How To Use Antispam Bee As A Free Alternative To Akismet

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Spam comments are an unwanted eyesore of any blog. No one wants them on their blog.

But how do you block spam comments from your WordPress blog?

Well, for many bloggers the option is to use the anti-spam plugin Akismet to filter out spam comments.

But did you know that there’s an alternative called Antispam Bee? Which is what I want to cover with you here.

Whilst Akismet is an excellent choice for bloggers. It doesn’t always come free if you are using a commercial site.

And it also might not work on every blog. As I’ve had people ask me about alternatives.

So, let’s look at the pros and cons of using Antispam Bee compared to Akismet. How it works and what options you have with it.

How to use Antispam Bee as a free alternative to Akismet

What You Might Expect As A New Blogger

You may think when you start a blog, that spam comments won’t be something you have to worry about.

In fact, when you start a WordPress blog it is one of the last things you’ll even think about.

After all, who is going to bother spamming your brand new blog, that’s just started out?

What would even be the point?

You don’t even have any generally interested visitors yet. So, they’ll be lucky to even find it.

But you might be shocked to find out. That you can get spam comments even on a brand new blog. And not dealing with spam comments early on is one of many mistakes bloggers make when they start a WordPress blog.

Bots just have a way of finding any website. Even if it doesn’t have much traffic yet.

It sucks I know. But luckily we have access to some powerful plugins to help with this.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee what new bloggers can expect header

Why It Is Important To Block Spam Comments On WordPress In The First Place

Spam comments look awful. They are usually full of spelling mistakes, and dodgy links. That could be sending your readers to dangerous places.

Because the link being on your blog. Your visitors could associate those bad experiences with your blog.

As well as Google can also consider your blog spammy. If it sees these kind of links on your blog.

Definitely, something you want to avoid right?

These fake comments can also make your site look like it is not maintained or cared about.

And who wants to comment on a blog like that? It doesn’t look like it would be worth the time.

And of course, as a blogger, you want blog comments.

Which is why it is important to give comments a pleasant and welcoming experience. By keeping the spam comments at bay.

How Do I Activate Akismet On WordPress?

Before I dig into the details of Antispam Bee. You may have landed on this page looking for Akismet.

Or you simply may be interested in looking at Akismet in more detail alongside Antispam Bee before making a decision on which to use.

For full details on how to activate Akismet on WordPress. Try following this comprehensive guide.

It covers getting it installed and activated on your blog. Along with the most crucial and important setting you absolutely must change.

Otherwise you could risk legit comments getting deleted forever. If they are ever flagged as false positives.

If you want to know ‘How do I get my Akismet API key?’ Then this guide covers this also.

How Does Antispam Bee Filter Out Spam Comments?

Antispam Bee works a lot different to Akismet.

Whilst they both use similar methods to filter out spam. Antispam Bee doesn’t use an external and ever-evolving database like Akismet does.

Because Antispam Bee doesn’t use an external database it is arguably 100% GDPR compliant. Which is one of the features it lists on the plugin page.

And yet it does a surprisingly good job at filtering spam. Some even say it does a better job than Akismet.

But, it just depends on the types of spam your blog gets.

Sometimes Akismet will have a bad day and I’m sure Antispam Bee also has some bad days too.

Because they are both just computer programs. That try to automate the human-like task of filtering legit comments from the spam.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee and how does it filter out spam comments header

What Advantages Does Antispam Bee vs Akismet Have?

This plugin is completely free whether you have a hobby blog or a commercial one that you are monetizing. Which is one major advantage it has over Akismet right at the get-go.

Just like Akismet, the WordPress Antispam Bee plugin. Will help you filter out spam comments quicker and more efficiently.

Freeing you up to do more important stuff.

In fact, it can help get comments up into your blog without you having to approve each one.

You can just let an antispam plugin like Akismet or Antispam Bee filter them out for you.

So Why Antispam Bee?

Well, this plugin has comparable ratings to Akismet. With almost all 5-star ratings.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee stats on the WordPress.org website

It hasn’t been officially tested on WordPress Gutenberg but it so far works for me. With no major problems.

It also has over 400k active installs, meaning is it popular and many people are using it instead of Akismet. Which comes installed on new WordPress blogs, but is not activated by default.

You can quickly add this WordPress plugin to your blog. By going to Plugins > Add New from the WordPress admin dashboard sidebar.

Simply entering Antispam Bee will bring it up in the results.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee install button from within the WordPress dashboard

Once you Install and Activate it.

You can access the options for it under Settings > Antispam Bee.

