Few things are more annoying than SPAM. On website contact forms, there is an especially unique brand of spam that often rears its ugly head. Spammers will try to fill out forms online with backlinks to their own websites in order to help them with SEO. Often times the comments are very generic and typically not written by English speakers. It can occasionally be funny to read these, but they come so frequently that it soon gets old. They will look something like this:
Hey sir great article very educating. I disagree with some of the post but you have good writing style. http://www.CheapRolexWatchChina.com
The reason spammers send messages like this is that they want the links to get posted to your blog comments section. But spam bots are lazy and just send them out willy-nilly to every contact form they can find on the web. So they end up getting sent from your website contact form into your email inbox.
I often use the Contact Form 7 plugin for WordPress which is very popular and I highly recommend it. One feature it is missing however is an effective way to block spam contact form submissions.
Along comes Honeypot Contact Form 7 to the rescue! The plugin author is Ryan from Dao by Design. This plugin adds an invisible field to your contact forms that will only be filled out by spam bots. Thus, when the field gets filled out the system detects the submission as spam and it won’t get sent to you. Humans won’t see the field and therefor will not fill it out. This security technique is known as the ‘honeypot’ method. The reason for the name is that spam bots are attracted to invisible fields like bees to honey, because spammers can’t resist filling in website forms in hopes of promoting their spammy messages.
How to use it
Note – You have to have contact form 7 plugin already installed. After you install Honeypot Contact Form 7, the plugin will add a ‘honeypot’ option to the generate tag dropdown (see screenshot):
Just copy and paste the honeypot shortcode, as instructed, anywhere into your form on the left. Save the form and you’re all set.