CleanTalk Review: The Best Anti-Spam Plugin?
Spam can be a real annoyance to webmasters. It is their work to keep it at the minimum if not zero. Although that is easier said than done. A good anti-spam plugin with definitely come in handy but there are tons to choose from, and honestly, most of them do not work as they’re shown on paper.
So, what do you do now?
Well, what if I told you there’s one particular anti-spam plugin that is so easy to set up and just works as it is supposed to?
The plugin we’re talking about is CleanTalk Anti-Spam.
CleanTalk Anti-Spam Overview
CleanTalk is a cloud-based service that prevents and filters spam to protect your website from such unwanted and potentially harmful ‘pests’.
This plugin effectively filters through all the comments on your website, contact forms, registrations, orders, and more for spam. This anti-spam plugin for WordPress claims that it has subtle spam protection that works without giving any inconveniences to your visitors, it is reliable and lets you focus your time on growing your websites, it protects all the website forms, and it is simple to use. And they stand true to their claims.
What will you get?
- Spam protection on comments. The plugin moves spam comments to the SPAM folder to let you monitor them.
- Registration filter. The plugin prevents bots from registering to your website. This works on WordPress, BuddyPress, bbPress, WooCommerce, and any other registration forms.
- Contact form spam protection. The plugin is configured to work with the most popular contact forms including Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and Ninja Forms.
- CleanTalk also supports WooCommerce and will protect your site against spam registrations and reviews.
- Newsletters spam protection. The plugin protects against spam subscriptions and works with popular email marketing services like MailChimp and MailPoet.
- It is compatible with popular cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Hyper Cache.
- CleanTalk will also check existing comments and user accounts for spam.
- Invisible spam protection. The plugin doesn’t use captchas for protecting your website against spam.
Setting it up
Setting up CleanTalk is as easy as it gets. There are only a few easy steps involved. A click here and a click there and voila, you’re done.
You start by registering for an account on CleanTalk’s website. You need to enter your email and website address. The access key will then be revealed. Take note of that access key as it will be needed soon.
Now head over to your WordPress admin dashboard and click on Plugins. Click on Add New and search for CleanTalk. Install the plugin and then activate it.
Once it is activated, you will be prompted to enter the access key that you’ve previously acquired. After you’ve done that, the settings page will change and you will see “Protection is active” written in bold text. You will also see a couple of green checkmarks across the page. These checkmarks indicate what the plugin is protecting in your website.
This page also includes a way to go to your website’s anti-spam statistics to get a clearer view of how the plugin is protecting your website. You can access the stats through the blue bottom located at the top left corner of the settings page. The statistics page will have the total number of spam that the plugin protected the website from.
When you click on the “switch” button at the bottom of the page, the stats will switch to a graphic view showing a map and the top countries where you got spams from.
In a nutshell, CleanTalk’s features include protection against bot comments, bot signups, bot contacts email, and such. Let get into more details on what features CleanTalk has up its sleeve and what do they do to protect your website.
CleanTalk goes through all of the forms on your website and filters spam. The forms include registration forms, comments form, contact forms, search form, external forms, internal formal, and custom forms. The protection for each type of form can be toggled on and off through the settings.
CleanTalk also allows you to toggle WooCommerce protection. Enabling this will allow CleanTalk to go through the WooCommerce checkout form to check it for spam. You can go even further by enabling spam tests for registration during checkout.
Comments and Message Protection
It would be strange if an anti-spam plugin didn’t filter spam comments. Well, good thing CleanTalk does that and more. You can outright disable all comments on all types of content, or choose to disable comments on all posts, pages, or media. CleanTalk also supports BuddyPress and will filter spam from private messages.
You can set the plugin to delete spam comments automatically, remove links from comments, and enable links to check emails and IPs for spam. This anti-spam plugin also allows you to manage comments on public pages through a small interactive menu.
CleanTalk also gives you the power to alter how the plugin interacts with registered users. You can choose to protect registered users by checking their submissions for any potential spam. If there are users whom you trust, you can choose to not check their comments.
Furthermore, the plugin also allows you to enable the use of AJAX for checking JS and use static keys for checking JS if any problem occurs with caching plugins. You can also toggle cookies, checking all post data, use SSL connection with servers and use WordPress HTTP API to connect to the cloud.
This is exactly what it sounds like. CleanTalk lets you filter trusted URLs and exclude them from thorough checking. You can also exclude field names and user types.
Admin Bar Options
This setting allows you to add statistics info on the top of the admin bar. This will show the stats for the last 24 hours. You can also choose to change the stats duration to all time. Moreover, you have the option to enable other miscellaneous options like async JS loading, add GDPR notice, and more.
This feature is relatively new to CleanTalk. What it does is actively prevents spam bots from even visiting your website. When a visitor comes to your website, this firewall checks the IP details from CleanTalk’s database containing over 5 million spam IPs. If the IP is marked as spam, it will be blocked and instead of showing your website’s contents, a blank page will be shown.
If the spams attacks are in large numbers, this will significantly reduce the load on your web server. It also protects against DDoS attacks and RPC-XML attacks. Furthermore, the firewall gives access to logs to help you monitor the service work.
For all the benefits CleanTalk comes with, the pricing plans don’t seem too much at all. The cheapest plan starts at $9.99 ($8 at the time of writing this review) per year with support for one website. The most expensive plan goes for $199.80 ($160 at the time of writing this review) per year and supports 40 websites.
At the time of writing this article, all the plans were 20% off. Every plan comes with all the features including regular updates, mobile apps, and 24/7 support. If you’re spectacle about the plugin, you can choose the 7-day free trial option to see how it really is.
CleanTalk Review – Summary
Needless to say, CleanTalk does exactly what it promises to do – protects your website against spam without captchas.
It does a least equal job of clearing spams compared to Akismet, at a lower price. And with the database of whooping 5 million+ spam IPs, you know you’re in good hands. Plus, if you’re planning to stop using the spam protection plugin you’re currently using, the setup process is piece of cake so that you will have to problem adapting to this plugin. So, in my honest opinion, CleanTalk is a solid choice for your website. Focus on growing your website and leave spam filtering to CleanTalk.