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Why does my contact form receive so much spam content

March 3, 2024

When spammers send junk messages through your WordPress contact form, they might be pursuing several benefits.

Yes, for many a website administrator or business owner, high levels of spam can be all to often a pesky IT problem to deal with. Dealing with spam is relatively simple, clean and remove the email, add to a block sender list and tidy up any form submissions if your website holds onto the data. The purpose of spam varies, including advertising, phishing attempts to solicit personal information, spreading malware, or simply causing annoyance so its important to be vigalent and protect your business and any client data. Ensure the correct security measures are in place.

So what is spam? Spam refers to unsolicited, often irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent over the internet to a large number of recipients. Originally associated primarily with email, the term ‘Spam’ has expanded to include unsolicited messages in other digital forms, such as social media posts, instant messages, and comments on websites.

Sometimes spam levels are low, one or two per day or week other times you may receive a much higher volume in a short space of time. By understanding these potential benefits to spammers, you can better implement measures to protect your site, such as using CAPTCHAs, spam filtering plugins, or improving form validation processes.

Phishing Attempts
Spammers aim to trick you or your employees into divulging sensitive information like login credentials, personal data, or financial information by mimicking legitimate requests or alerts.
Malware Distribution
Some spam messages contain links or attachments, if clicked or downloaded, can install malicious software on your device, leading to data theft, system damage, or unauthorised access.
SEO Spam
Including links in spam messages can be an attempt to improve the search engine ranking of malicious or low-quality sites. This is a black-hat SEO technique where they exploit your website’s credibility to boost their own.
Scam Promotion
Spammers often promote scams, fake products, or services to either defraud you directly or to gather leads for unscrupulous businesses.
Email Harvesting
By confirming your email address or contact form is active, spammers can target you more aggressively or sell your contact information to other malicious parties.
Resource Wastage
Even if there’s no direct benefit from a specific message, overwhelming your site with spam can deplete server resources, slow down your website, and deter legitimate visitors, indirectly harming your business or web presence.
Survey & Contest Spam
Sometimes, they aim to collect personal information through fake surveys or contests for malicious use or resale.

What preventative measures can you consider introducing?


Including a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) on your form can help differentiate between humans and automated bots. ReCAPTCHA by Google is a popular choice, offering a user-friendly way to block automated spam.

Form Validation

Implementing strict form validation rules, such as requiring specific formats for entries (like email addresses) and limiting the size of text entries, can help prevent bots from submitting forms with malicious or spammy content.


Originally developed for WordPress, Akismet is an anti-spam service which checks your contact form submissions against its global database of spam to prevent malicious content from being submitted.

Email Verification

Implementing email verification for form submissions can reduce spam by requiring users to verify their email addresses before their submissions are accepted.

Privacy-Friendly Options

For those concerned about user privacy, consider alternatives to CAPTCHA which respect user privacy, like friendly CAPTCHA or implementing a simple math question as a challenge.

Honeypot Technique

This involves adding a field to your form which is invisible to human users but visible to bots. If this field is filled out, the form is automatically rejected, as it indicates the submission was made by a bot.

Rate Limiting

Implementing rate limiting on your contact form can prevent bots from submitting a large number of forms in a short period. This technique involves limiting the number of submissions from a single IP address within a given timeframe.

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A WAF can help protect your website from various security threats, including spam and bot submissions, by filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic between a web application and the Internet.

Regular Expression (Regex) Filtering

Utilise regex to filter out submissions containing typical spam characteristics, such as certain keywords or patterns known to be used by spammers.

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