Delete Thousands of Spam Comments Quickly

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I do get plenty of spam comments on this site. Here’s a couple of my favorites so far:

spam comments

spam comments

 Spam comments are becoming less and less viable in the world of blackhat SEO, since even the most basic WordPress site has a built-in filtering system to keep them away. Spam comments work under the assumption that if thousands of comments are sent out to thousands of sites, there’s got be SOME which approve and follow the link within the comment or within the user details.

However, without the proper tools in place and without your constant monitoring, your site could end up packed with thousands of spam comments awaiting approval. And this does no good to your site speed.

One of the sister sites I’ve been working on,, I came back to after leaving it to stew for about 4 months. What greeted me was phenomenal.

spam comments

Yep, 44,000 spam comments. And that’s AFTER I spent about 1 and a half hours systematically applying the bulk action ‘Trash’ to 20 comments at a time. With a bottle of wine for company to dull the pain.

It should have occoured to me first off that there’s got to be an easier way to get rid of such a backlog of spam comments. Turns out, there is.

Filtering the right comments

First off, I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going to be deleting any legitimate comments before I wiped all of them. The chances of legit comments on a site which had been left to rot for about six months were low, but I guess I was optimistic.

So I performed a search among the comments for ‘great post’…

spam comments

Oh sweet heavens, SO MUCH SPAM!

But how do I know this is spam? They seem like genuine comments, with no links to sites within the content. Well, the truth lies within the author details.

spam comments

That author name is keyword-stuffed, and has been input as part of a comment spamming tool. That URL goes straight to a product page on a website (which I believe has since been taken down and the comment disavowed) and there is no way that Gmail account exists. Well, it might, but in this instance it isn’t legit.

At this point, I really don’t think there’s any legitimate comments in this wealth of spam. So I’m going to get rid of all of them.

Deleting thousands of spam comments

WordPress allows you to delete 20 comments at a time by applying bulk actions to all comments displayed. With such a huge amount of comments to sift though, even if I delete a couple of hundred a day I’m still going to be at it for the next two months.

You can do this by accessing phpMyAdmin by accessing your hosting cpanel.

If you want to remove all of the non-approved or pending comments, just run this query:

spam comment query

In my case, because I couldn’t access the cpanel, I installed a WP plugin (this one, actually).


Written by Sarah Chalk

Sarah Chalk

Sarah is an SEO Account Manager at 360i and has a keen interest in all things SEO. She has also written for a number of sites, including Vue cinema’s film blog and a number of tech websites.

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