Tips for the Sabre Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin

If you have just started with WordPress, you are in for a seriously rude awakening. There are software programs out there that will automatically register for your WordPress blog. There are a couple of reasons why people would want to do this. The first is to submit articles automatically, and the problem is these articles are usually PLR or resale-rights articles that are not unique or, worse yet, articles generated from article-spinning software that you would never want on your blog. The second reason is comment spam, which is where people who have not even read your article post a bogus comment with a website link to promote their own website.

In my experience so far, Sabre has been 100% effective in blocking this registration spam. Of course, it is still possible for some to get through, but the Sabre anti-registration spam WordPress plugin has already blocked the first 48 spam attempts.

However, the Sabre plugin is a bit complicated to set up and has a lot of different options. You don’t want to use all of these options because that would make it too inconvenient for real users to register at your blog. Thus, I am going to tell you what settings I am using to stop spammers on my WordPress blog from registering.

Personally, I am using the math test and the text CAPTCHA test. Note that there is a main CAPTCHA test and a separate text test. I disable the main CAPTCHA because they are often too hard to read, which could excessively discourage registrations. The separate text CAPTCHA simply gives a word in easy-to-read text and asks the registrant to type in one of the letters. For example, with the word “facsimile,” Sabre may ask the registering person to enter the third letter. If the person enters “c,” he passes the spam test and can register. This is much easier to do than a regular CAPTCHA, which can be very annoying.

The math test asks the person to do a simple computation. I have seen spam software try to enter a number in this field, and they typically get it wrong, so this is stopping a lot of spam.

However, there is one more test that I use with the Sabre anti-registration spam WordPress plugin. It is called the “stealth test.” Although I do not understand fully how it works, I can tell you that it is very effective at stopping spam. When you use the stealth option, it will ask you for a maximum time to register and a minimum time to fill out the form. I personally kept the minimum at 5 seconds, and it blocks loads of registration spam because the software program can easily fill out the registration form in less than a second.

The last effective measure is to make it so the user has to confirm his registration by clicking a link in an email. The Sabre plugin sends this email, so all you have to do is install the plugin and use this option. You will see these settings under “Confirmation Options.” You may also choose to manually approve registrations, but I do not recommend this unless you have a lot of time on your hands. What software is going to check an email account for a confirmation link? Such software might exist, but I have not encountered such a thing on a wide scale. Thus, even if the spammer software manages to fill out the form, the registration will not take place unless he confirms in an email. You also want to set it so that the user cannot log in unless he first confirms.

While Sabre does not directly block comment spam, you can always use the WordPress settings to require users to register and be logged in to comment. In my version of WordPress (3.3.1), you will find these options in the “Discussion” link under “Settings.” This will also prevent all those spammers who could not register from also spamming through comments. Although some guests to your blog might not register to leave a comment, you really will be literally inundated with comment spam unless you use a plugin to stop it. Based on my experience, Sabre does a fantastic job of stopping registration spam and will also stop comment spam from those same guys who couldn’t register with their spamming software.

Notice: I have no affiliation with Sabre. I am just a satisfied user.

Sources:

Sabre Download Page on WordPress