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Does Your Site Need Both Akismet And SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam? Let’s See!

Does your website need both Akismet and SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam? Let's see!

**Important Update**

Since this post was originally posted, the SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin has been removed from the WordPress repository of plugins.

Things to think about to determine if your website needs both the Akismet WordPress Plugin and the SI Captcha Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin.

I no longer use the Akismet WordPress Plugin or the SI Captcha Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin or indeed any other WordPress Plugin Spam Blocker. I explain why in this article.

If the performance of your website is not important to you, then yes, you do need both. Each WordPress Plugin you add to your site, can potentially result in the performance of your website slowing down. This for all sort of reasons, including poorly written code. This means that your website has to do more work which takes some more time to process. This slows down the process of displaying content on your website. This of course is not what you want.

My understanding

  1. The Akismet WordPress Plugin has a potential overhead in performance.
  2. The SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin has a potential overhead in performance.
  3. All WordPress Plugins have a potential overhead in performance.

This potential overhead in performance means that it takes longer for your website to process a request from a reader and to get back to your reader. The request could be to display a web page. The web page needs to display content to the reader as quickly as possible, especially the bit ‘above the fold’, so that the reader can start reading the content. The bit ‘below the fold’ can be loading when the reader is already reading the content ‘above the fold’.

So if you are okay with your website taking longer than necessary to display content, and your readers are also okay with it, than yes, you do need both Akismet and SI CAPCHA Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins active.

However if you like me want your website to display as quickly as possible, you want to make any possible improvements, bearing in mind that you may need the underlying functionally of WordPress Plugins.

What this article discusses is not having both the Akismet and SI CAPCHA Anti-Spam WordPress Plugins active. One ‘has to go’ if possible.

Site taking more than 4 seconds to display?

If so, you have a problem. The word out there, is that your website needs to be displaying content to your readers as quickly as possible, with different people saying that it should take no more than 2 or 3 or 4 seconds. Any more time, and the reader may have moved on and may never visit your website. This is not good for you.

So I decided to review the WordPress Plugins I have enabled and see if there is any room for improvement.

I am keen to keep the number of WordPress Plugins activated to four or less, and I have already reached the four limit. This is a self imposed limit based on what I was reading. It is also the limit that my webhost recommends. I am of course not limited to four WordPress Plugins.

Some WordPress plugins can be enabled, do what needs to be done, and then disabled if you are performing WordPress related tasks where this approach makes sense.

I have both the Akismet WordPress Plugin and the SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam Word Plugin installed and activated.

The real question is do I need both activated?

Both of them do almost the same job, in reducing the amount of spam that reaches my comments area within the WordPress Dashboard and also my email inbox. With both active, some spam comments may still reach my comments area within the WordPress Dashboard and also my email inbox.

I reviewed both the Akismet plugin and the SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam plugin.

I decided that I would see what happens if I disabled the Akisment plugin for the moment. The SI CAPCHA Anti-Spam plugin affects the comments areas within my website, so I decided for now to leave that alone.

SiteHealth Checks

I use a SiteHealth tool to check various different business performance headings for me, provides scores and provides feedback on how the website could be improved. Of course, this is not an exact science, however having this information helps me to determine what to spend my time on.

The results that this tool provides are color-coded (red, orange, blue and green). This lets you know straight away if this tool thinks you are on the right track or not.

Beside this SiteHealth progress/status bar there is a View button. This view button shows a number of things that help to determine the Site Health of the website.

One of these sections is called Plugins. Within that section, when I had 5 WordPress plugins active, this was at 90%. A good score, however 100% would be even better, provided of course that I did not really need the functionally provided by the fifth WordPress plugin.

When I disabled the Akismet Plugin for the moment, this went up to 100%, this is good. The Site Health progress/status bar also moved a tiny bit to the right. Also good.

With both enabled, Akismet did detect a number of spam comments with the Si Captcha Anti-Spam plugin in place. With both in place and both enabled, some spam comments are still going to reach you.

I think it really depends on how many spam comments reach your comments section within your WP Dashboard and your email inbox. Then on how you process them.

Impact Akismet has on load speed time

A comment from one of my readers wondered what impact Akismet has on load speed time, so I did some testing. This is what I did.

I used a tool that Google have at:
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

I performed some testing with the WordPress Akismet Plugin enabled and with it disabled.

In my case, there was no difference in results. I assume that this is because Akismet is a WordPress plugin designed to help reduce the amount of comment related spam from reaching your inbox in the first place.

Other WordPress plugins are used when rendering content back to the user.

The other results it showed where interesting none the less. One of their recommendations is to avoid the use of plugins altogether, although I don’t think that they are specifically referring to WordPress plugins here.

I still think that the number of WordPress Plugins that are active on a website should be as low as it can be. A WordPress Plugin should only be enabled if it clear advantages.

Every time that WordPress is upgraded there is a possibility that a WordPress Plugin may not ‘play well’ with the upgraded version of WordPress.

Even if you do a lot of testing you may not discover any errors that users may discover. In my opinion, most users are not going to let you know about those errors as they have other things to be with their time. They simply jump off your site and go elsewhere.

What I do now

This post was originally written in April 2015. Since then my webhost has implemented additional functionally which means that the functionally provided by one or both of these WordPress Plugins is handled by my webhost. I simply do not need these WordPress Plugins as their functionally and more is provided by my webhost at the server level.

