Plugin Reviews

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Spam Free WordPress

Todd Lahman's comment spam blocking plugin that blocks automated spam with zero false positives.

25 reviews
Average Rating
2.3 out of 5 stars
You are currently viewing the reviews that provided a rating of 1 star. Click here to see all reviews.
not helping
By ,

spam everywhere ...

Useless Plugin
By , for WP 4.1

Says stops 100% of spam. Have had 500 spam in last 3 months. Plugin is useless.

Deleted after free key was revoked
By , for WP 3.8.1

Add insult to injury. The plugin author disabled the free keys from back when it was free and so now is no longer effective. Don't waste your time installing this "free" plugin because it's not. As others say, bait & switch. He could have at least grandfathered the users that got the free key back when it was free.

it's just an advertisement for his other ***
By , for WP 3.8.1

it's just an advertisement for his other ****. don't bother.

These are family friendly forums, please. Thanks. -mod

Doesn't work after the infamous upgrade
By , for WP 3.8

I've used and loved this plugin for a long time. Sometime this last summer, an 'update' was released, with no heads up, which basically destroyed this plugin. It reduced the spam protection, and apparently added it to its paid version. This is acknowledged by the author in the support pages for this plugin.

I contacted the author about getting a ton of spam after the upgrade and he said that his paid plugin 'simple comments' has stronger protection and has more features etc, so I should buy that one.

I think we deserved a little heads up or warning on the update release notes, sth like 'the spam protection on this next update is reduced, install at your own risk etc'. Especially those of us with a low budget and and cannot afford to pay an annual fee for licences. Now I can't even revert back to the old version that had the good protection.

So I find myself looking for a decent FREE spam protection plugin again.

I can not recommend this plugin for anyone to use
By ,

*Jan looks for popcorn, gets coffee instead. Thankfully.*

These reviews and the replies sure are colorful for this plugin. Todd, you really need to refrain from implying legal threats as you've done in your other comments. You know what I am referring to and those comments were deleted.

Note: All comments and opinions below are mine and do not reflect the opinion of any other group that I may belong to. So there.

tl;dr I'm rating this plugin a 1 star. If this plugin were supported and provided functionality transparently then I may revise my review. But there is zero support for this plugin and I do not like having plugins that apparently serves to promote another commercial plugin.

Review begins below.

The Admin Pages

After I installed it I found this in the admin page.


That's a lot of way over the top advertisement don't you think? Especially when the admin part is this tiny little 2 check boxes.


Two small check boxes buried beneath all that "Sell! Sell! Sell!". I had to resize the font on my browser (that's why the font is tiny) to be able to see the whole thing.

But What Does This Plugin Actually Do?

As far as I can see, all this plugin does is generates a password for each comment such as "gpK9GOUxU1LM" or "Esxji4SW3dQ9" that the commenter must copy and paste from the field that is marked with "* Copy This Password *" and paste it into " * Type Or Paste Password Here *"

That's not really useful to me as all that does is introduce another barrier to my commenters. I find that using other plugins afford me comment protection as well as pingback and trackback protection.

Spam protection is not easy but while this is not as burdensome as a CAPTCHA (which I will never use on my sites) it does inhibit comments. To me that's not SPAM protection as much as it's "BUG YOUR USERS" protection. Yes that will stop bots (maybe, I installed it on a test blog and that doesn't get any comments) but I want to encourage real people to comment on my posts.

This doesn't really encourage that conversation. I may be looking for anti-spam magicâ„¢ but there are other plugins that do that successfully without adding anything obvious to the comment form.

GPL'ed code

Looking at the code your plugin that is hosted here is 100% GPL and I don't see any issues there. There are whole sections in the includes directory that I do not think is even engaged but I didn't do any tracing.

I sure do not see that code in the sparse admin settings page.

THE. PLUGIN. PAGE. (insert dramatic sound track HERE)

Here's the problem I have with your plugin page on the WordPress repo.

The first 22 lines of your plugin page are dedicated to selling a plugin on your commercial site.

That's 288 words for an advertisement that has nothing to do with the plugin that is hosted on WordPress repository here.

Not counting the About the Author or the language list you dedicate a whole thirty three words to your actual plugin on that plugin page on the bottom like an afterthought.

(That's 33, 3 x 11, 30+3... well you get the idea.)

Only 11% of your verbiage has anything to do with your hosted plugin here and you toss in that last verbiage like an afterthought of "Oh yeah, I should probably talk about the plugin that I don't provide any support for."

Edit: Correction, it's a total of 321 words when you combine the text verbiage. So 33 divided by 321... *looks for paper* 10% of the verbiage at the bottom. *Drinks more coffee*

That's just thick. It's oversell plain and simple. You're using the space allocated to your plugin here to promote your other plugin that's not hosted here.

Now plugin support has always been optional and you do get points for coming right out and saying "There is no support for Spam Free WordPress"

Support (or lack of) should be a critical part of the decision to use a plugin. That statement alone would make me not consider using your plugin for real.

But using the plugin page here to shill for your commercial plugin? That's Just Not Coolâ„¢ Todd. Not cool at all.

Fake Plugin
By , for WP 3.7.1

Front for a paid plugin.

bait and switch
By ,

bait and switch

So-called 'spam free'
By , for WP 3.7.1

Getting loads of spam.

How to lose customers....in one easy lesson
By , for WP 3.6

It's certainly a pity that the developer of this plugin decided to take the route of withdrawing functionality of this once excellent plugin. A better option would have been to cease development of the plugin and increase development of the premium version, without taking away functionality.

Having just started up a new website, I had done a lot a research on some of the best anti-spam solutions. I chose Spam Free WordPress as it was a free plugin that I could use in order to test the viability of the new site. If it was a viable option, then I would have happily paid for a solution. Now, after updating my plugin as part of the site maintenance, I have found that I have an ugly password field (or two) on my comments form and need to now purchase a solution in order to return the previous functionality back on. This has left me with more work to do and an unsavoury user-experience for site visitors.

The developer has certainly shot themselves in the foot, as I will definitely not be purchasing anything from somebody so unreliable and easily willing to make such drastic changes without concern for their customer base. I would worry what other actions this type of mindset would bring in the future, if they were willing to put so many people in a position where their websites lost functionality.

Thank you for making my ultimate decision for me of whether to use your product on a more permanent basis.

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