As the conversations around articles have moved to social media platforms, commenting systems in content management systems like WordPress have devolved into spam repositories. It's truly unfortunate, I used to love engaging with my readers on my site and responding to them.
Over the years, blackhat backlinking became prevalent as SEO consultants attempted to game the search engines. Of course, Google caught on and enhanced their algorithms quite a bit. They did such an incredible job that bad backlinks not only don't help your site, they'll get you buried in search results.
That doesn't stop blackhatters, though. One really annoying strategy they deployed over the years is comment spamming. In a content management system like WordPress, comments are open by default. These folks build engines that crawl domains, find the comment form, and post comments with links back to their site in an effort to game search engines.
It's frustrating as a site owner. WordPress has a great tool, Akismet, that helps by using a network of reported spammers and applying those reports to your comments. However, if you don't have it set up and your site is discovered by these bots, you'll find yourself with thousands of spam comments… sometimes overnight. As I was checking some old sites tonight and getting them up to date, I found just that. One of them had over 9,000 spam comments!
Trying to delete thousands of spam comments a page at a time in the WordPress Administration panel is frustrating, so – thankfully – someone built a WordPress plugin that does the trick.
How to Delete All Comments or All Pending Comments
Search and install the Delete All Comments Easily plugin. Once you activate the plugin, a menu option will be added to your Tools menu.
Tools > Delete All Comments Easily
I always recommend that you back-up your WordPress database before executing a tool like this… there's no way to get these comments back if you accidentally wipe all of them out!
Here's the options for the plugin:
- Delete all Pending Comments – a great way to keep your authentic comments while deleting the rest.
- Delete all Comments – this wipes out every comment in your system.
I'd recommend using this plugin over trying to mess with your database directly! And, as soon as you're done, I'd recommend disabling the plugin so that your clients or other administrators don't accidentally use it.