Tips to Set up Akismet in WordPress

With your WordPress installation come two plugins which are pre-installed. One of them is Akismet. However, even though it is pre-installed, it is not activated by default. Being that it is definitely one of the must-have WordPress plugins, you really ought to take all the extra steps in order to set up Akismet in WordPress. And with this article, that process will not be the least bit hard, so make sure to keep on reading.

What is Akismet and why should you consider using it?

You can consider Akismet to be a comment spam filtering service. The name was derived from two terms: Automattic and Kismet. Now, the former is the company behind Akismet. It was founded by the WordPress co-founder. Akismet plugin catches blog comment and pingback spam using their algorithms. This algorithm learns from its mistakes, as well as from the actions taken by participating websites. So, for example, when a number of websites start reporting similar-looking content as spam, the Akismet will learn to identify that king of content as spam in the future.

Akismet plugin in WordPress on a laptop screen
Learning how to set up Akismet in WordPress will prove to be of great use to you.

Popular websites often get a pretty high percentage of spam comments. Some of them even reach 85%, meaning that only 15 out of 100 comments are legitimate. And, as comment moderation can be quite the time-consuming task, it is great to have a plugin that can help you put. Akismet will do that for you. It will catch spam comments before it lands in your moderation queue. As you can imagine, this will allow you to focus your energy on more important matters, like moderating comments by real users.

How to set up Akismet in WordPress?

You will start by going to Plugins and activating Akismet. Upon doing so, Akismet will add a new menu item at Plugins > Akismet Configuration. It is by clicking on Akismet Configuration that you will reach the Akismet Configuration screen. While on this page, you will be asked to enter your Akismet API Key. You will leave this page open and further open a new browser window. Don’t worry, as we will come back to this page after creating an API key for Akismet.

Getting API Key for Akismet

So, in order to set up Akismet on your website, you will need an API Key. To acquire it, you will need to go to the Akismet website and click on Get a WordPress Key button. This action will take you to Akismet’s plans and pricing page. This plugin is free for non-business and personal sites. For business websites, however, there are different plans and packages available. You ought to choose the option that best suits you. As the pricing is set up on the honor system, you can theoretically getaway by using a personal plan on a low traffic site. Still, regardless of the plan you choose, the remaining steps will be similar. Just make sure to click the signup button to proceed.

The previous action will bring you to the next screen, where you will have to sing up with WordPress.com. While this is the same company that brings you Akismet, it is not your WordPress.org self hosted website. Mind you, you can create a WordPress.com account without previously creating a blog. Click on Sign up with WordPress.com button to continue and wait for a pop-up window to appear with a simple sign up form.

A woman using WordPress
Regard API Key as a password, and avoid sharing it with others.

You can acquire the key even if you don’t have an account

In a case where you already have a WordPress.com account, you should click on the I already have a WordPress.com account link. Not having one indicates that you will have to fill out the details and create one. When the authentication with WordPress.com is complete, you will find yourself back to the Akismet website. You will then be asked to provide some user details along with the payment information. If you went for the free plan, just drag the price amount to 0.

After clicking the Continue button, you will be taken to the screen that shows your API key. Expect to receive an email from Akismet containing your API Key. Now remember, an API Key is like a password. You should not share it with anyone. If you lose or forget it, you can visit Akismet.com and click on the sign-in button to access your account page. After signing in, you will see that your Akismet API key is hidden. Simply click on the Reveal link to display it.

Using the Akismet API Key in WordPress

We will now go back to that page you left open containing the WordPress website’s admin area. Go to Plugins > Akismet Configuration and paste the API key there. The rest of the options on this screen are optional. After you click on the Update Options button, Akismet will verify your key.

You have now set up Akismet in WordPress

By logging in to your WordPress website, you will be able to see an overview of Akismet Stats. It will show you the number of spam comments Akismet has caught. It will also display how many of them are in your spam queue right now. We highly recommend that you take a look at your spam queue every once in a while. This will help you save any legitimate comments from deletion by mistake.

Gmal window on a laptop
Make sure to check your mail regularly.

A detailed view of Akismet stats is available under Dashboard > Akismet Stats menu item. By clicking on it, you will see the detailed statistics of span and ham comments on your website. You will also be able to see the number of spam comments that the plugin has caught since you activated it. Now, if you want to display the number of spam comments Akismet has caught on your website, you can use the Akismet Widget. Go to Appearance > Widgets, and drag and drop Akismet Widget to your sidebar.

As you can see, you don’t need much effort to set up Akismet in WordPress. Following this guide will prove to be all that you need.

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