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Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Printable Version

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Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Yaldaram - 2012-01-07

People think that they could overcome forums spam by using plugins, however MyBB 1.6.5 built-in features already provides some great tools to overcome MyBB forum's spam issues. So in this post I'm going to collect all of these here. These are available in Admin Control Panel > Configurations.

GENERAL:
1. Removing Powered By MyBB Message:
The link "Powered By MyBB" in the footer was reported one of the causes of being picked up by the Spammers while searching on the Search Engines. Although if you remove it then you'll not get support from the official MyBB community forums, but you are allowed to replace the link with a transparent PNG. The official statement is THIS.
(2011-12-30, 08:33 PM)Dylan M. Wrote: If you're concerned about it being picked up by search engines and spammers using that to target you, then I suggest you make a transparent PNG with that text, and use the image in place of the actual text. That is one of the most basic security/anti-spam tactics out there.

GENERAL CONFIGURATION:
2. Always Show Captchas for "Registration & Posting":
Its always a good practice to show captcha for registrations and while on posting. This'll reduce the chance of spammers to penetrate the loose boundaries around your forums. You can do so with this;
Admin Control Panel > Configurations > General Configurations > CAPTCHA Images for Registration & Posting > On.

USER REGISTRATION AND PROFILE OPTIONS:
3. Enable "Email Verification":
Disable users to post once after their registration by enabling "Email Verification". You can do this by:
Go to: ACP > Configurations > User Registration and Profile Options > and Select "Enable email verification" from the "Registration Method" drop down list.

If you're more concern about spam registrations then you can select either "Administrator Activation" or "Send Random Password" while registrations.

"Send Random Password" option is included in MyBB 1.6.x so you've to upgrade your forum before able to use this option.

4. Set higher number in "Minimum Username Length" option:
Most spammers used to use few words as their username in order to post spam posts in a short time. Therefore they tend to use few words like "asd" , "sdf" or "hey" as their username to get their registration completed. You should have to enforce the new registrants to use more words for their username by the ACP settings;
Admin Control Panel > Configurations > User Registration and Profile Options > Minimum Username Length > and enter higher number in the options field.

NOTE: Do not use a number more then 9. New registrants get annoyed if they enforced to use more letters in their username.

5. Set higher number in "Minimum Password Length" option:
Similar to "Minimum Username Length" you can use a high number in this option field.

6. Set "Require a complex password?" to Yes:
Complex Password is another good option to reduce forum spam.

7. No Multiple Registrations on Single Email:
Do not allow single email to be use for multiple registrations. To disable this;
Admin Control Panel > Configurations > User registrations and Profile Options > Allow emails to be registered multiple times? > No

8. Use One Registration Per IP:
Do not allow multiple registrations on single IP. I'll recommend to use only 2 registrations per IP.

Admin Control Panel > Configurations > User registrations and Profile Options > Maximum Registrations Per IP Address > and enter 2 (or any number you would like to permit registrations per IP)

POSTING:
9. Use Higher Number in "Minimum Message Length":
Since most spammers post posts/threads with few words (just for advertising their links in especially signatures) then few words in this option is a major hole for them to penetrate.

Go to: Admin CP > Configurations > Postings > Minimum Message Length > and enter a bigger value like 15 or 20.

But do not use more then 15 since it would be annoying for your legit users.

10. Maximum Posts Per Day:
This another good option to restrict spam posts. But if you've a large forum or you do not want to lose your non-spam users then enter here 0. You've to see yourself what you want to do with this option.

11. Post Flood Checking:
This option is very good to restrict the chance of more then hundred spam posts in no time. Always set it to ON.

After you set it to ON you'll see another option;
12. Post Flood Time:
Use 20 to 30 seconds time interval for consecutive posts. But do not use more then 60 seconds since your users do not want to wait too long for their posting.

13. Post Merge Time:
Since most spammers post posts one after the other, so this option will merge the consecutive posts (within same thread) posting from the same author. So its a good option to restrict spam posts.

When you enter any number of seconds, you'll see 3 more settings.
Merge Forums to Ignore , Merge User Groups to Ignore and Merge Separator
Edit each settings according to your needs.

USER PRUNING:

14. User Pruning: is a good tool to remove / delete spam accounts and their posts/threads. Since traces of spam (either posts or threads or signatures) can attract other spammers to penetrate into the forums. So pruning them is the best choice to avoid spam accounts or spam posts.

Do the following settings in User Pruning options.

Enable user pruning? = On
Prune user by post count? = On (Recommended)
Post count to prune by = 0 (zero)
Days registered before pruning by post count = 90 (in days)
Prune unactivated users? = On (Recommended)
Days registered before pruning unactivated users = 90 (in days)
Prune User Posts/Threads = Yes

USERS AND GROUPS:
15. Disable Guest and Awaiting Activation User's Postings:
Allowing guest or awaiting activation users to post is a main reason of getting a lot of spam on forums. Disable them to post.

If you want to include any other feature (must have default option or setting of MyBB) that should be here then please do not hesitate to post in this thread.

Enjoy using MyBB! Smile


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Nathan Malcolm - 2012-01-07

You can also reword the "Powered By" message (Providing the link back to mybb.com is kept in tact).

E.g. Community Software By MyBB.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Yaldaram - 2012-01-07

Thanks Malcolm.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Josh H. - 2012-01-07

I think I am going to do the png thing. I guess it is back to work on my Mac.

There are several settings that I never realized could be used in antispam.

Oh well - I will keep RegSecureQ on just in case.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Solidus - 2012-01-07

Good settings, but default MyBB settings can't protect against homepage links or links in posts.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Yamaha - 2012-01-07

Good settings also thank you Malcolm for the suggestion.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Yaldaram - 2012-01-08

(2012-01-07, 07:32 PM)Solidus Wrote: Good settings, but default MyBB settings can't protect against homepage links or links in posts.

You're correct, but the fact is the Enable "Email Verification" or "Administrator Activation" or "Send Random Password" restricts spammers to join the community. So no-spam registrations, there is no chance to have spam website links or post links Wink


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Solidus - 2012-01-08

None of those help me at all. I can't leave my forums and not come back to a load of spam with those settings, I need Spamalyser and Automatic website removal.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - Yaldaram - 2012-01-08

The point of the tutorial is to show the default settings which can minimize the spam (not eliminating all). Though you've to use few other plugins as well but MyBB 1.6.x already provides some good tools used to combat spam issues to the some extent.


RE: Lets Combat With Spam - With Default Settings - ijlal - 2012-01-10

My board was getting thousands of new registrations even though I was using such built in tools as advised above. In addition I was also using Admin Activation, which had saved the board from spam posts but was getting continuous barrage of emails. I deleted the whole directory from the server and installed a clean copy of MyBB 1.6.5, and the moment it became online, new registrations began as if an automated process had been set up!

To add up to my miseries, I am unable to restore my backup from sometime ago! Sad