7 Akismet Alternatives – Reduce Comment Spam And Block Bad Bots

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Undeniably, Akismet by Automattic is one of the best comment spam protection plugins for WordPress. Used by millions of websites, Akismet filters out hundreds of millions of spam comments from the Web. Unfortunately, Akismet is not free if your site is popular, by that definition, this means if your site makes a minimum 500 API calls per month and has ads, you are not entitled to use their services for free.

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Akismet Alternatives - Reduce Comment Spam And Block Bots

Now, which is the best WordPress Comment Spam Plugin? There is no perfect comment spam plugin, but based on my own experience running WordPress for 15 years, Google reCAPTCHA is my favorite, not only it is good, it reduces the server loads by blocking bots from loading the site. Without further ado, below are some tools to combat comment spam and protect your WordPress site from spam and abuse. The other methods such as puzzles, maths, and cookies can be easily beaten with today’s advanced AI. Thus rendering them somewhat useless.

1. Google reCAPTCHA

Google reCAPTCHA

Google reCAPTCHA is a free service that protects your website from spam and abuse. reCAPTCHA uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive challenges to keep automated software from engaging in abusive activities on your site. It does this while letting your valid users pass through with ease.

reCAPTCHA v3 is the latest version and does not have a checkbox to verify if you are a human or a bot, it is invisible. reCAPTCHA v3 helps you detect abusive traffic on your website without user interaction. Instead of showing a CAPTCHA challenge, reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score so you can choose the most appropriate action for your website. To implement Google reCAPTCHA on WordPress, you’ll need a plugin.

2. Cloudflare Turnstile

Cloudflare Turnstile

Cloudflare Turnstile is a free tool to replace CAPTCHAs. Turnstile delivers frustration-free, CAPTCHA-free web experiences to website visitors – with just a simple snippet of free code. Moreover, Turnstile stops abuse and confirms visitors are real without the data privacy concerns or awful user experience of CAPTCHAs.

Turnstile always preserves the privacy of web visitors on your site – without sacrificing effectiveness. Unlike other CAPTCHA options, they never harvest data for ad retargeting. Works on WooCommerce, Form Plugins and many other integration such as:

WooCommerce Checkout, Pay For Order, Login Form, Registration Form, Password Reset Form, WPForms, Fluent Forms, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, Forminator Forms, Elementor Pro Forms, Easy Digital Downloads Forms, Paid Memberships Pro Forms, Mailchimp for WordPress Forms, BuddyPress Registration Form, bbPress Create Topic & Reply Forms, MemberPress Forms, Ultimate Member Forms, WP-Members Forms, WP User Frontend Forms, wpDiscuz Comments Form, and CheckoutWC & Flux Checkout.

3. hCaptcha

hCaptcha

hCaptcha brings a modern, privacy-focused approach to stopping bots. Their systems are thus designed from the ground up to minimize data collection and retention while maintaining class-leading security. The best way to protect user data is not to store it at all.

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Once you activate the hCaptcha plugin, the hCaptcha-answering user’s IP address and browser data may be sent to the hCaptcha service on pages where you have activated hCaptcha protection. However, hCaptcha is designed to minimize data used, process it very close to the user, and rapidly discard it after analysis.

hCaptcha is designed to comply with privacy laws in every country, including GDPR, LGPD, CCPA, and more. For example, hCaptcha has been certified under ISO 27001 and 27701 and is enrolled in the EU-US, UK-US, and Swiss-US Data Privacy Framework for GDPR compliance.

4. Prosopo

Prosopo

Prosopo CAPTCHA redefines user verification with a unique approach that emphasizes privacy, security, and decentralization. It’s a pioneering solution designed to offer an alternative to conventional, centralized CAPTCHA systems that often compromise user privacy. By choosing Prosopo CAPTCHA, you’re not only safeguarding your applications from bots and malicious actors but also upholding the privacy of your users.

5. mosparo

mosparo

mosparo (Self Hosted) is the modern spam protection system for your forms. mosparo will catch the spam messages before they get sent to your inbox. It is usable by everybody – except robots – and is open source and free to use. What else can mosparo?

  • In mosparo, you can enable a honey pot field, which can additionally help to protect your form from spam.
  • You can also enable a minimum time for the user or robot to fill out the form. Robots usually fill out your form within seconds – humans usually need longer to type all the data in your form.
  • mosparo also has an automatic delay and blocking feature. With these features, you can delay or stop the user for a specific time if the user fills out the form multiple times. Multiple spam submissions from the same user within a short time can be stopped or at least limited with these features.
  • You can customize the mosparo box in your form. You can choose all the colors, the general size, and other details about the box, which will be displayed in your form. Since it’s a standard HTML element in your website, you could also use CSS rules to adjust it even more.
  • mosparo is based on projects. This means that you can use one mosparo installation for multiple websites. You create a new project for a new website and connect the website with your mosparo installation.
  • It is possible to import rules from a remote source. mosparo will automatically refresh these remote sources to get the latest changes.
  • With the use of GeoIP2, mosparo can resolve an IP address and display its provider and country.

6. altcha

altcha

ALTCHA (Self Hosted) is a free open-source project hosted on GitHub and MIT licensed. It is developed as a privacy-respecting alternative to CAPTCHA and other popular solutions, ALTCHA is a better way to shield your website and online services from spam and abuse while protecting your user’s privacy. ALTCHA uses a proof-of-work mechanism to protect your website, APIs, and online services from spam and unwanted content. Unlike other CAPTCHA solutions, ALTCHA is free, open-source and self-hosted, does not use cookies nor fingerprinting, does not track users, and is fully compliant with GDPR.

  • GDPR Compliant – Comply with GDPR by using a privacy-first solution that does not use cookies nor fingerprinting and does not track users.
  • Friendly to Humans – Say goodbye to tedious puzzle-solving and improve your website’s UX by integrating a fully automated proof-or-work mechanism.
  • Inclusive to Robots – Get ready for AIs and integrate M2M ALTCHA into your APIs and online services making them accessible to machines.
  • Open source, MIT licensed – ALTCHA is a free, open-source project licensed under a permissive MIT license. Ideal for everyone – individuals, small businesses and enterprises.
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6. MTCaptcha

MTCaptcha

MTCaptcha is a smart captcha service that prioritizes privacy and accessibility. It offers an adaptive invisible noCaptcha that is easy for humans but hard for bots, making verification frictionless. MTCaptcha is GDPR and WCAG compliant, ensuring that your data is never sold or shared with third parties. The captcha images are certified colorblind safe and the widget is fully VPAT compliant and optimized for screen readers.

MTCaptcha supports any language and can be fully customized to match any webpage. It also supports audio in captcha, making it accessible to users who are visually impaired. MTCaptcha is trusted by Enterprises, Government, NGOs worldwide and is available in all the major world languages. MTCaptcha works around the world, including in China, making it a truly global captcha solution. It is backed by an adaptive Risk Engine that monitors and responds to threats, making it difficult for bots but easy for humans.

7. Math and Puzzle Methods

There are many WordPress plugins that offer such features, from maths to puzzles, from honeypot traps to cookies. My experience taught me that these methods will only work to a certain extent, as we enter the AI age, it gets easier for AI to solve all of these puzzles. Captcha hosted by big corporations such as Google or Cloudflare always keep their technology up to date, therefore they are always one step ahead of these spammers.

Here are 4 WordPress plugins that offer a totally different method, some include blocking languages, region, countries, IP addresses and more. If you have an extremely busy website, these plugins can be a secondary defense after the captcha method.

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