Spam is an ever-present threat. It can come in many forms like fake sign-ups or malicious emails. It can even have serious consequences for your domain, IP, and Google rank. Not only that, but it can also put your website visitors at risk by flooding comments sections with spam content and links to malicious websites. It’s no wonder that WordPress users are increasingly looking for a way to protect their sites from these attacks.
In this article, we’ll be comparing two specialist WordPress security plugins: Akismet and CleanTalk. These are specifically designed for combating spam. We will compare their features, usability, and more, to help you find the best solution for your website.
CleanTalk is the clear winner when it comes to protecting your WordPress site from spam. It provides comprehensive protection from all kinds of spam, including email spam, sign-up spam, comment spam, and more. We also love that it can help clean up sites that are already infested with spam comments.
You’re probably familiar with these two very popular WordPress anti spam plugins: Akismet and CleanTalk.
While they share some similarities, they also have very distinct differences. Both are cloud-based services that check spam against their databases, but they are built for different users.
To help you make an informed decision, we have tested both plugins and will be comparing everything you need to know.
Summary of Akismet
Akismet is a one-hit wonder built by the WordPress team that only cleans up comment spam.
On the plus side, it is very easy to use, and it is integrated into other popular plugins like Jetpack and Gravity Forms. Akismet excels at providing a silent and effective spam comment shield. It can be installed and forgotten about, much like the spam folder on your email inbox.
Akismet does its one job fairly well, and will protect your site against comment spam once it is installed. However, it cannot clean up existing comment spam on your site.
We should mention that there have been unfounded concerns about data privacy with Akismet. This is because all security plugins, including Akismet, learn from the sites they are installed on. This helps provide proactive security. No responsible developer will use, store, or sell personal data.
Recommended read: Akismet vs reCAPTCHA
Summary of CleanTalk
CleanTalk is a complete anti-spam solution that covers all bases: no spam email, comment, form fill, order, subscription, or user will pass by CleanTalk. It also has a spam bot firewall, but we would be wary of lauding this too much as spam bots are not the only kind of bots out there.
CleanTalk also provides spam statistics, if you are into that sort of thing. In stark contrast to Akismet, CleanTalk is a very interactive plugin. It allows you to easily review and delete spam comments, and provides real-time notifications about new spam. So if you’re looking for a comprehensive and interactive solution, CleanTalk is the plugin for you.
Feature comparison: Akismet vs CleanTalk
In this section, we’ll be comparing the features of Akismet and CleanTalk to help you decide which one is right for you. We’ll explore each plugin’s different capabilities and discuss which one is better suited for different types of users. So read on to learn more about what each plugin has to offer!
Spam removal: Which anti-spam plugin is more effective?
CleanTalk wins with its comprehensive spam protection
Akismet is designed to protect your website from comment and form submission spam. It works by checking all comments against its database and moving any that appear to be spam into the designated folder.
You don’t have to review these comments or manually approve of the spam result. They will not appear on your site. However, if you feel that there may have been an error, you can go into the spam folder to reverse the verification.
We must note though: while Akismet is effective at removing comment and form submission spam, it does not provide protection from other types of spam.
CleanTalk is a more thorough anti-spam solution than Akismet. It provides comprehensive protection from all types of spam, from email and sign-up spam to subscriber and user spam. It also blocks malicious spam bots.
Much like Akismet, it works by checking all comments against its database. CleanTalk then flags any comments that appear to be spam.
Retrospective spam removal: Which security plugin is better?
No contest here, CleanTalk can scan all existing comments and clear spam.
When you are installing an anti comment spam plugin for help with existing spam comments (or even users), CleanTalk is your best bet. With CleanTalk, you can scan all existing comments for any unwanted messages and remove them quickly.
Akismet is a great plugin that can help you remove spam comments from conversations, but it can’t scan previous comments.
Being able to retrospectively delete spam comments is a great feature that you will need once on your site, so we don’t think it is a deal breaker. However, credit where credit is due: CleanTalk comes up trumps here.
Usability: Which plugin is easier to use?
Akismet is a hands-free solution to spam.
Akismet is an effective way to get rid of spam without any fanfare. When enabled, it automatically detects and filters out spam comments and form registrations from your website. The spam is placed into a spam folder, which requires no action from you. This makes it easy to keep your website free from malicious bots and other threats. With Akismet, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your website is spam-free without having to take any action.
In contrast to Akismet, CleanTalk does not make decisions for you when it comes to spam prevention. This plugin uses advanced algorithms to detect and block spam comments and registrations from your website. However, it does not automatically filter out these comments and registrations. Instead, it presents you with the option to manually review and approve them.
