5 WordPress Honeypot Plugins to Help You Fight Spam
Last Updated November 6th, 2023
Spam prevention is one common concern for your clients when using WordPress. User comments, form submissions, and online orders are all vectors for spam. Unfortunately, out of the box, there aren’t a lot of great anti-spam features built into WordPress. The plugin ecosystem around WordPress means you aren’t out of options though. One of the simplest and most effective means of preventing spam is adding honeypot fields to your forms. First, let’s start by going over what a honey pot is. Then we’ll take a look at some of the best WordPress honeypot plugins available.
What is a honeypot?
In short, a honeypot is an invisible field put inside of your forms that can’t be seen by normal users. Since the field can’t be seen by a human it is assumed that it will be empty when the form is submitted. When the honeypot field does have data in it we can guess that a spam bot has submitted the form. Why? Spambots are generally very stupid. Their main goal is to fill out every field in a form to avoid validation problems and make sure their submission goes through. A properly set up honeypot is indistinguishable from any other field, like a name or email field, that makes up a form. So the bots fill in the honeypot and move on to their next target.
Popular WordPress Honeypot Plugins
Setting up honeypots can be technical but there is hope. A lot of excellent members of the WordPress community have stepped up to provide solutions. Here are some of the best WordPress honeypot plugins that you can download and install on your sites today.
Honeypot for Contact Form 7
The Honeypot for Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin helps protect one of the platform’s most popular plugins from spam attacks. This plugin adds simple anti-spam honeypot functionality to Contact Form 7. You can help prevent annoying bots and spammers from flooding your forms with junk without using captchas that real users hate. There is an additional feature built into Honeypot for Contact Form 7. You can turn on a time-based check that prevents how long it takes a visitor to submit a form. If they submit too quickly, the submission is rejected as spam based on your chosen waiting time. This is a handy feature that many form plugins should have by default, in our opinion.
This product was initially released by its developer in June of 2011. It is now on version 2.1 and last had a revision on February 25th, 2022. The newest version operates on WordPress 5.9.3 and requires at least PHP 5.6 to function on your server. This plugin is actively running on over 400,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 2,235,920 downloads. There have not been many support requests from end-users. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the customers who left an evaluation found Honeypot for Contact Form 7 to be excellent.
WP Armour adds honeypot-based protection to your WordPress site across multiple components and third-party plugins. Out of the box, this is one of the most versatile WordPress honeypot plugins on our list. The free version of the plugin adds honeypot capabilities to WordPress user registration, WordPress comments, and a wide number of plugins. Supported plugins include BBPress, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, WPForms, Caldera Forms, Toolset Forms, and popular themes like Divi. WP Armour is GDPR compliant as well which is very important in today’s privacy-focused landscape. This plugin has a minimal setup as well which is nice for less-technical WordPress site administrators
This plugin was first published by its owner in June of 2020. It is currently on version 2.1.6 and last saw an update on November 24th, 2023. The most recent release functions on WordPress 6.4.1. This plugin is currently functioning on over 100,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 801,570 downloads. There have been 14 support requests with a 50% response rate. WP Armour – Honeypot Anti Spam has below average support from its creator. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the customers who left a piece of feedback found WP Armour – Honeypot Anti Spam to be great.
Security Issues and Vulnerabilities
There has been one recorded security or vulnerability issue with WP Armour. The security problem was fixed and here are the details.
|2/8/21||WP Armour Honeypot Anti Spam This was a critical concern issue that was fixed in version 1.5.7.||Yes|
WP Armour Extended is the premium version of this plugin. This version has support for even more WordPress plugins. The list of extra plugins includes WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, QuForm, WordPress Ninja Forms, MC4WP, BuddyPress, and more. There are extra technical features as well outside of plugin support. WP Armour Extended helps handle spam bots by blocking IP addresses and offers the ability to review spam submissions to make sure real entries aren’t being lost incorrectly.
This product was first released by its developer in April of 2020. It is presently on version 1.0.4 and last experienced an update on January 2nd, 2023. The latest edition runs on WordPress 6.0.6 and requires at least PHP 5.6 to run on your server. This plugin is presently working on over 10,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 43,820 downloads. There have not been many help requests from users. Reviews for Honeypot Anti-Spam are very positive. Many of the customers who left a review found Honeypot Anti-Spam to be great.
Honeypot for WP Comment
Honeypot for WP Comment is another plugin on our list built only for handling WordPress comments. This plugin comes with a handful of settings options for you to fine-tune just exactly how the plugin impacts your comment system. There are options to set restrictions by commenter email address, certain keywords, IP address, and more. So this plugin offers more than just a simple honeypot implementation to fight spam. If you are looking for a multi-pronged approach to keeping your comments clean, including regular WordPress comment moderation, you should consider giving this plugin a try on your site.
This plugin was originally released by its creator in May of 2019. It is now on version 2.2.3 and last saw a change on August 6th, 2021. The most recent edition works on WordPress 5.8.8 and requires at least PHP 5.6 to run on your server. This plugin is currently running on over 1,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 18,170 downloads. There have not been many assistance requests from users. Reviews for Honeypot for WP Comment are very positive. Many of the users who left an evaluation found this plugin to be useful.
F12 Spam Protection
The F12 Spam Protection plugin is a very versatile and feature-complete plugin. In fact, its capabilities are far beyond the simple honeypot approach we are discussing in this article. You can use this plugin to set up custom rules for accepting form submissions, activate captchas, or go with the honeypot. There is an option to set time-based restrictions as well so forms can not be submitted quickly in a row by the same user. The plugin has quite a few settings and is ideal for WordPress users comfortable with that approach. F12 Spam Protection is built to support core features in WordPress, the Contact Form 7 plugin, and the Avada theme.
This plugin was originally released by its owner in October of 2021. It is actively on version 1.11.8 and last underwent a change on December 1st, 2023. The newest release runs on WordPress 6.4.1 and requires at least PHP 7.0 to work on your server. This plugin is actively operating on over 4,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 41,770 downloads. There have been 3 assistance requests with a 33% response rate. Captcha/Honeypot (CF7, Avada, Elementor, Comments, WPForms) – GDPR ready has below average support from its developer. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the customers who left an evaluation found this plugin to be worthwhile.
What’s the Best WordPress Honeypot Plugin for You?
Finally, we’ve reached the end of our recommendations for the best WordPress honeypot plugins. There is certainly a right solution for you whether you want something simple or more complex. You are sure to keep your client sites spam-free with one of the plugins.
Speaking of client sites, you might be interested in checking out our client-focused White Label WordPress plugin. Keeping clients on track and focused can be difficult with the confusing WordPress admin’s interface. In addition, sometimes you want your clients to be unaware their sites run on WordPress at all. That’s where White Label comes in. Customize the WordPress admin to make your life, and the life’s of your clients, easier and simpler.
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