2 Free Akismet Alternatives for Spam Prevention

2 Free Akismet Alternatives for Spam PreventionIf you have been using WordPress for any length of time you will know that comment spam is a very real problem.

Not only does it bring down your user experience, but it can also hurt your SEO as well if your posts become home to hundreds of spammy links to dodgy websites.

It doesn’t have to be onerous to deal with comment spam, but you do need to deal with it. Letting it build-up is not an option if you want to run a successful site.  You can moderate each and every comment you get, but if your site does become very popular then you can expect to spend a lot of time moderating.  Thankfully, there are WordPress plugins that can help you with that.

What is Akismet?

Akismet is undoubtedly the most popular spam prevention plugin for WordPress. Unsurprising given it is made by the company behind WordPress, Automattic.  With more than 13 million downloads and an average rating of 4 stars you know it is good.

Akismet is an intelligent way to fight comment spam on your WordPress blog.  It monitors each trackback, pingback, and comment your site receives and tests these to make sure that they are not spam.  If it suspects that a comment is spam, you would need to approve it before it goes live on your site.

Akismet relies on the input of its many users as well as more than seven years of work to make its spam protection the best there is.  What’s more, it gets smarter by learning about the new tricks and methods that spammers use.

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The plugin needs an API key to work, which is available for free for personal blogs, but if you run a business blog or commercial site on WordPress then you need a subscription starting at $5/mth.

Akismet Alternatives are Available

Now $5 per month per site isn’t a huge amount, but there are some free Akismet alternatives that are definitely worth looking at…

Antispam Bee

Antispam Bee

Developed by Sergej Muller and with more than 368,000 downloads to date, Antispam Bee has been in active development since it was launched in 2009.

Like Akismet, it employs sophisticated techniques to analyze comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks on your site, allowing you to have a spam-free blog.  Unlike Akismet, however, it does not store your personal data on-site and everything is anonymous.  Antispam Bee also notifies as new spam comes in.

What’s more, it is free for everyone.



Defensio, created by Websense, Inc., pretty much follows how Akismet does things.  It sends new comments, trackbacks and pings to their server and these get analyzed for spam content.  But more than just a spam blocker, it also detects malicious content, filters profanity, detects scripts and supports detailed statistics and OpenID authorization.

Defensio is available for free if you have less than 25,000 server calls per month.  More than that and you have a choice from three paid plans that start at $299 per year up to $7,999 a year(!!)…25,000 calls per month for free however is a decent number so for most small site owners this is accessible.

Final Thoughts

These are among the highest-rated alternative plugins to Akismet that go beyond just spam filtering and using CAPTCHAs.  As with any plugin choice, be sure to choose one that fits your budget, perhaps starting with a free alternative and upgrading to a paid service when the time comes.

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Each of these would be a good choice and will generally provide very low false positives and will help you manage comment spam on your site.

Charlie has been building WordPress themes, reviewing web hosts and utilizing social media since their respective inceptions.

26 thoughts on “2 Free Akismet Alternatives for Spam Prevention

  1. Shakti Renu says:

    Nice article. I just installed Antispam Bee to my wordpress. Thank you Charles.

  2. Edgard Calero says:

    Very useful review. Let’s see how Antispam Bee works.

  3. Christine says:

    Hi Charles, glad I stumbled upon your article here. Too bad Akismet is not free anymore, I’ve only just started and really am trying to keep my cost low. So I’m looking for a free alternative. Another friend also is recommending Antispam Bee, so I’m gonna check it out. Thanks.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    The problem is that Akismet only accepts credit cards, so we cannot use normal purchase order / invoice / bank transfer payment. It’s astonishing in this day and age that a company would be so backward.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi Peter, I agree…more payment options would be nice, and I imagine it would be frustrating if you don’t have access to a credit card to expense things on. I’m guessing in this case that the administrative overhead of dealing with purchase orders, bank reconciliations and manual activations is not worth it for Akismet even for their enterprise plan at $50/mth. With a credit card payment at time of signup the entire provisioning process can be automated. That doesn’t help you of course, I’m just speculating on why it is like it is.

  5. Herman says:

    Hi i have over 2000 spam per day whit Akismet, then i switch to Antispam Bee and now i m happy 🙂
    Have a nice day

  6. Brendan says:

    Hi Charles,

    I was looking into Defensio and noticed their plugin hasn’t been updated in 2 years. I can’t get on their website either.

    Otherwise, great list!

    1. charles Charles says:

      Thanks Brendan, good prompt for me to update this list. Cheers.

  7. Italienischkurs says:

    I think Askimet is the best plugin but unfortunately it’s not free… I’m going to try any of this suggested here, let you know.
    For the moment, thanks!

  8. RahulGupta says:

    I think no other plugin beats the powerful and advanced spam detection mechanism like Akismet. Its been 4 years, i am just loving it !

  9. Blogger Lamongan says:

    Thanks a lot for writing this info. I am sick of too many spam comments on my blog. I’ll try to use Antispam Bee, hope it works well.

  10. Preston says:

    Charles, I’m wondering if you have an opinion on how Paul’s recommended “WordPress Simple Firewall” plugin stacks up against your suggestions?

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi Preston, I’ve not tried Pauls suggestion yet. I mean to, just havn’t quite got around to it. If you try it please let us know what you think.

  11. Evgeniy says:

    Era of CAPTCHA is over. Keypic protects websites from comment spam reliably and your users do not need to face CAPTCHA https://wordpress.org/plugins/keypic/

  12. Paul G. says:

    Hey Charles,

    Just thought I’d drop in here and let you know of another (completely free) option for WordPress comments that to-date, hasn’t produced any false positives for SPAM, and effectively elimiates Bot-SPAM and Human spam.

    It’s in the WordPress Simple Firewall plugin you can grab from WordPress.org: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-simple-firewall/

    I’d been keen to hear your thoughts and experience with this approach.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Thanks Paul, will check it out.

  13. Julain says:

    I hadn’t updated Akismet in quite a while and yet it was still doing a great job at filtering out the spam. I updated it less than 2 days ago and now I am getting nearly 100 spam messages per day showing up as good/valid messages. I checked and Akismet is still active and my key is still in place. I am seriously considering moving to one of the options you listed. I assume that Akismet wants me to pay to play now.

  14. Bryan Veloso says:

    Will try these two. Akismet seems to not work anymore. I got around 10,000+ spam comments everyday.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi Bryan, have you registered with Akismet and configured your license key in the plugin? I still think it is the best plugin out there. We use it here and it does an amazing job.

  15. Erik Matlock says:

    Is there an English version of antispam bee? Kinda hard to setup a plugin that doesn’t have English instructions.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Pretty sure you can run it in English. Certainly this was possible when I last tried it.

  16. Brian M says:

    Thanks for the article which as a newbie to wordpress I found helpful. However from reviews looks like there’s been some changes to Defensio recently with the free version provided less functionality than before. Does that affect your view?

    1. charles Charles says:

      Thanks for the heads up Brian. The changes don’t look too different to me. I think it is still a good alternative to Akismet.

  17. ignaz says:

    just found out the spamfree wordpress plugin is no longer free…

    1. charles Charles says:

      Thanks for the heads up. Will update the article.

  18. ignaz says:

    finally clarity about anti spam modules!

    Thanks guys!

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