One of the biggest annoyances you’ll come to face when you set up a website that allows user to interact with it is spam.
Many website owners are unaware of just how much spam they’ll get when they allow comments. Fortunately, comment spam can be combated with options such as Akismet or Disqus. However, as great as these tools are, they don’t target a major source of spam headaches: Trackbacks!
What’s a trackback?
Trackbacks are a form of ‘comment’ that notifies a blog owner if someone else has linked to their blog. If person A writes a post, then person B writes a post on their own blog referencing post A, person B can send person A a trackback which appears as a comment on person A’s blog and lets people know that person B has something to say.
Many people don’t even use this feature specifically because of the spam that comes from having it active.
How to disable trackbacks in WordPress
It’s super easy to disable trackbacks on your WordPress site. Here’s how:
- From the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Discussion.
- Uncheck ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs’.
- Click ‘Save Changes’.
Trackbacks are now disabled… for future posts.
Now we have to turn them off for all our current posts. Luckily we can do this rather quickly.
- Go to ‘Posts’ from the WordPress dashboard.
- At the top of the screen there is a little drop-down menu titled ‘Screen Options’. Click on that and you will have the option to set the number of posts displayed on the screen at one time (ie how many posts per page.)
- Set that to the number in brackets next to All (your total number of posts) and click apply.
- Now that all your posts are displayed, you can click the checkbox next to ‘Title’ in the table heading to select all your posts.
- There is a drop-down menu called ‘Bulk Actions’. Select ‘edit’ then hit apply. This allows you to edit certain options of your posts all at once.
- Under ‘Pings’, select ‘Do not Allow’ and click ‘Update’. That’s it!
We just updated all our previous posts to not allow pingbacks or trackbacks.
I’m still getting trackback spam… help!
Most blogs will have Page comments/trackbacks off by default, but you may not. If that’s the case unfortunately you will have to edit each page and change the settings.
In order to do this:
- Click ‘Pages’ from the WordPress dashboard.
- Select the page you’d like to edit.
- Under ‘Discussion’ you can un-check ‘Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on your page’.
- Click Update and trackbacks will be off for this page.
*Note that you may have to turn on ‘Discussion’ settings if they are not appearing for you. To do this, click ‘Screen Options’ at the top and check off ‘Discussion’ which will allow you to see the options!
If you are tech savvy, you can use a single MySQL command:
UPDATE wp_posts SET ping_status = 'closed' WHERE post_status = 'publish' AND post_type = 'page' AND ping_status = 'open'
on your database and it will update all your pages to not allow trackbacks and pingbacks. You could always get us to do it if you don’t want to!
*Note that if you have changed your table prefix then you will have to use that instead of ‘wp’!
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! What do you think of trackbacks? (Or spam in general!) Let us know below.