Stopping WordPress Media Attachment Comment Spamming

There’s nothing worse than receiving comment spamming on your WordPress site.

Well, there is actually and that’s receiving comment spamming on your media attachments!  Grrrrr…..

Now there may be many WordPress users out there who are unaware of what this is, so let me tell you how it works and how annoying it is.

Spam, spam, spam, spam…

As you probably know, WordPress comes from a blogging background and it has allowed visitors to comment on posts since the Stone Age.

Anyone who has managed a WordPress site with a blogging area already knows the pains of moderating comments and removing the endless amount of spam that builds up there.  (Hint: that’s what Akismet is for!)

You can of course turn comments off for new posts in the Admin Dashboard:

Settings >> Discussion >> uncheck “Allow people to post comments on new articles”

This applies to new posts that you will publish from now on.  To disallow comments from already publish posts:

Posts >> select them all and “Edit” under bulk actions and hit apply >> choose “do not allow” next to comments and hit update posts.

There’s even a plugin that disables comments entirely. It’s called, yes you’ve guessed, Disable Comments.  Gotta love those plugin developers 😛

What About the Social Factor

Disabling comments across your entire WordPress site is certainly one solution to stop spam, but what if you are trying to grow a social blog?

Surely not allowing visitors to comment and engage with your posts is a death sentence in today’s social media obsessed interwebbers.

Yes it is!

There are plugins such as Akismet and Disqus which have build in spam detection.

They only cost a few US dollars a month for all the features and they will trap a lot of your comment spam.

Oh – the Horror!

There is another type of spam that seems to be getting through those two systems – attachment comment spamming.  Yes – finally we’re talking about this posts title – yay!

WordPress has a built in media gallery that includes images, videos, PDFs etc. and these are all added to posts as attachments.

You may not be aware but your visitors can leave a comment on any attachment in your media gallery.

Have a quick look at how many files you have in your media library just now.  Go on.

Each one of these has the potential for a spammer to leave their dirty little mark on.

Oh – the horror….

Why Automattic (the developers of thought that this was necessary I don’t know.  I just think it’s pretty nuts, and of course, annoying when spammers start to flood your website.

Give Up, Roll-Over & Play Dead

That’s one way to handle the situation.  The other is to fight back with geeky code and hit the spammers where it hurts – right in the bits.

Add the following code to your functions.php file:

Filters allow you to change the way WordPress does something. In this case, we are adding some code to the comments_open() WordPress function, telling it not to run if the post type is an attachment.

Of course backup your functions.php file before messing around with it, especially if you’re not a developer.

Free Plugin

If mucking around in your code is too much bother, we’ve made the code into a plugin that you can download install and activate.

Get the Stop Media Comment Spamming plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository.

Was this article helpful?

Get Your Free Security Fundamentals eBook

Enhance your website security with this free, quick and easy to implement guide.

Keep In Touch


Wil is a dad, WordPress consultant, WordPress developer, business coach and mentor. He co-organizes the WordPress Sydney meetup group and has been on the organising committee for WordCamp Sydney since 2014. He speaks at many special events and contributes to the WordPress open source project. His likes are chillies, craft beer and electrogravitics.

7 thoughts on “Stopping WordPress Media Attachment Comment Spamming”

  1. Thanks Wil,

    Spamming of media files has become more of an issue over the past 18 months. This is a quick way of stopping the issue without too much theme hassle.

    1. @Jason I feel your pain and only wish we could send a signal back over the interwebs to give the spammers a jolly good virtual slap.

Comments are closed.