Although it already runs straight out of the box once it installs. It doesn’t hurt to check out any new plugin’s settings and customize it to your specific needs.

In this way, it caters to both new bloggers and more experienced ones.

And to be honest, compared to Akismet. It has way more options to customize it. I was quite surprised as Akismet has only 3 settings you can change.

In fact, one of the things that annoys me with Akismet is it deletes any comments it detects as spam by default.

Meaning you could lose legit comments if it flags them as spam.

By default Antispam Bee doesn’t have it set up like this. Which is a massive improvement for beginner bloggers.

Antispam Bee Settings You Can Control

Let’s take a closer look at the kinds of settings Antispam Bee has to offer.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee settings screen with many more options compared to Akismet

Firstly, you have options that affect the way spam filters out.

They execute in the order of the list, from top to bottom. So keep this in mind when changing these settings.

Antispam Bee Spam Filter Settings

Trust approved commenters

Lets people who have already previously commented. And were approved on your blog. Get approved straightaway.

Trust commenters with a Gravatar

Anyone who has a Gravatar setup will get their comment approved by default.

Consider the comment time

This option removes comments based on time.

Just ignore this though. It doesn’t play well with cache plugins and doesn’t seem to have much practical use.

Treat BBCode as spam

BBCode is often used by spammers to add links leading to malicious spammy sites. So having this turned on will catch quite a lot of fake comments.

Validate the IP address of commenters

Anyone not using a valid IP address. Usually, spammers will get blocked by this check.

Use regular expressions

Uses set of predefined patterns to detect spam. This powerful method uses an inbuilt set of patterns. To help filter out spam by looking for common character sequences and more.

Search local spam database for commenters previously marked as spammers

The plugin keeps a local database when comments are marked as spam. Antispam Bee can use this database to automatically block repeat offenders.

Block or allow commenters from certain countries

Using the country’s ISO code. You can block whole countries if you find a lot of spam is coming from one place.

Allow comments only in a certain language

Again, if you find certain languages are spamming the comments of your blog. You can use this to help filter them out.

There used to be an option for setting a public antispam database. Which you could link to an external blacklist of sorts. But this is no longer available.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee spam filter settings heading

Advanced Antispam Bee Settings

The next part of the settings the Antispam Bee plugin has is for other tools. Or generally, just other settings that don’t affect the spam filter.

Mark as spam, do not delete.

Selected by default, unlike Akismet where you can easily miss this!

Notify admins by email about incoming spam

This will send spam comment notifications. To the email address you have set up on the WordPress blog admin account.

It is not recommended you activate this. As it will be annoying to constantly get spam notifications. Especially when your blog starts to get lots of traffic.

Do not save the spam reason

This avoids adding data to the local database I mentioned earlier. Again, I do not see much use for this. So leave it disabled.

Delete existing spam after n days

Automatically deletes all spam comments older than the number of days you set.

I’d leave this off. As you really want to make sure you get a chance to check the comments marked as spam before they are deleted.

And well, even if you set it for a long period of time. There is always that possibility of a whoops moment when you forget to check.

So let’s avoid the possibility of losing legit comments, shall we?

Limit approval to comments or pings (will delete other comment types)

Again, leave this as the default of Comments. Unless you specifically want to filter pings and have all comments deleted by default.

Delete comments by spam reasons

You can automatically delete all comments by the reason they were sent to spam.

Again, best to leave this off and get into the habit of checking your spam comments. In case there are any false positives.

Delete Antispam Bee data when uninstalling the plugin

You only need to worry about this if you decide to delete the plugin. I would leave this turned on.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee heading for other antispam settings

Other Antispam Bee Settings

There’s one last section for some general options, which include:

Generate statistics as a dashboard widget

Will give daily notification of spam detection rate. Displayed as a graph.

Spam counter on the dashboard

Shows the number of comments identified as spam on the dashboard.

Optionally exclude trackbacks and pingbacks from spam detection

Only enable if you don’t want Antispam Bee to filter out the spam for trackbacks and pingbacks.

Optionally spam-check comment forms on archive pages

Make sure this is turned on to filter any contact form requests or comment forms on archived pages. Even if it is an old post you don’t want spam on it, right?

If you make any changes to the Antispam Bee options. Then make sure to hit the Save Changes button!

Okay, so we’ve looked at the settings. Some look useful. Some not so much.

But they are a good way to control your Antispam Bee plugin to handle spam comments exactly how you like.

