- What is spam?
- How does spam reach you?
- You shouldn't suffer in silence
- What we do (and what you can try)
- Side note: watch out for Pharming and Phishing emails
Do you feel you are getting too much spam in your email box? Is it clogging up not only your junk/spam box but also your inbox? Are the emails sometimes rather inappropriate or graphic? That being said, is spam ever appropriate?
As a customer of Prystine, we can help, all you need to do is get in contact and we can install a reCAPTCHA and/or increase the level of protection offered by your spam filter (if you host your emails with us).
If you’d like to know more about what we do (and what you can do) to prevent spam, then continue reading.
What is spam? #
Spam emails are emails sent to your mailbox that you will typically have little or no interest in. They are often unsolicited (you never agreed to them) and ultimately cause annoyance and frustration.
How does spam reach you? #
There are various unscrupulous companies that send unsolicited and unwanted mail en mass. Spam arrives in your mailbox usually via two methods:
- Direct emails,
- Contact form submissions.
Companies rely heavily on bots to automate both the harvesting of your data (say from your website) to then send direct emails and, to make contact form submissions on your website.
You shouldn’t suffer in silence #
Spam is an ever increasing annoyance, but there are procedures and tools that can be put in place to prevent it, or at least severely reduce the flow.
What we do (and what you can try) #
Here’re two clear actions to take:
- Adding a reCAPTCHA to your website,
- Increasing your spam filter protection.
Adding a reCAPTCHA #
Our first port of call in preventing spam is installing a reCAPTCHA on the website.
What is a reCATPCHA? #
“reCAPTCHA is a free service from Google that helps protect websites from spam and abuse. A “CAPTCHA” is a turing test to tell human and bots apart. It is easy for humans to solve, but hard for “bots” and other malicious software to figure out.”Source: Google reCAPTCHA help document
Google provides the most popular reCAPTCHA service on the market, which you can find more info about and sign up for here. From a practical point of view, we’ll look at Google’s two forms of reCATPCHAs – version2 and version3.
Version2 (V2) #
This is the old fashioned ‘tick box’ method that normally ends up with you having to pick out traffic lights in a photo. This is effective but ultimately is not a user friendly option, enter V3…
Version3 (V3) – the preferred choice #
The V3 reCAPTCHA authenticates actions (such as form submissions) with a score and will then decide if you are a bot or a human. No tick boxes required. It’s all automated and happens “behind the scenes”.
Increasing your spam filter protection #
This is the other method of spam prevention we would recommend. It would involve directly increasing the spam filtration or protection within either your hosting control panel or mailclient.
We won’t be going into detail here as the solution differs from provider to provider.
It’s worth noting if you do increase the spam filter’s “severity”, you may well want to keep an eye on your junk/spam box to make sure it’s sorting accordingly.
Other options #
The above are two general methods for preventing spam as a whole, but there are other on-site solutions, such as installing a honeypot trap or creating your own “CAPTCHA”.
Honeypot traps #
Honeypot traps are typically form inputs that are hidden for humans but visible for bots. If the input is filled out (by the bot) the form will prevent submission. You can read more info on honeypot traps in this article by Mailpoet.
Your own CAPTCHA #
This is where you manually create your own CAPTCHA input and have the form pass some validation.
For example, you may pose the question: “What is 5 + 7?” and then have an input, to be filled out by users, only to be valid if is the value is “12”.
Last resorts #
Perhaps, in some very, very extreme cases you may want to use these next two ideas, but we really wouldn’t recommend them as they are considered bad user experience.
- Separate out your email address(es) on your website with letters and special characters. Example:
- [email protected] would become Hello[at]Prystine[dot]co[dot]uk
- You could remove your email completely and just have a telephone number.