Protect WordPress against comment spam

I was asked to go step-by-step through how to protect WordPress from the current rash of spam comment attacks, so here it is. It’s fairly easy to get them to go into the moderation queue, but it’s a pain having to continually clear it out.

The way the current attacks (hold ’em poker and so on) are working is to attack a file called wp-comments-post.php which does the grunt-work of posting comments into the database… if this isn’t there, they can’t do it.

So first rename wp-comments-post.php to something else. Doesn’t really matter what, as long as it doesn’t clask with anything else. eg xyz.php. (It’s not ever seen by users so it really could be called anything without confusing people, though you might want to avoid confusing yourself if you later can’t remember what it is.)

Then you need to edit the files that call xyz.php, which are:

  • wp-comments.php
  • wp-comments-popup.php
  • wp-comments-reply.php

Save all those files to your server, and make sure the original wp-comments-post.php file is deleted, and then you should be done. Post a comment yourself to make sure it works.

For now it seems to stop the spammers… no doubt in future they’ll figure out something more advanced (like scanning the <form> code to figure out the name of the post file), but it should stop them for a little while at least.

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