Want to block spam on WordPress contact forms? Here are 8 anti-spam techniques to help prevent spam form submissions.
Approximate read time: 5.5 minutes
Spam. It just seems to be everywhere. Considering that 30%+ of websites run on WordPress, the users of this platform can expect a lot of spam.
And a lot of that spam email comes from simple contact forms.
This post will go over a few ways to stop spam in WordPress contact forms. So if you love sifting through spam submissions manually, well, this isn't the post for you!
Let’s get down to it!
👉 Want to use hCaptcha spam protector on your website? Here's how to use hCaptcha for WordPress forms
1. Completely block the IP address
Seems like the most obvious solution right? If only it were this simple!
If you see a repeat offender, you can block the whole IP address in the WordPress comment blocklist. With services like Cloudflare, you can even block whole countries.
Usually, you don't receive a spam contact form submission from a real person.
Most spam comes from bots 🤖 (programs automatically post spam messages on every WordPress contact form they can find). And to add to the fun — spammers use proxies (a wide range of fake IP addresses).
As you can see, blocking the IP address may protect you from an individual spammer but not from bots.
Blocking an IP address is easy but won't help you solve the real problem easily. This will only work if you constantly track spam IP addresses, but who has time for that?
Then, it's inserted into your forms without real visitors ever knowing it's there. The token is checked when a contact submits the form. It resets every day or two, so spammers are always running behind.
This way, you can protect your contact forms and message fields without lifting a finger.
3. Block spam with the honeypot method
The honeypot method is a 'sweet' form of contact form spam protection on WordPress sites. Here's how the honeypot method blocks spam. It creates a hidden field on your contact form page which is invisible to the visitors but is visible to the bot.
Hiding the field is easy — and will not disturb your visitors. But the bot scans the code of your page, so it sees the field anyway. As we discussed, bots submit spam messages automatically, identifying this “honeypot” field and filling it out.
When the bot tries to submit the contact form spam message, the honeypot feature will block it - as it will see that the “invisible field” is filled too. Gotcha!
If you are worried about difficult coding that you will have to do — worry not. Contact form plugins like Formidable Forms will make it a one-click action. A form builder like Formidable also has tons of other spam protection features.
There are a few other options that use the honeypot method. The Contact Form 7 honeypot plugin can extend the basic features of Contact Form 7, for example.
4. Use reCAPTCHA
Google’s reCaptcha is designed to tell the difference between a human and a bot. They've made this tool widely accessible to developers. There's only one issue: it can be a bit complicated if you aren't a developer.
This is where a plugin like Formidable Forms can help once again. You can add a reCAPTCHA to a WordPress contact form in a few clicks. And if you use a tool like a landing page builder, Formidable will be even easier.
Here is when things get interesting. You'll probably know this reCAPTCHA:
This new version of reCaptcha tracks the movement of your mouse after you click the box, if the movement is still suspicious, you'll be clicking on boats, cars, and trains to prove that you are not a spam bot.
This is one of the most widespread solutions at the present moment. Why? Because it works! It does not annoy the user that much, and the mouse tracking is very hard to bypass by the bot.
But still, you want the perfect user experience, right? Do you want to capture as many valid email addresses as possible? There are a few more ways to block contact form spam in WordPress.
5. Invisible reCAPTCHA
Invisible reCaptcha V2 is here to save the day! It tracks mouse movement but in the background while staying invisible. So while real human users happily click and go through the pages, bots are blocked.
Invisible reCaptcha is available with one click in a WordPress contact form builder like Formidable, so it's a no-brainer for sure.
6. ReCAPTCHA V3
Just in case you didn't have enough reCAPTCHA options... Here's another one to help stop contact form spam. V3 gives you invisible anti-spam but also scores every submission in a form. You choose what scores to block, and the rest is covered.
Over time, this reCAPTCHA learns more about your site by seeing real traffic. Then, website owners can adjust the score threshold to block more or less strictly. This is a great way to stop human spammers too.
7. Custom spam protect form fields
Are you still looking for more contact form anti-spam for WordPress sites? We've got a couple more that could really help.
If you have a solid form builder, you can create your own!
You formulate questions and make the visitor answer it. As the questions and answers are unique for every site, bots have a tough time breaking them.
One simple custom captcha method: a math question. Ask something like “5+6=?” and let the user fill in the answer. While it is a very accessible solution, it still decreases the user experience a bit.
8. Install WordPress antispam plugins
Without mentioning the WordPress anti-spam plugins, no spam message-blocking list would be complete.
The most used ones are Akismet, WordPress Zero Spam, and Jetpack. These plugins work independently from your contact form tools.
They also tap into already-known spam IPs databases, so they can help block the threat even before it appears.
So how are you going to block spam on WordPress contact forms
Creating anti-spam protection on your WordPress site while keeping the user experience high will take some help. Luckily the methods we described in this post are easily accessible if you have the right tools.
For example, combining Invisible reCaptcha, Honeypot, and one of the WordPress plugins will give you several layers of protection for stopping spam. The best part? None of those methods are intrusive for users!
We hope you've enjoyed this article. If you found it useful, be sure to check back to the Formidable blog often!
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