A Faster, More Advanced Anti-Spam Plugin that Stops Spam Cold
Many of you have noticed that I was gone for a while…four years. And so was WP-SpamFree. In 2010 I enlisted in the Army, which meant I was going to have to be out of the development game for a while. In preparation for this, I passed the plugin on to another developer hoping it would be maintained and improved upon.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much progress made on the plugin while I was gone, which was pretty frustrating to see. The developer who I handed it off to ended up simply not having the bandwidth to maintain it. They thought they would, but you know, things change. I do understand…things happen. In that time, WordPress evolved, and so did spam and the Internet. In the anti-spam game, you’ve got to keep up on things to have a fighting chance.
Plugins that don’t get updated in fours years are generally considered unsafe to use. For one example, as PHP (the coding language that powers WordPress) evolves, some of the functions used get deprecated (phased out) and have to be replaced, among other things. So, it’s generally best for plugins that haven’t been updated in this long to be put to rest.
I first developed WP-SpamFree in 2007. Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. It’s kind of crazy to think it was over 6 years ago. I remember when I first started the plugin, it was SO basic and had so few features. It really developed a ton and got very popular in just a couple years.
So, I finished my contract with the Army late last year, and got back into everything.
WP-SpamFree Has a New Little Brother, on Steroids
I dug out the old archived WP-SpamFree files, and started making some tweaks to the old plugin code as a test development version. I toyed with the idea of trying to fully revive the old plugin and work with other developers to develop it going forward. There were several options on the table…continuing to work on the old plugin, or creating a new one. After looking at the options and seeing that there just wasn’t enough interest in collaboration, and then deliberating quite a bit, it became clear that the best path was to create a brand new plugin as a fork of WP-SpamFree (126.96.36.199) and push forward with some awesome new developments. Read more on Introducing WP-SpamFree’s Successor – WP-SpamShield…
If you’re using SPF Records with email powered by Google Apps, you most likely have a problem — a BIG one. Your email is likely getting flagged as spam, and not getting to important recipients. The (incorrect) SPF Record recommended by Google is:
v=spf1 include:aspmx.googlemail.com ~all
Unfortunately due to a problem with how Google is routing email internally, this WILL cause your outgoing emails to be flagged as spam, even when being read by another Google-based account. Great…thanks, Google! Read more on Google Provides Incorrect SPF Record Info for Use with Google Apps…
WP-SpamFree version 2.0 is here! Your favorite spam fighter for WordPress is better than ever with new features you’re sure to love.
What’s New in Version 2.0
- See what’s been blocked! This release adds “Blocked Comment Logging Mode”, a temporary diagnostic mode that logs blocked comments and contact form submissions for 3 days, then turns off automatically. If you want to see what’s been blocked, or verify that everything is working, turn this on and see what WP-SpamFree is protecting your blog from. It writes to a simple text file to keep the spam out of the database (for security) and minimize database access. The log is cleared each time you turn on this feature. Also, if you experience any technical issues, this will help with diagnosis, as you can email this log file to support if necessary.
- Added option for small graphic counters to display spam stats in addition to the existing normal-sized ones.
- Added Widget for displaying spam counter. Shows small counter #1. Now you can show stats without knowing any code.
- Miscellaneous minor interface enhancements.
The WP-SpamFree WordPress spam plugin has come a long way since its launch just over 14 months ago. Today it passed the landmark of 100,000 downloads on WordPress.org. Wow, that’s more than I could have ever expected in such a short time. It’s also become one of the most popular comment anti-spam plugins for WordPress, as well as one of the most popular plugins for WordPress in general (according to WordPress.org).
One of the best parts of this process is the feedback we’ve received from all of you, the users. From positive feedback to suggestions, it has all been extremely valuable. Many of the suggestions have directly resulted in improvements and new features for the plugin. Your feedback really does make a difference, and it benefits all the other users of WP-SpamFree. Read more on WP-SpamFree Update – Landmarks and What’s on the Horizon…
KeywordSpy.com, a provider of competitive keyword data, has been caught spamming many blogs across the internet. This first came to our attention as blogs that we manage were repeatedly hit by manual spam. We also received similar reports from volunteers that help report spam data and test WP-SpamFree beta releases.
Many (if not all) of these seem to be manually submitted. All of the reported IP addresses originate from locations in India. Hmm…did KeywordSpy hire some spammy offshore link builders? I think so! Read more on KeywordSpy.com Caught Spamming Blogs for Links…
Spam Steals Time and Money
Most of us are familiar with blog comment spam. For some who don’t have adequate protection, it can cost many hours of valuable time trying to clean up spam, or trying to wade through a spam queue. Those of you who are business owners are keenly aware that time is money, and this deluge of spam can have negative financial effects on your business.
Spam is an SEO Problem
Another problem with spam is its effect on your blog’s search engine optimization efforts. Search engines measure the quality of your outbound links, and if you aren’t moderating your comments, there could be comment links on your site to bad neighborhoods, which are spammy sites that search engines have identified. Sites that link to these will often be penalized. Read more on Why SEO-Conscious Blog Owners Need WP-SpamFree…
Due to popular demand, I’ve added a spam-free contact form feature to WP-SpamFree. Apparently you guys all like blogging without spam, and have requested quite a few times to have me create either a new plugin or add a feature that adds a drop-in contact form for your blog, and uses the WP-SpamFree secret sauce to keep spammers away. Well, your wish is now a reality. Read more on WP-SpamFree Update – Version 1.8 With New Drop-In Spam-Free Contact Form…
Those of you who have kept up with recent updates will probably have noticed your trackback/pingback spam going down. Well, recently I added a powerful trackback/pingback spam protection algorithm. So far, from all the tests and reports I’ve gotten back, it seems to be working really well. If for some reason, you do have a trackback or pingback spam get through, please let me know by submitting your spam sample, including as much info about it as possible at the WP-SpamFree Support Page. Read more on WP-SpamFree Update – New Features, Including Trackback Spam Protection…
WordPress 2.5 was just released yesterday, and it seems to have broken many plugins (and themes) including WP-SpamFree. Or more correctly, some of the hooks in WP 2.5 are broken, including the comment_form hook. There’s not much documentation out yet on the new version, and I haven’t had time yet to study the new code.
However I did modify WP-SpamFree to work with 2.5 and released a new version – 1.5.8. It should work fine with both 2.5 and earlier versions of WordPress, but if you experience any problems at all, please submit a support request so we can look into it ASAP. Read more on WP-SpamFree Updated to Work with WordPress 2.5 – Version 1.5.8 Released…
Whew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks! Since the last release, I’ve gotten some great feedback from you all, including valuable constructive criticisms that have helped me improve the plugin. I worked on fixing some bugs and improving a few more things with this release. So, here’s version 1.5.7…check it out. Read more on WP-SpamFree Update – Version 1.5.7 Released…