This additional functionally includes several layers of security that shields websites and helps keep them secure.

secure wordpress hosting solution: spamblocker

This website security includes hacking, malware and bot-net attack protection.

Whatever overall solution your secure WordPress hosting solution has, it had better include several different layers of security. Having several layers of security makes a lot of sense. The website security package needs to at least cover hacking, malware and bot-net attack protection. If the website security package includes protections at the server level, it may mean that there is no requirement to install a number of WordPress plugins relating to associated security aspects.

For me now there is no need to install and activate the Akismet WordPress Plugin or the SI Captcha Anti-Spam WordPress Plugin or any other WordPress Plugin Spam Blockers as my webhost already provides similar functionally at the server level.

The webhost where this website is hosted is the same webhost that I recommend in my 17 Requirements Secure WordPress Hosting Providers Should Have article. I have come across no other webhost that has all of these requirements. I have been using this webhost since January 2015.

Hi, I'm David. I write articles such as this one. Enjoy!
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11 thoughts on “Does Your Site Need Both Akismet And SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam? Let’s See!”

  1. I didn’t realize I could disable some plugins after they were set-up and still have the benefits. That is a great help to know because I have a number of plugins on my website. Thanks for the good info!

    Reply
    • Hi Gina,

      When you disable a Word Press plugin, that Word Press plugin is inactive.

      When it is inactive, you don’t have its benefits when it is inactive, so just be careful when you make a Word Press plugin inactive.

      Also bear in mind, that after a Word Press update, some Word Press plugins may not be fully ‘ready’ for the Word Press update. It can take a while for those ‘unready’ Word Press plugins to become fully ‘ready’, and some fall by the roadside.

      Thanks for dropping by and for your feedback.

      Kind Regards,
      David

      Reply
  2. I’m no expert on this stuff, but I thought these two plugins had totally different purposes and I didn’t think Captcha would work for spam. It would be great if it does because you are right that website load speed is hugely important especially since mobile is getting bigger every day. It would be good to know the impact Akismet has on load speed time.

    Reply
    • Hi Eoin,

      Thanks for your comments and for dropping by.

      The way I see it and I may need some re-education, is that if a reader has to complete the Captcha before sending the comment, it is going to stop an amount of spam comments, not all spam comments, just the ones generated by automated bots.

      I plan on doing some performance related testing regarding the impact that Akismet has on speed load time in the near future.

      Kind Regards,
      David

      Reply
      • Hi again Eoin,

        I wanted to follow up on the impact that the Akismet WordPress Plugin has on load speed time point that we were discussing earlier. I did some testing and added an additional section about that testing along with my results to my post above.

        Interesting or what,
        David

        Reply
  3. Really good website. I love the layout how have you managed to get the dropdown menu at the top?

    Reply
    • Hi Cam,

      The WordPress theme I am using defaults to putting the main menu there. When pages (not posts) are added, they automatically are added here. However this can be overridden in the WordPress dashboard. Go to appearance, then menu. Change the ‘from box’ to include all. Then create a new menu and then add options to it. Then at the bottom, tick on the main header menu. And update.

      Then visit the website to ensure it is what you want.

      Kind Regards,
      David

      Reply
  4. Thank you for this informative post.

    I have been wondering if I should have the captcha anti-spam plugin on my website. I don’t have it yet, and in almost two months I have had 33 comments on spam folder and only one got through to comments.

    Luckily my settings are set so that no comment can be published without my approval.

    So what do you think, could I notice some benefit by having captcha anti-spam plugin on my site or is it better in my case leave it as it is and have faster site displaying?

    Cheers!
    Maria

    Reply
    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      If you don’t have SI Captcha Anti-Spam plugin on your website, you have something like it. If someone enters a comment they have to fill in the random few characters before the comment is sent on its merry way to you. This stops automated bots from sending you automated comments, however it does not stop someone from sending you a comment that no way relates to the content on your website. The Akisment plugin (if active) can help in identifying these as potentially spam.

      It looks to me that you already have this covered. No change in my opinion is required. 🙂

      Kind Regards,
      David

      Reply
      • Hi again David!

        You are right, I actually do have captcha anti-spam plugin on my website… Silly me :0 It was already installed so I haven’t paid attention to it.

        Anyway thank you for the explanation about the differences between captcha and Akismet. Now I see why I need both of them.

        Keep up the great work!
        Maria

        Reply
        • Hi again Maria,

          Thanks for the additional feedback. Ideally if a website owner is not too concerned about overall website performance, measured in this instance by how quickly it displays content back to the website user, the website owner would use both.

          I have of course assumed that the content is top notch, as it is very important that the content makes sense to the reader. If a reader is already familiar with the content that you generate and they know that it is going to add value to them in some way, they will wait in a lot of cases. However if someone clicked on a link to your post from a search engine and do not already ‘know you’, they are less likely to wait (in my opinion).

          Each additional WordPress plug-in that is active on a website has the potential to ‘slow it down a bit’, so I like to run my websites with the minimum number of WordPress plug-ins active. That is my take.

          Like a lot of things in life, everyone has different points of view on this.

          Kind Regards,
          David

          Reply

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