Two months ago I posted about the CPU load effect of Comment and Trackback spam. In short, even when most of the spam gets correctly marked as junk, it can still have a major impact on the CPU load and memory usage of the server. This can make everything else run slower, and some web hosts may threaten to disable your account for hogging CPU resources.
Spam Firewall is a plugin for Movable Type that can help reduce this load. The goal of Spam Firewall is to block 80% of spam attempts before they reach MT's comment and trackback scripts. As the name suggests, it acts like a firewall protecting your MT scripts.
How Spam Firewall Works
Spam Firewall creates a PHP script that acts as a firewall. Once installed, when comments or trackbacks are posted, they get posted to the PHP firewall script. The firewall script will then scan the the request against a "Top 40" list of common spam patterns. If the request matches, things stop right there. If the request passes the test, it gets forwarded to MT for processing in the normal manner. Most spam is blocked quickly, without consuming large amounts of CPU and memory.
The Top 40 List
The key to Spam Firewall is a "Top 40" list of common spam patterns. The 40 spam patterns (rules) released today represent 80% of the spam that I have received in the past 8 days. Of a total of 14,405 spam attempts, this Top 40 list matches 11,541 of them (80.1%). The list is based on real spam attempts from the past week. I plan on updating the Top 40 list regularly.
- MT 3.2+
- PHP (Note: you do not need to enable MT's dynamic publishing to use Spam Firewall, but your server must support PHP scripts -- most do)
- Download the zip file and extract its contents.
- Within the main 'Spam Firewall' directory, there are two folders, one names 'plugins' and one named 'php'. Upload both of these folders (including sub folders and files) into the same directory as Movable Type (often /cgi-bin/mt).
- Go to 'Settings' on the blog you want to setup, then choose 'Plugins', then choose the 'Settings' link under "Spam Firewall". Then click the "Click here to install the Spam Firewall Template for this blog" link. This will install the Spam Firewall index template and rebuild it. Advanced users can change the Output File name if desired, but you should not change the Name of the template.
- (Optional, but highly recommended) Rename your comment and trackback scripts [More Info]. Because Spam Firewall hides the name of these MT scripts, now is a very good time to rename them.
- To setup Spam Firewall for comments, you need to change the comments submission form to point to the firewall script. Go to your Individual Archive Template and look for the following:
and replace it with:
- To setup Spam Firewall for trackbacks, look for the <$MTEntryTrackbackData$> and replace it with <$MTFirewallTrackbackData$>. Also, look for the <$MTEntryTrackbackLink$> and replace it with <$MTFirewallTrackbackLink$>.
- Rebuild all individual archives.
Download Spam Firewall
Non-commercial use - FREE ( In exchange for the free use of this plugin, I ask that you install the MT Plugin Network plugin. Plugin Network will help keep you up to date on the latest version (and rules) of Spam Firewall and other useful plugins. [more info])
Also, donations are appreciated:
Commercial use - $97.00
As always, suggestions and feedback are appreciated. Please reply to this entry.