One thing you will notice as you blog more, is that people like to make comments about Russian Escort Services, male enhancement products, and rug cleaning services in New York City.
Unless you happen to have a blog on one of these topics, these are not the type of comments you like to see your blog. They are called Spam.
There are two ways to stop spam from cluttering up your comments. First, you can wait for the spam comment to appear, and then personally delete it, after who-knows-how-many regular readers were offended, and left your blog, never to return.
The other option, which is preferable, is to let a plugin keep the spam comments from ever appearing on your blog in the first place.
By far, the best and most reliable plugin for this task is Akismet. If you are curious what it means, it stands for “Automatic Kismet.” Did that help? Probably not. Kismet is a Turkish word for karma, and so according to the Akismet site, they are trying to dole out automatic karma to spammers. by blocking them from commenting on your site. That sounds okay, I guess.
WordPress thinks it is so great, they pre-install it for you. So unlike other plugins, you do not have to go search for it and install it. All you have to do is activate it and set it up.
So in your Dashboard, click on “Plugins.” When you do, you will see this screen:
While we are here, we might as well also get rid of that “Hello Dolly” plugin. WordPress also preinstalls this plugin, and unless you really want to see random lyrics from Hello, Dolly in your admin screen, just delete this file.
Get an Akismet API Key
Now, as you can see in the description for Akismet, you are going to need an Akismet API key. “API” stands for Application Programming Interface, and in this case, allows the Akismet plugin to interact with the spam database that it maintains, and help keep your blog free of spam. It’s very nice. So click on the blue link to get your API key.
You will end up here:
When you click on the big blue button, you end up with a surprise!
Hey! I thought this was free!
It is. Don’t worry about this. These options are for businesses and high traffic sites which need an extra bit of Oomph out of spam protection. You are just starting off, and so you just need protection for your personal site. So click the long rectangle on the bottom which says “Personal Site.”
Here is where you sign up to get your API key. If you slide the little Yearly Contribution slider all the way to the left, you can get it for $0.
Of course, Akismet is definitely worth a donation. The service they provide saves you so much time and headache in sorting through thousands of spam comments, it is worth giving them a few bucks a year to keep the service running. But that is completely up to you.
After you fill out the form (and make a donation if you wish), you end up with a confirmation screen saying that your API key was sent to you by email.
Check your email, get your API key, and head back to your blog Dashboard plugin screen. As a side note, if you set up more than one blog, you can use the same API key for different blogs. I use one API Key for all of my blogs.
Enter Your Akismet API Key
In your Plugin Screen, click “Activate” on your Akismet plugin, and it asks you to enter you Aksimet API key.
So click the link to enter your Akismet API key, and get this screen:
Enter your API key in the box, select (or ignore) those two boxes (I ignore them), and click “Update Options.”
That is all there is to it! Akismet will now do its thing, protecting you and your blog from all the nasties out there.
You have now installed one of the 10 Essential WordPress Plugins every blog should have.