Disable Spammers/Fake Registration in Oxwall

Disable Spammers/Fake Registration in Oxwall

Oxwall is a great platform to build your community website. But unfortunately, website powered by oxwall is also a great place for spammers. It’s highly optimized SEO structure makes it an irresistible place for any spammer or backlink builder:

If your site is indexed by search engines, spammers will always come looking for you, because that’s what spammers do. Look for websites to attack. They use all manners of scripts and search keywords looking for targets to plant a link. Most times they are “link building ” services. Like the ones that promises to get you so many backlinks for a cheap price? Well how do you think they do it? They have scripts that attack other websites with bogus accounts, slogs, blog post, and forum topics.

Your displeasure: Another’s happiness

I was at seoclerks last week, looking for a freelancer who can test run my social network, when I suddenly ran into this guy who was ready to accept $11 to post your website link in over 1000 oxwall powered site
Guys like this dude justify it in their head that they aren’t hurting anyone. But to a website owner, spammers, and “link building” services are criminals.
It’s a constant battle. Spammers and “backlink builders” are the plague of the internet. 
Many website owners will see this offer as a very enticing one to build backlinks for their website and believe me, this dude is making it big!

How did I know?

When I saw this offer, I simply could not believe it, 1000 oxwall websites? Is such an outrageous number, so I had to browse through the oxwall forum to see if this is having any negative effect on the users, and yes, the effect was heavy, 70% of oxwall users are already wailing and crying about this, 18% are ready to pay developers to prevent spam registration while 11% are wailing and crying and ready to pay a developer to prevent spam registration.

Not Affected

While on the other side, there are 99% users who are wailing and crying, searching for developers and doing both, I noticed 1% of this ‘Elite Oxwall Users’ who were not affected by this spam and ‘linkbuilding’ crisis.

How did they found out?

In less than 20s after I finished installing oxwall in my 3 days old domain name, I got nothing less than 5 registered users online, in another 60s, I got 12 blog post, 11 new forum topic, 2 events and 3 groups. This is simply amazing! Could it be that my domain is hot cake? If not, how did they find out about my website?
You might be asking the same question. How did spammers found out about my website? Well the reason is plain and simple:
  • Your website is indexed by search engine
  • You have what they are searching for.

Join the Elites Group

I’m not the type who just sit back in a situation like this, so I decided to find out what’s behind the success of this 1% ‘elite oxwall user’ who are unaffected by this spam and ‘linkbuilding’ crisis. Viz… they disabled spam registration in there oxwall powered community website.

Watchdog Plugin: Not an Option

In my conversation with one of the oxwall team members, I mistakenly called the watchdog anti-spam plugin “the spam plugin”, like I said, that was only a typographic error but that’s the best way to describe this plugin. The anti-spam plugin and it’s close relation (watchdog plugin) is simply not the ideal plugin to prevent spam registration, yes, you can block a specific IP but should also note the following:

  • Spammers don’t use 1 particular IP: A spammer could be anyone who is desperate to build backlinks for himself or for a client in a very annoying way.
  • You are blocking access to your social network: When you enable anti-spam or the watchdog plugin, it means that people from my country and some other countries can no longer use your website, reasons being that the network providers in this countries uses an auto generated IP which has been banned by the watchdog database.
  • Your website is inaccessible from a VPN: People use VPN for many honest reasons, sometimes to access the internet from a working place or schoool, but the sad news is that most of this VPN are used by spammers and hackers for their ‘evil’ deeds, so the anti-spam plugin sees any visit from such VPN as spam. What happen to the honest users?

The Kick Ass Method to Disable Spam Registration in Oxwall

If you are not using the watchdog plugins due to it’s numerous issues; your website is vulnerable to spammers and you need a solution. In this section of this tutorial I will be giving you a complete guide on how to completely disable automated spam registration and how to effectively monitor your users activity.

Google is Watching

Search engines like Google as usual is alive, and send out millions of spiders crawling and indexing newly registered domain name submitted to there database, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if your website comes up in search results and someone visit your website from there.

What Spammers are Looking for

Too bad for website owners, search engines aren’t the only ones who are interested in indexing your website, spammers too have both eyes set on your new domain name with a good cms like oxwall. They find this website using softwares and keywords commonly used in that cms. e.g: every website using the oxwall script will have this sentence by default 

intext:”join our community” “register your profile ” “join our fast-growing community. find new friends, date up, share photo and video. enjoy! ” “basic”

Searching for the above sentence (include the quotes) in google will give you a long list of websites using the oxwall software.
To prevent your website from showing up when such search are being issued, remove any keyword or sentence that comes by default in every oxwall powered website. Such keywords include: “join our community” “powered by oxwall” (it is illegal to remove this, find out how to remove it legally), “Join our fast-growing community. Find new friends, date up, share photo and video. Enjoy!” etc.

Smart Captcha: A Breath of Fresh Air

The smart captcha plugin is a must use for every oxwall website. It allows you to create custom question for your human registration, making it very difficult for spam bots to bypass this verification system.
Normally, you should make this question easy for humans to answer but difficult for bots to guess: You can try using some simple maths question, combining alphabets with numerical figures.
Example
  1. Twenty plus 4
  2. 4 + Twenty
  3. 15 * three

These are simple maths questions human can answer easily. But bots will always have a hard time answering such. The smart captcha also let you use multiple answers. e.g: Example 1 above can have multiple answers such: 24, twenty four, in that manner.

Change the Default Address of Your Registration Page

Changing the default address of your registration page will help to prevent spam bots from registering, every organism (both bots and human) knows that the registration url of every oxwall site is www.website.com/join. Why not make it a little bit difficult for them to guess? You can use something like www.website.com/sign-up, that way it will be difficult for bots to guess your url.

Also consider changing your blog url

Performing another search like

inurl:/blogs/list/top-rated

will give you another long list of oxwall powered site using the blog plugin. Changing the blog url will do you a lot of good.

Where can I find it?

To change the default url of your oxwall powered website from yoursite.com/join to yoursite.com/sign-up or any other value, simply follow the step to step guide below.
  • Edit this file /ow_system_plugins/base/init.php
  • Find:

$router->addRoute(new OW_Route(‘base_join’, ‘join’, ‘BASE_CTRL_Join’, ‘index’));

  • Change the above code to

$router->addRoute(new OW_Route(‘base_join’, ‘sign-up‘, ‘BASE_CTRL_Join’, ‘index’));

When this is done, you will notice that your registration page has been changed to yoursite.com/sign-up.

Force Email Verification on Sign Up

This option comes by default on oxwall. But some people just disable it either because they don’t know it’s necessity or simply because they don’t value it. If you intend to fight spam, it is necessary to have this God-giving feature enabled!

Let the Battle Begin!

What I have listed above are the steps I took to totally eliminate spam registration in my oxwall powered social network, is a pleasure sharing this with you. Feel free to share this article with your friends and love ones.

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Ebenezer Obasi

Senior executive editor at EwtNet
A web developer, IT undergrad, terrible entrepreneur, internet freak and a man of a few other incongruous talents, Ebenezer has been writing on technology since 2012, and plans to do so until a few days before his ultimate fate: cryogenic preservation. If resurrected, he is likely to go back to writing on technology.
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