For the most part, you can install it and let it run with it’s out of the box settings. As it is an effective spam filter even with the default settings.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee heading for the pros and cons of the plugin

But What Are The Cons Of Using The Antispam Bee plugin?

Well, one major issue is it doesn’t work with the Jetpack WordPress contact form.

Nor Jetpack, Disqus or any other ajax powered comment forms.

Meaning it only really works with the default WordPress commenting system.

And I’ll be honest. I don’t see many blogs using this. They all seem to either use the Jetpack or Disqus commenting systems.

Unlike Akismet which works with all these and most contact forms I can think of. Including Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms.

So whether this will make or break using the plugin for you. Depends on what other plugins you are using on your WordPress blog.

There are also other ways to filter spam like using a Captcha form.

But you need to ask yourself whether you want to annoy your visitors with this. And even then, it isn’t 100% at filtering spam either.

A WordPress antispam plugin like Antispam Bee or Akismet, is much more effective method.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee heading for the pros of the using this plugin to filter spam comments

What’s The Benefits Of Using Antispam Bee Over Akismet?

One of the major positives is that it blocks spam comments out of the box. Without deleting them automatically like Akismet.

Plus, you can always fine tune and try to adjust settings only if you want to.

Akismet has zero options for optimizing your spam filter. You just have to hope it figures it out by itself.

Overall, the user interface of Antispam Bee is simple to use. And doesn’t seem intimidating for new users as each option is carefully explained.

The Antispam Bee plugin also claims it doesn’t save any private user data, and that it is 100% GDPR compliant.

This is important for any user that has visitors from Europe browsing their site.

The only reason you won’t have to worry about GDPR is if you block all traffic from Europe. (Which is not cool by the way.) 🙁

Whilst Akismet is GDPR compliant too. The way it builds its spam filter from a database of user’s comments sometimes puts it into question.

On top of all these benefits, Antispam Bee is super easy to install.

Easier than Akismet, in fact. Since there is no registering emails and getting an API keys to authenticate.

You also don’t need to enter payment details for commercial blogs. Since Antispam Bee is 100% free.

Just install it and it will work. But there are plenty of options to customize if you’d like more control. Which is way more than what Akismet has to offer!

Comparison of Akismet settings compared to WordPress plugin Antispam Bee
Akismet’s limited settings

Antispam Bee might give you less false positives. As Akismet has been known to be prone to false positives. Because of certain wording or keywords being used.

So depending on your blog niche you might get a lot of false positives. It is something you need to try for yourself. And see what works.

So, Which Is The Best Antispam Bee Or Akismet?

Overall, there are several pros and cons of using the Antispam Bee plugin for your WordPress blog.

At the end of the day having at least one antispam plugin. Is essential for every new WordPress blogger and their blog.

Let’s take another look at the pros and cons of using Antispam Bee on your blog:

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to install with no registration
  • Lots of customization
  • Works out of the box
  • High plugin rating and reviews
  • No external connections meaning all data stays local
  • GDPR compliant and data conscientious
  • Doesn’t delete comments by default

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with all comment plugins like Jetpack and Disqus
  • Doesn’t work with all contact forms
  • No spam filter that adapts like Akismet with the more information it is fed.

Antispam Bee seems like an excellent choice if you are a blogger on a budget that still wants to monetize their blog. Without having to fork out for an antispam plugin.

WordPress plugin Antispam Bee install screen from with the WordPress plugins screen

But the main deciding factor seems to be whether you find Akismet acceptable in doing its job of filtering spam.

And whether Antispam Bee conflicts with the other comment plugins you are also using on your blog.

As this seems to be the main restriction of the Antispam Bee plugin.

So, which antispam plugin will you use for your WordPress blog? Have you tried Antispam Bee or are the comment plugins it supports too limited?

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Which WordPress plugin should you use? Antispam Bee vs Akismet

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5 thoughts on “How To Use Antispam Bee As A Free Alternative To Akismet”

  1. Thanks! I am switching three of my six sites from Akismet to Antispam Bee and seeing your comments confirming the plugin’s default settings is reassuring.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    1. The only way to check Antispam Bee is working as expected. Is to see what happens with any blog comments you receive.

      I would suggest keeping an eye on your WordPress dashboard for any comments that are approved to make sure Antispam Bee is only allowing comments you actually want.

      You could also tick the option under Settings > Antispam Bee and then in the section for Advanced there is an option to get a Spam-Notification by email. Turning this on could be a little annoying depending on how many spam comments you get. But to initially check that Antispam Bee isn’t flagging real comments as spam. Then it might be worth it.

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