stop bots from submitting forms

How To Stop Bot Signups On Your WordPress Membership Site

In this installment from the HelpDesk, one of our team answers a frequently asked question about reducing fake, bot or spam signups on your site.

The scourge of fake signups, bot attacks and the like can wreak havoc on your ability to service your real members and waste precious time.

This article will suggest some steps to protect your site from spam signups as well as a process to get rid of fake members if you do get spammed.

Overwhelmed By Bot Members asked:

“Since January my website has been getting overwhelmed by bot accounts. They don't seem to do anything other than create fake profiles. I can only delete them one at a time and there's too many of them. Is there any way to stop these fake signups? And is there an easier way to purge these accounts?”

Joshua from MemberMouse replied:

“I am sorry you have encountered spam. I have a few recommendations to help fight those pesky problems, and they are simple to set up.

First, in your WordPress admin, please navigate to Settings > General and you will see “Membership” with a checkbox and “Anyone can register”. You want to uncheck that, as it is not associated with MemberMouse, and doing so will prevent many odd signups. It may already be unchecked, but I just want to be thorough.

Membership Settings WordPress

Second, please navigate to MemberMouse > Checkout Settings, then click the Other Settings tab.

Near the top, you will see options for Default Membership Level or Product. Here, you want to set your default Membership or Product. You want to choose one that has cost and is not free, as this will prevent bogus signups like the ones you have shown me.

Default Membership

Third, also in Checkout Settings, but under the reCaptcha tab, I would recommend setting up reCaptcha V3. It's an easy-to-set-up service and it's free. This will thwart most spam as well, and with all the options above that I mentioned set, it should help control spam signups pretty well.

reCAPTCHA v3 helps you detect bot traffic on your website and reduce spam signups without having to offer tests, like those that ask you to choose all the pictures with bicycles in them, to every user. Instead of displaying a CAPTCHA challenge, reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score transparently, behind-the-scenes that indicates if the customer has passed the test or not. And based on this score, which you have complete control over, automatically decides to allow or refuse the transaction. MemberMouse also provides space to allow you to customize the message that is shown to those who fail the CAPTCHA challenge. Here are more details on how to set up reCaptcha.

reCAPTCHA v3 for membership sites

In response to your second question, it's now easier than ever to remove these bot signups. One of the new features we just added to MemberMouse v2.4.1 is the ability to bulk delete members. This is perfect for when you have an abundance of test members, spam signups, or non-paying members that you want to remove.

Here's how to do this:

1. In the MemberMouse menu, go to Manage Members.

2. Locate the members in the manage member grid that you would like to delete.

3. Select the checkboxes to the left of the member names that you want to delete.

4. Use the Bulk Actions dropdown at the top right of the grid to select Delete, then click the Apply button to delete those users.

Important Note: The bulk delete action is irreversible. Once you delete a member, you're wiping the system of all of their information. That means their information can never be restored. Additionally, when you delete a member from MemberMouse, any content in WordPress associated with their account, including transaction data will also be deleted, unless you have your WordPress install configured not to function this way.

We strongly recommend only using this option in cases where it is essential to remove many invalid users at one time – which is the case for all your bot signups.

For more details about how this works, you can check out this in-depth article from our support center.

The above actions are relatively quick and easy to accomplish, and will greatly reduce your risk with regard to bot signups. Please, if you have additional questions about the implementation of this, followup with me. I'm happy to assist!”

Cynthia Bennett

Cynthia is the Head of Customer Experience for MemberMouse.

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