Using SMF’s Built-In Feature To Combat Spam

Fight SMF Spam

There are many bots that could automate registration on your SMF powered discussion board. Believe it or not, these spam bots are everywhere. Their platforms are even more powerful these days and can penetrate registration forms like intelligent human being. They are spamming almost all types of CMS and Forum platforms.

If you recently created your website or registered your domain, it is highly unlikely that your website will get bombarded with bots right away.

This is because bots don’t know about your site yet. But once your forum gets indexed by Google or other search engines, it will soon get discovered by many bots; thousands, if not, millions of them. And next thing you know, you have thousands of spam posts on your forum.

However, if your site or domain is pretty aged, there’s a good chance that your website is already indexed by many search engines and bots will discover your site rather quickly.

Regardless of the situation, I recommend configuring your SMF registration settings

immediately. SMF has a built-in spam prevention features to help reduce spam.

The built-in spam prevention feature of SMF will combat most basic spam bots but not all.

But don’t lose hope.

There are many plugins we can use to combat these bots. For this tutorial purpose, we will stick with SMF built-in spam prevention feature.

Step 1: Login as administrator.

On the default SMF theme, the login area will be on the top left. Type your admin username on the first box, password on the second box, and click the Login button.

SMF Login Page

Step 2: Access SMF Administration Center.

Once you’ve successfully logged on, you can now configure your websites. A navigation bar for administration will show up. Take a look at the image below.

SMF Administration Center

Click the Admin link to access SMF Administration Center.

Step 3: Access Anti-Spam Configuration Page.

On Administration Center, hover your mouse on Configuration -> Security and Moderation and click Anti-Spam.

SMF Anti-Spam Configuratio Page

Step 4: Configure Anti-Spam Settings

Check “Require verification on registration page”.

One way to prevent spam bots from registering on your forum is to require verification during registration. By enabling this option, bots are forced to answer verification questions we will setup below.

Configure other options according to the screenshot below.

SMF Anti-Spam Settings

By default, there are two verification methods we can use on SMF. The first verification is the image verification. The second verification method is the verification question. We can combine these two features to make it even harder for bots to register.

SMF Registration Verification – Anti-Spam

Set “Visual verification image to display” to Simple.

The image verification option can be configured via the drop down box. I usually set this option to simple because the images from medium and above can complicated sometimes that it becomes unreadable for human. Take a look at example below.

SMF Anti-Spam Image Verification – Medium Difficulty

Set the Question Verification.

The Question Verification is my favorite. It is one of the best lines of defense in SMF powered websites. This is because the first verification method can be decoded by spam bots easily. Remember, bots are very powerful these days.

I usually require new users to answer one question before they can complete the registration. Ask something that is related to the website or something that they easily answer. To be more general, I personally prefer asking “What is the name of our planet?” simply because everyone knows this.

Click Save.

Last but not the least, click save.

With this simple tutorial, I hope that using SMF’s built-in feature will stop or reduce spam bots.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t forget to leave a comment below.

Image Credit:

Stop This Right Now by Saad Faruque. Shared under CC BY-ND license.

Edited by KoolShiz Staff.

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