How to: Reduce Form Submission Spam on Your WordPress Website

What is Form Submission Spam?

When someone reaches out to you or your organization via a form on your website, an email notification with the submitter’s message is delivered to you or a group of designated recipients. Some of these form submissions turn out to be an annoying waste of time. A few examples:

  • A cease and desist notice from someone impersonating a lawyer
  • A message with sexually explicit material
  • A ransom message with links to infected files
  • A poorly targeted sales pitch

Worse, the same messages are often submitted repeatedly over the course of several days or weeks — whether by a human or bot. And unfortunately, you can’t simply train your email app to automatically delete them or send them to your junk folder. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending legitimate inquiries to your spam folder too!

Fighting Back: The Best Way to Reduce Form Spam

The first thing you’ll want to do, is eliminate plain old email links from your website entirely if you can. These are hypertext links that, when clicked on, automatically open an email window on your visitor’s device. It is also easier for bots to harvest email addresses listed on your website and avoid your web form altogether.

Next, use a robust form plugin like Gravity Forms that, when properly configured:

  • Integrates with a spam-filtering service like Akismet
  • Has an Anti-Spam Honeypot feature
  • Allows the site admin to match the submitter’s IP address with the spam (good for difficult cases)

The Akismet spam filtering service was designed to detect and block spammy blog post comments. However, when integrated with the Gravity Forms plugin, it does a great job of blocking and managing form submission spam too!

The Anti-Spam Honeypot technique works invisibly to prevent bots from submitting form spam and eliminates the need for a reCAPTCHA.

And for stubborn cases, the submitter’s IP address can be used with a security plugin to manually block them.

The Easiest Way to Reduce Form Spam

There is no need to purchase, install, or configure expensive plugins when you sign up for WPSimplifyd’s WordPress maintenance and support services. Got a problem with form spam? Learn more about WPSimplifyd or sign up now!

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