Spam Filtering with Akismet

Spammers target everything and your contact forms are no exception.

Contact Form 7 provides several spam protection modules; we recommend utilizing different types in combination.

Akismet is a powerful anti-spam service provided by Automattic that protects your contact forms. Spam filtering with Akismet forms the centerpiece of our spam prevention strategy.

Activating Akismet

The first step is to activate the Akismet plugin. Since the plugin package of Akismet is bundled with WordPress, there is no need to manually install it. Move to the Plugins menu and simply activate the plugin titled “Akismet Anti-Spam”.

You need an API key to use Akismet. If you use it on a personal blog, you can get an API key for free. For corporate or commercial sites, paid subscriptions are available.

For people considering the paid subscriptions, we recommend Jetpack “Personal” or upper plans. Jetpack is the total solution package for WordPress and is provided by the same company as Akismet. In addition to Jetpack’s wide variety of features, the “Personal” and upper plans include an Akismet subscription that is equivalent to the Akismet “Plus” plan.

Jetpack

Deploying Akismet in a Contact Form

The primary purpose of Akismet is to protect WordPress comment forms. To use Akismet to protect Contact Form 7, you need to give specific options to input fields (form-tags).

There are three Akismet-related options:

akismet:author

You give this option to the field where submitters input their names.

Example: [text* your-name akismet:author]

akismet:author_email

You give this option to the field where submitters input their email addresses.

Example: [email* your-email akismet:author_email]

akismet:author_url

You give this option to the field where submitters input the URL of their websites.

Example: [text your-url akismet:author_url]

To deploy Akismet in a contact form, use one or more of these options in the form. To get accurate results, you are advised to use as many options as possible.

Where Akismet is deployed, Contact Form 7 sends data to Akismet when a user submits the form. The data are composed of all user inputs (not only the fields with an akismet:* option) and variables from the environments. Akismet will verify the data to respond with a “spam” or “ham” answer.

If a “spam” answer is the response, Contact Form 7 will suspend the email and show a message saying, “There was an error trying to send your message,” surrounded by an orange border.

Testing the Spam Filtering

To test if the spam filtering is working correctly, try inputting “viagra-test-123” into the name (akismet:author) field or “akismet-guaranteed-spam@example.com” into the email (akismet:author_email) field, and submitting the form. With these magic words reserved for testing, Akismet must return a “spam” response. If it is working as expected, you’ll see an orange-bordered error message.

Just another contact form plugin for WordPress. Simple but flexible.

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