Fighting wordpress spams..and a few useful plugins

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Last few days have been really weird for NextBigWhat.com – the site was massively hit by spammers and the bad boys started sending bots which resulted in cpu overload and the result was server crash.
Not once, but several times!

Nevertheless, there are a few godsend techniques (which I hope should work) and if you want to avoid a similar experience, here are a few suggestions:

  • Have a look at your trackbacks – many a times, what looks like a genuine trackback actually turns out to be spammers’ plug.

Infact, if you receive trackbacks with texts like “Very interesting… as always! For the most part I agree with you and enjoy reading your posts.“, or “[…] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.“, delete them immediately!! These are spams and do not mistake them for somebody really loving your posts!
A few wordpress plugin that might be of use:

  • Bad Behavior : As the name suggests, this plugin takes care of all the HTTP bad behaviors coming from the spammers. Side-effect of using this plugin is that many of the legitimate users might get blocked and like in the plugin’s earlier release, the site admin was getting blocked from the site.
    Though the new version looks pretty stable, Bad Behavior’s usp is that it runs before your software on each request to your web site. So if a spam bot does visit, it will receive nothing, and your software never runs. This reduces the amount of server CPU time, database activity and bandwidth spent on processing robots which are just harvesting your site and delivering junk (Possibly I faced the cpu resource issue because too many bots hit the server and that resulted in too many server requests, so this plugin should be helpful).
    or
  • WP-SpamFree: Relies on the basic assumption that bots either understand javascripts or can process cookies, but max 1% of bot can understand both. This plugin uses a combo of JavaScript and cookies, since most bots choke on them, to weed out the humans from bots, preventing 99% of automated spam from ever getting to your site.
  • Validate your trackbacks using Simple TrackBack Validation plugin: This is actually a very useful plugin to fend off spammy trackbaks. The moment your blog receives a trackback, this plugin validates the IP address with the webserver’s IP address (the trackback URL is referring to). Also, you can enable options to retreieve the webpage located at the trackback URL and see if there is really any reference/link to your blog.
  • If you still want to enable captcha in comment section and want to avoid basic spamming, use math comment spam plugin, or else just activate the grand daddy of all, i.e. Akismet

What has been your experience with spams? As far as I am concerned, I am still monitoring all the logs and counting (+ praying) on these plugins to kill those bad chicks!!

Any suggestion?comment?

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