Have you suddenly noticed a stream of new user registration emails coming from your WordPress site?
You might have been flattered or excited that your SEO was paying off. Before you break out the high fives, let’s check a few things…
How can you tell if your new users are real?
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a straight forward answer to this.
You might like to scroll through 50+ pages of users, export their info into your mail client and email them asking them if they are real. (Not knocking you for trying it!)
If not, let’s apply some basic logic:
Do you have a visible email capture field on your site?
Yes? – I would assume that real people will use a clearly labeled, easily accessible form. Bots on the other hand, are programmed to find and complete wordpress user registrations.
No? – If you don’t have a visible registration field for a valid email client, now is the time to get one. (Try MailPoet for free)
Have your WordPress users used the name fields?
Yes? – It’s odd for a bot to add anything but username and email. You might want to do further checks on these users…
No? – Does the username match the email? Most bogus users have obviously mismatched usernames and emails.
Are the emails from different languages?
You might notice emails from domains ending .ru (Russia), .fr (France), .cn (China), .br (Brazil) etc. Unless you are supplying an international product, targeting specific languages or countries, these registrations are likely to be fake.
This is a really basic test, if you’re in doubt, go ahead and scroll…
How to deal with Spam Registrations
There are a couple of options…
Turn WordPress user registration off##
This is a good idea if you’re not yet ready to manage users and comments. This at least stops the emails until you are ready to manage them properly…
If you’re serious about building your list, you should be using a dedicated email service.
You might also want to use a plugin that allows users to login with a social account to comment.
Install a plugin to make registration easier for humans and harder for bots.
Captcha fields can work well here. Although you should note that some humans have short attention spans and have had bad experiences with captcha fields.
How to delete WordPress Users in bulk
Of course, you may want to keep your 1,000+ new users for bragging rights. You may also just be totally sick of them and just want your site cleaned and running faster. (Bots add fake users in bulk as a way of slowing down WordPress installations and crippling the web with necessary traffic.)
Adjust Screen Options at the top of the page.
By default you can only view 20 users per page.
Fix this by increasing the number of users shown. Watch out for errors when setting this too high. You may want to try 200 at a time.
Use a plugin to delete bulk posts, pages, users etc.
If you’re really sick of the whole thing and just want the problem resolved without clicking through multiple pages of users, try a plugin designed for the purpose.