What you can do to stop contact form spam in WordPress
Contact form spam is a common problem for all website owners with forms on their websites. Spambots attack any WordPress site and send junk emails to your inbox regardless of its size. Unfortunately, checking these emails becomes a waste of your time because you must go through hundreds of different entries to find genuine leads among spam messages.
There are ways to reduce spam on WordPress websites. I have outlined a few ways to block and reduce spam in your contact form below.
First, here is some background information on form spam in general.
Precisely what is form spam?
Form spam occurs when unwanted messages are sent through your website’s forms.
Why is it so prevalent?
It might seem like form spam isn’t a problem these days. Due to spam filters explicitly designed to block spam messages, traditional and old email spam is under control for the most part. Yet, website forms are far from perfect, and contact form spam continues to plague them in the form of junk messages and irrelevant links.
Furthermore, contact form spam continues to occur since it works. So the first thing spammers do is find loopholes and vulnerabilities in your website’s forms.
Spambots – what are they?
A spambot is a malicious computer program that collects email addresses and other important information directly from the Internet, such as contact forms, websites, and discussion boards. Typically, this data is used to send out unsolicited emails.
Because spam emails have their specific structure, bots simple to create. In some instances, people confuse bots using decrypted addresses by displaying emails in various styles. This method, however, does have some drawbacks. Here are some excellent ideas for stopping bots from sending spam through your contact forms.
Best ways to stop form spam
Add a reCAPTCHA
When users submit your contact form, they are required to click the reCAPTCHA box to prove they are human. Verifying that a real person is filling out your forms will help reduce spam submissions. This will block most spam attempts.
It can also increase form conversions since visitors perceive that you’re serious about the security of your website when they see it. If WebCami built your website, you would have installed reCaptcha on your form. These sometimes can get disabled, so it’s a good idea to check your form every now and then.
Add an Antispam Plugin
There are also anti-spam WordPress plugins such as Antispam Bee, Akismet, or CleanTalk that guard your whole website against spam.
In general, these plugins work independently of your contact forms, protecting your entire website against spam comments and form submissions (generally your comments and forms).
Anti-spam form plugins usually compare form submissions to blacklists of words, names, and email addresses, and some of them also assist you in adding CAPTCHAs or other anti-spam methods to your form.
- Antispam Bee is a free plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/antispam-bee/
- Askimet is a paid service: https://akismet.com/plans/
- CleanTalk is a premium plugin: https://cleantalk.org/price-anti-spam
And I will install them at no charge for anyone enrolled in my care plan. I don’t recommend using it unless spam is an issue. If you are not in my care plan, it would be less than 1/2 hour to install and configure (I will also help you set up your payment if you choose to use Askimet or CleanTalk).
What not to do
If you start getting form spam submissions, you do not want to report it as spam in your email program. This is not reporting the spammer, but it reports your website as a spammer in most cases. Forms are not received in your inbox from the person submitting them but through your website server or third-party service like Sendgrid.
Reporting this as spam will also prevent future form submissions from making it to your inbox, and some email filters may not even allow them in spam.
Rather than worrying about spambots, it would be best if you focused on improving your website’s conversion rate. However, if you are worried about form spam, I am here to help!
Please reach out to me, and we can schedule a time to discuss reducing form spam.