How To Block WordPress Registration Spam

Open topic | February 24th, 2008 | 4 Comments

What happens when you want to enable and welcome guest blogging in your blog but you want everything to be so easy for your guest bloggers, from registration, writing up to submitting for review their posts? Well the answer is one, a total chaos and a heap of unwanted spam registered users in your wordpress blog.

These spam registered users will do no harm really to your blog as they are not able to modify posts written by other authors and can’t even publish posts to your blog if you have set the role of registered users to Contributor (being able to write posts, submit them for review and updating their own posts). The mess that these spam users create is that make so hard to identify the legit users from the spam bots (even tho, most of the spam bots use weird email addresses from free email services, mostly .ru and .pl for me).

It creates the hassle that you now have to delete those spam users and keep your database clean and keep only the legit users. The fact is that we all want some fancy emails some times and using such emails makes even harder to distinguish the real users from spam bot registered users, and you might most probably end up removing even the real user accounts. Removing their accounts might hurt their feelings and there you lost a guest blogger because of the registered spam bots.

This same thing happened to me when I announced that I am going to open the doors for guest bloggers, and all what I received is spam registered users (resulting to me, but I might have confused legit users with spam users as well). Detecting and removing these users is quiet easy but it is time consuming as well as I have to keep deleting users, again and again..and more…

I got fed up with all that time consuming process so I thought it was about time for a new plugin for this blog (I know, i use quiet a bit and I have to admit, some of them are installed but never used), who’s the best friend to find what you are looking for? Of course Google search engine 😉

After a short research I ended up in this lovely plugin that was made exactly for what I was about, it is called SABRE which stands for Simple Anti Bot Registration Engine. The plugin is nothing huge and nothing really small, its around 159KB, but the functions are exactly those that I was looking for.

Sabre – Stop WordPress Spam Registration Users

The installation process is just as with all the other plugins you install, so it is not really necessary to write about it. Once you have installed the plugin you can find the plugins options at Manage>Sabre instead of at Options tab.

Once you reach the SABRE options tab you get presented with a simple settings screen with two options to use the SABRE plugin. Insert a captcha spam buster image or a math spam buster calculation just like in this screenshot

SABRE WP Plugin - Simple Anti Bot Registration Engine

As you can see from the screenshot you are able to chose using one or the other option (I like the math one hah). The plugin has a third option actually, called Stealth option which has a silent control to check if “visitor” is a spam bot or a real visitor and it controls in two ways, lack of javascript support and check of DNS if blacklisted or not. But since many browsers or users disable javascript (to block ads or because of other reasons) I would avoid this third option.

Sometimes activating one of the above mentioned options is not enough and the spam bots can actually pass them. Thats there is an additional check for spam bots through SABRE plugin. You can set in the options that users MUST confirm the registration before they are able to login and specify how many days the plugin should wait for verification before it purges and deletes the user from your database (phewww finally I don’t have to handle about that anymore).

With SABRE, welcoming bloggers becomes more easier then ever for me (yeah, easier to at least expect real users to register instead of spam bots) and if you have intentions to welcome guest bloggers too I recommend you using this plugin.

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4 Responses to “How To Block WordPress Registration Spam”
  1. Syed Balkhi says:

    I am not a big fan of letting my guest writer into the admin panel, so if i ever allow guest writing it will be through email, but this is a good alternative also.

    Thanks for the nice tips.

  2. Hello Syed,
    It is hard to follow through all four comments, so I wrap up everything here. If you set role as Contributor to WP registered members, they will not be able to do much actually (here are the functions for contributor).

    As far as it regards SEO Book, well, people who lost it lost it, now they can have the ebook only if they subscribe for the seo training.

  3. godius says:

    I totally agree, great post!

    Grz Godius


  4. Martin says:

    just 3 words:

    FAN – TAS – TIC