tackle blog comment spam with Akismet

If you run a WordPress blog, and are looking for a solution to battle increasing comment spam, look no further than Akismet.

Akismet is a free service from the folks at Automattic that allows comments (and trackbacks) made on your blog to be screened against a growing blacklist of known comment spam. If you are already receiving a high volume of comment spam, you can probably envision how valuable this service might be for you. Akismet effectively takes over the job of identifying which comments are really comments. Here’s a simplified explanation of how this service works:

Imagine that whenever anyone submits a comment to your site, it gets routed first to Aksimet’s data center. It’s not really a data center, but it is a special place where comments go to be approved or denied. There in the data center, your comment is run through algorithms and scientific formulas to determine if, in fact, your comment is legitimate, or bona fide spam. How Aksimet exactly detemines validity is a closely guarded trade secret. Just know that once your comment goes through the Akismet guantlet, if it is spam it will be marked as spam.

This evaluated comment returns to your website, where it will either land in a moderation queue (meaning it’s a comment) or in the Akismet Spam section. You have the option of perusing through the spam that Akismet has caught to be sure it’s properly flagging spam as spam. I spent about two days doing this before I was finally convinced that Akismet was really doing its job.

The uncanny thing is that this sevice really works! It’s almost like magic. If this sounds like the right solution for you, you need to go to their website and download the plugin and follow the upload instructions. In order to activate Akismet, you will need an API key. You can get an API key for free here:

You must be running at least WordPress version 2.0 or greater to use Akismet. If you are still running something earlier than 2.0, you really should consider upgrading anyway because of the security fixes that have come with the newer releases. This Akismet feature should be incentive enough to take the plunge and upgrade now. Those annoying comment spams will virtually disappear.