When you say “SPAM” you say “facts of life”! The life of any Drupal site/app/blog owner or administrator out there! And aiming for a 100% spam-proofed website is as realistic as toiling hard to eradicate... social inequity for good. And yet, you can still cut it down to the very minimum thanks to this heavy weighting “offer” of anti-spam Drupal modules available to you!
Depending on the spam prevention Drupal approach that you'll supercharge your website with you'll be fighting spam via:
- challenge-response interaction
- real-time filtering
- a “deadly” combo of the two approaches
- more or less user intrusive methods (meaning featuring CAPTCHA or not)
And if the Mollom module for Drupal still is you site's old and familiar “shield” against spambots, you should know that the popular, non user-intrusive spam filtering service will cease to exist as of 2 April 2018.
Since no one knows how it's going to get configured after this date, whether it will continue to safeguard all sites or none, you'd better be open to alternatives.
Now to spare you of a time-consuming research, here are 7 anti-spam Drupal modules that our Toronto web development team has already hand picked for you! Scan them through, compare them and go for the one that best suits your site's anti-spam needs:
Honeypot is, by far, THE anti-spam module!
Basically, when they say or think of “spam prevention”, 99% of “Drupalists” out there say/think of the Honeypot module, of the Honeypot method (for yes, there's even an anti-spam “method” named after it).
So, you get the idea: in Drupal world spam-filtering means “honey-potting” in 9 out of ten cases!
“How does it work?”, you say? It fights back spambots on two fronts:
- It uses a simple, yet surprisingly effective little “trick”: it adds a hidden field precisely to those forms on your Drupal site that it spam-proofs. An easily configurable “bait field” named something like “website” or “URL”. Once that hidden field gets filled in, it's a sign that a spambot has taken the bait. Sneakily-clever and effective!
- It uses a timestamp (which, again, you get to configure to your liking, the default time being of 5 seconds). If a web form on your Drupal site gets filled in quicker than that specific timeframe that you've set, Honeypot will instantly block its submission. It will identify the “submitter” behind it as being a... spambot.
So simple, so effective and where do you add that Honeypot falls into that category of anti-spam Drupal modules that are 100% non intrusive. The ones that don't keep “bugging” your site's visitors with captcha tests to be solved in order to prove their humanity!
There's no user interaction involved, since Honeypot runs its “spambot-detecting” tests on the web forms directly!
Note: a con of this module is that those particular web forms on your Drupal site placed under Honeypot's anti-spam protection can't get cached! The module disables caching for these particular web forms.
Now here's another spam blocking Drupal module worth your full attention!
Compared to Honeypot's own methods, the HTTP:BL's one is completely different: it blocks any requests coming from Ips included on a DNS blacklist! A blacklist put together by all the Drupal sites using this module for spam protection.
A sort of collective fight against spam, one that your own site will be involved in and “reap” the benefits of!
Note: the http:BL module can be installed on Drupal 7 websites only for the time being.
3. Captcha, One of The Reference Anti-Spam Drupal Modules
How could we have left out, from our list, precisely the module leveraging the “reference anti-spam method” itself: the CAPTCHA method?
It does precisely what its name says: it integrates CAPTCHA into your web forms! A challenge-response system meant to block any attempt of automated spam posting, based on “inconveniencing” the user to pass a given test (answering a question, solving a math problem etc.)
The module comes with its own default challenge-response tests, so it can be used as a standalone spam-blocking solution, and it can also be used as a base API for other anti-spam Drupal modules.
- our Toronto digital agency's team strongly recommends you to go for the second scenario, to make it just part of an entire “ecosystem” of anti-spam solutions on your Drupal site. There have been quite a few cases when spambots did manage to solve these challenge-response tests.
- do keep in mind that captchas are always a deterrent for your users and can easily turn into a factor responsible for the low conversion rate on your Drupal site
Take the CAPTCHA and the Re-Captcha modules as a “check and double check” spam-preventing method!
The ReCaptcha module goes even tougher on bots as it leverages the “squiggly words” method for blocking spam. Basically, words difficult to read by spambots get taken from old books and turned into captchas.
Note: a potential disadvantage of using this anti-spam Drupal module is that some users, too, might find it hard to recognize these “hard nut to crack”, less common words!
5. Antibot, One of the Anti-Spam Drupal Modules to Supercharge Your Site With
Here's another representative of the group of anti-spam Drupal modules that are totally unintrusive!
A pretty clever check-up if you come to think of it!
Note: one of the Antibot module's notable features is that, unlike other anti-spam Drupal modules, it doesn't disable cache on the web forms that it protects. A performance-enhancer you just can't overlook!
Take the Botcha module as an all-in-one spam-blocking solution for websites running on Drupal! And where do you add that it doesn't involve any user interaction (and therefore “user bugging”) either!
There are 3 methods that this module uses for detecting and blocking spammy form submissions:
- the honeypot method: it adds that hidden, “spambots luring” field to the protected web forms on your website
- the source calculation-based method
- the time-based method
And there's more! Once enabled, this module will also prevent any attempts of resubmitting the same form by using its own “NoResubmit” formula.
Note: the only downside is that there's no Drupal 8 version of the module. Not just yet!
This module's main “role”, in its mission to prevent spam posting processes, is to block automatic spam coming from anonymous users.
And its name says it all; it's a simple “two-ingredient recipe” that it relies on for blocking spam:
- there's an “I'm not a spammer” checkbox
- and there's an “I'm a spammer” hidden checkbox
Once the later gets checked or the former is left unchecked, it will just “warn” the module of a “suspicions activity” on your Drupal site. It's then that Simple Anti-Spam displays a warning message or simply blocks that specific form from being submitted to your Drupal site.
- blocking web forms by maximum text length
- blocking them by stop words
- to blocking form by number of links
- and the list can go on
...the Simple Anti-Spam module is one of those anti-spam Drupal modules that can report a form as being “suspicious” (automatically blocking it, too) based on a whole array of criteria.
Note: there's yet no Drupal 8 version!
Your turn now! What other approaches have you adopted on your Drupal site for... pulling the plug on any type of spam activity?
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