Any website can be reached by spam emails. The question that many seek an answer to is how to reduce contact form spam on WordPress. It’s important to note that spammers use a variety of tactics and techniques, and they are constantly evolving their methods to bypass security measures. Therefore, it’s essential to implement strong security measures on your website, such as using CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA, form field validation, and keeping your website software and plugins up to date to protect against spammers and other security threats. It is to be noted that robots.txt is not sufficient to prevent spam on your website.
How to reduce contact form spam on WordPress?
If you’re experiencing contact form spam on your WordPress website, here are some tips to help reduce and prevent it:
- Use a Reputable Contact Form Plugin: Choose a reliable and reputable contact form plugin for your WordPress website. Popular options like Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, or WPForms often have built-in security measures to prevent spam.
- Enable CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA: CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) or reCAPTCHA are security features that can be added to your contact form to verify that the form submission is made by a human and not a bot. This can effectively deter spam bots from submitting forms.
- Implement Form Field Validation: Set up form field validation to ensure that all required fields are filled out correctly before allowing form submission. This can help prevent automated spam bots from submitting incomplete or invalid form data.
- Use Honeypot Technique: Honeypot is a technique where an invisible field is added to the form that is only visible to bots but not to human users. If this field is filled out, the form submission is flagged as spam and rejected. Many contact form plugins have built-in support for honeypot fields.
- Limit Form Submissions: You can set up a limit on the number of form submissions allowed from a single IP address within a specific time period. This can help prevent spam bots from repeatedly submitting forms.
- Enable IP Blocking or Blacklisting: Some contact form plugins allow you to block or blacklist specific IP addresses or ranges. You can use this feature to block known spamming IP addresses or suspicious IP ranges.
- Regularly Update Plugins and WordPress: Keeping your plugins and WordPress installation up to date can help ensure that you have the latest security patches and features to prevent spam and other security threats.
- Moderate Form Submissions: Set up moderation for form submissions, where all form submissions are reviewed before being published or sent to your email. This can allow you to manually review and approve legitimate form submissions while blocking spam.
- Use Email Address Obfuscation: Consider obfuscating the email address on your contact form by using plugins or techniques that convert the email address into a format that is not easily recognizable by spambots. This can help prevent email harvesting and reduce spam.
- Consider a Firewall or Security Plugin: You can also consider using a firewall or security plugin that has features specifically designed to prevent spam, such as filtering based on known spam patterns or IP addresses.
By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce contact form spam on your WordPress website and ensure that you receive legitimate form submissions from your users.
How spammers find your website
Spammers use various techniques to find websites, including:
- Web Crawlers: Spammers may use automated web crawlers or bots that systematically scan the internet to discover websites. These bots can follow links from one website to another, index the content of websites, and extract contact information or other data for spamming purposes.
- Email Harvesting: Spammers may use software or scripts to extract email addresses from websites or web pages. This can include scanning website content, meta tags, contact forms, comments, or other areas where email addresses may be publicly displayed.
- Search Engines: Spammers may use search engines to identify websites that match their target criteria, such as specific keywords or niches. They may use automated tools to search for websites that have contact forms, comment sections, or other areas where they can submit spam.
- Publicly Available Information: Spammers may also gather website information from publicly available sources, such as online directories, business listings, social media profiles, or other public databases. They may use this information to identify potential targets for their spam campaigns.
- Previous Contacts or Submissions: If you have a contact form, comment section, or other submission forms on your website, spammers may target your website if they have previously contacted you or submitted spam through those forms. They may try to exploit the same vulnerabilities or weaknesses to continue their spamming activities.
- Domain Name Registrations: Spammers may also obtain lists of newly registered domain names or recently expired domain names and target those websites for spamming purposes.
- Social Engineering: Spammers may use social engineering techniques, such as sending phishing emails or conducting social media scams, to trick website owners into revealing their website information or providing access to their website, which can then be exploited for spamming.