What to Do When Your Blog is Buried in Pending Comments

Spammy comments are a danger to any blog. If visitors find
your site choked with spam, they’re far less likely to keep
reading or make a return visit.
But even if spam comments aren’t approved, they can still
pose a problem for your site. First, they clog your Comments
page in the dashboard, making it harder for you to find the
real comments. And because WordPress stores them in its
database, they can bloat it with meaningless content, wasting
space on your web host and making it more difficult and
time-consuming to back up your site.
The solution seems obvious—just delete all the spam—but it’s
not always so easy. If your site has the misfortune to fall victim
to an automated spam-spewing tool, you can find yourself with
thousands or even hundreds of thousands of spam comments
in short order. (It’s happened to us.) So what’s a WordPress
administrator to do?
If you use a spam-catching plug-in like Akismet, spam comments
end up in the spam folder. The good news is that you can
clean out all your spam with just a few clicks. In the dashboard
menu, click Comments, and then click the Spam link at the top
of the list. Finally, click the Empty Spam button. (Even better,
get your spam catcher to automatically clean out old spam, as
explained on page 280.)
If you’re not using a spam-catching plug-in, you’ve got a bigger
problem on your hands. That’s because the spam comments
will be pending comments, and the dashboard doesn’t provide
a way to delete a huge number of pending comments at once.
Even bulk actions can act on no more than a single page of
comments at a time. At that rate, deleting thousands of spam
comments is a several-day affair.
There are two solutions. First, you can use a plug-in that
removes all pending comments, such as WP-Optimize (http://

tinyurl.com/wp-opti). Or, if you’re a tech savvy person who’s
not intimidated by the idea of diving into your WordPress
database and fiddling around, you can use a tool like php-
MyAdmin to peer into your database and remove the junk. To
get started in this endeavor, read the walkthrough at http://


What to Do When Your Blog is Buried in Pending Comments

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