by evaluating the request strings and then blocks them from entering your website. It helps to reduce the number of malicious URL requests and protects against evil exploits, bad requests and spam.
5G Blacklist is not a plugin. It’s a bit of code that you add to your .htaccess file. If you don’t have access to your .htaccess file, you should consider changing hosts.
This spam protection does not get the attention it deserves. Antispam Bee is the closest free version of Akismet. However, it does not have the above mentioned problems plaguing Akismet. This is because it blocks all spam comments even before they enter your site. It doesn’t stop spammers from leaving comments; it deletes it immediately even before you see it. However, you can change settings to allow comments into your spam queue to review it.
There is actually no plugin or code that can accurately block 100% of spam. Spammers are always changing their approach so there is no solution that’s 100%. The good news is that these alternatives to Akismet can limit the number of spam comments and attacks your website receives.