My Review of WP-SpamFree

I run a large network of blogs, and we’ve had to deal with spammers from the get-go. Akismet has always done a great job of weeding out the spam, especially coupled with moderated comments. But as the popularity of these sites grew, moderation became more and more of a chore. Then we moved to a cloud environment, and found that Akismet, along with the constant use of the Dashboard to moderate comments, was sending our usage numbers through the roof. This resulted in a hefty bill from our hosting company. 🙁

After evaluating a number of options, we settled on WP-SpamFree. We’ve been using it for nearly 6 months now, and wanted to voice my opinions about it, given that most of the reviews out there are from people who just installed it and are still in the honeymoon phase.

It’s a good product, but not without it’s flaws. It’s supposed to combat 99.9% of spammers, using some sort of secret methods. Yet we’ve had a number of isolated incidents where spammers were able to leave THOUSANDS of comments, which we had to painstakingly remove by hand. Frustrated with this, we turned off the “Allow Users Behind Proxy Servers To Comment” option, since “most spammers hide behind a proxy”, at least according to WP-SpamFree.

This was a huge mistake. Within 24 hours, my inbox was flooded with e-mails from regular readers who could no longer comment! I guess I underestimated the number of people who use a proxy to get around their work filters. Other people were getting flagged even though they weren’t using a proxy. Whatever the case, it was a disaster, and I quickly reverted back to the old way.

I added a number of additional rules to my blacklist (even though my list was pretty extensive to begin with), and that solved the immediate problem. Now a new version of WP-SpamFree has been released, but I have no idea what’s changed. The new version is v2.1.1.0, but the version history hasn’t been updated since v2.1.0.8. (Mind you, I’ve been on v2.1.0.9 for months now!)

So what now? Well, on the blog that was getting the most abuse, we installed Akismet, along with NoSpamNX. It’s only been a week or so, but so far it’s doing great. Everyone can post, spammers have been kept at bay, and there have been no false-positives. Because of this, we’ve been able to keep moderation turned off, and CPU usage levels on the cloud are unaffected.

I’ll probably give it another few weeks before making the change across our entire network, but if everything continues to work well, I’ll be saying goodbye to WP-SpamFree, and using NoSpamNX instead.

Would love to hear other users’ experiences with either product.. Thanks!

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3 Responses to “My Review of WP-SpamFree”

  1. So how did that work out for you?

    • Zander says:

      Not great.. A lot of false-positives, and a lot of spam still managed to get by.

      I’ve been using NoSpamNX for the last 6-months or so, and it’s been great. You just have to make sure you update to the latest versions when they are released, as they’re usually in response to a new loophole that spammers have figured out. Overall, I’m VERY happy with NoSpamNX.

      Hope this helps!

  2. John Grover says:

    Thank you for posting this review; I was considering WP-SpamFree, which is how I found your site. I will now check out the documentation on NoSpamNX intead! Thanks again.

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