Load on server: Which anti-spam plugin helps reduce server load?
CleanTalk has a firewall that protects your site from some spam bots.
Bots can have a very negative effect on website performance. When bots are attacking a site, they can eat up a lot of bandwidth. This can affect the speed and performance of the site in a major way. An anti-spam plugin alone won’t be of any help. You’re going to need a firewall.
Akismet doesn’t have any sort of bot protection. This means that if you are attacked by bots, Akismet cannot keep them away from your site. It is only good for preventing spam from being added to your comments.
CleanTalk, on the other hand, can help prevent spam bots from affecting your site. It uses a firewall to help keep the bots from reaching your site, and this will improve the performance and reduce the server load.
There is an important caveat here though. Spam bots are by no means the only type of malicious bot. There are scraper bots, brute force bots, and many more besides. Plus, there is a lot of complexity to bot protection, as there are good bots you want to let in, like googlebot or an uptime monitoring bot. CleanTalks’ firewall may keep out spam bots, but is not sophisticated enough to manage the rest.
Support and plugin health: Which plugin is better?
CleanTalk has better documentation, is regularly updated, and is known for great support.
CleanTalk has great documentation and a responsive support team. This makes it easy to find information about the plugin and get help with any questions you may have. CleanTalk is also frequently updated, which means that the developers are adding security patches and more features on a regular basis.
Akismet is maintained by the WordPress team. This makes it likely that there will continue to be regular updates, and that the plugin will be actively maintained. In terms of support, it is mostly available on the WordPress forum.
Pricing: Which security plugin is better priced for your site?
CleanTalk is an affordable plugin for all the features it offers.
Akismet is free for personal use. You are also able to set your own pricing for other types of websites. This makes it easy to choose the perfect pricing for your needs.
However, CleanTalk has better features and comes at the affordable price of $12 a year for one site. If you have more sites, the costs will reduce too. CleanTalk also offers a 7-day full-featured trial to test out the plugin before committing to it.
How else can you prevent spam on your website?
While Akismet and CleanTalk can be great plugins to protect your site from scam comments, there are other ways to secure your site against spam attacks.
- Install a firewall: Bots can be both good and bad depending on their purpose. Good bots such as the googlebot or uptime monitoring bots are helpful for optimizing your website for search engine visibility and keeping your site’s performance in check.
On the other hand, bad bots can attack your site and cause serious damage. To protect your site from bad bot attacks—while letting the good ones in—you need to install a firewall. MalCare is the perfect security plugin for this purpose, as it provides advanced protection from malicious bot attacks and other threats.
- Geoblocking: While a firewall is a great defense against spam attacks, geoblocking is an additional step you may want to take. This technique involves blocking certain countries from accessing your website. This is beneficial because it restricts the amount of malicious bots and hackers from accessing your site. Additionally, it reduces the amount of spam comments and registrations from other countries. You can configure which countries you want to block using MalCare as well.
- reCaptcha: reCaptcha is a Google service that requires users to prove that they are human by completing a task. This makes it virtually impossible for spambots to access your website. While plugins like CleanTalk can be effective for preventing spam, they are not a replacement for reCaptcha.
- Double opt-in forms: Using double opt-in forms in your email sign-up process is an effective way to reduce spam. This process requires users to confirm their registration before they are added to your mailing list or subscriber list. This might seem like it is adding more friction to your sign-up process, but it helps to ensure that the users who register are real people who want to be on your list.
- Add a honeypot field to your forms: A honeypot field is a hidden field that can be used to identify spam bots. This field is not visible to humans, but it is visible to bots. When a bot fills out a form, it will also fill out the honeypot field. This will flag all submissions with a filled in field as spam, and thus be blocked.
CleanTalk is a great anti-spam plugin that is more effective than Akismet. However, it is not enough on its own. To truly protect your website from malicious bots, you should use other methods such as installing a firewall with MalCare. With the right combination of spam prevention measures, you can ensure that your website remains safe from malicious threats.
Is Akismet any good?
Yes, Akismet is a good anti-spam plugin. It uses advanced algorithms to detect and block malicious bots and other threats. It is a great way to prevent spam from reaching your website and is easy to set up and use.
Recommended read: Akismet alternatives
Does Akismet cost money?
Akismet is free to use on personal sites. For business sites and those that have revenue, yes, Akismet does cost money. The price depends on the plan that you choose. The paid plans start at $10/month and go up to $50/month for businesses with higher traffic volumes.