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Defeating the Spammers pt2

In this article I will look at how you can prevent your email addresses being harvested from your website. It continues on from Defeating the Spammers pt1

The ‘traditional’ method was to put up a graphic instead of an email address. This may have prevented spammers from harvesting emails, but it also reduced the ease of use of the site. With a link the legitimate surfer could just click to open an email. With an image of the email address the surfer would have to type the email address into his/her email app. (If you linked the image to a mail address you would be back in situation where the harvester could gain your email address.)

Fortunately there is a WordPress plugin that addresses this exact problem.

Defeating Spambots with Cryptx

CryptX

This will find anything on your WordPress post or page that looks like an email address and create an encrypted link. It can convert it to one of several different formats: john@cloud-genius.com can become:

  • John[at]cloud-genius[dot]com – which is human readable, but cannot be clicked on.
  • Can be replaced with a link that goes elsewhere.
  • Can be replaced with an image of the email address
  • Or, my favourite

  • Be replaced with a link that a robot cannot follow, but a human can. The text on the page is obfuscated so that a bot cannot read it.

If you need a page to not receive the Cryptx treatment, there is a tick box on the page editing screen that allows you to turn it off.

In total, it is easy to use Cryptx does it all for you. (Warning techie bit: you do not even have to put ‘mailto:’ links on your page.)

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