How to Protect Your phpBB Forum From Spam Bots

Posted on 23rd February, 2007

While forum spamming either caused by bots or humans are not a security threat, it’s still very much a nuisance to the forum admin.

I have several phpBB forums which have running for a couple of years now and they were like magnets to spammers especially spam bots.

Deleting these spam bots manually was tiring and time wasting.

At some point, I turned off automatic registration completely and requested potential members to write to me manually if they want to join the forum. This of course presented another hurdle to users and had decreased the registration rate.

You can enable the built-in Visual Confirmation during registration but this measure can be easily defeated even by the simplest spam bots.

Then I searched for a MOD that I can install and came across Textual Confirmation by olpa.

Textual Confirmation (TC) works by asking potential member a question during the registration process. This question is selected at random from a collection of questions you’ve created beforehand in the Administration Panel so you can essential ask anything.

If the user gives the wrong answer, TC rejects the registration. You and the community spam database will be notified if this happens.

Yes TC can still be cracked but so far it works like a charm on my forums. I can leave them unmonitored for days (especially when I were preoccupied with other stuff) and come back to see not a single spam posting of Britney Spears naked pictures among others.

If you have phpBB forum and tired of spam bots, I recommend you to install TC to combat the problem.


An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

  • wink says:

    Maybe you can try to ban ip or some other methods.

  • mrtruckster says:

    Hi forum users and readers I hope you can solve a stupid problem with my computer  
    Im getting a lot of popups when Im browsing the internet, sometimes even when Im not at the computer, I leave it on for
    an hour and when I get back I have 2-3 popups that have appeared from nowhere. How can I remove this? Im really not intrested
    in finding adult friends or downloading a new screen saver 😀 

    Well thats it, stupid problem and I hope that it has a nice easy solution that you can come up with, Im getting all your replays to my email
    so I´ll keep an eye on the topic, take care. 

  • mrtruckster says:

    Hello this is Mike from houston, you got a nice forum here with some good topics and I hope you can help me with some tehnical problems 
    When I start my webbrowser, Im using internet explorer its some weird search engine. It used to be google and everytime I change
    it back to google its okay. Until I start me pc again, then the wrong search engine is back. How can I get rid off this? Its getting annoying
    and there hase to be a way right? 

    Okay I hope you can give me any ideas, Im gonna check back to the forum in couple days to see what you have suggested, Bye! 

  • HDB for rent says:

    For phpBB, there is compilation of anti spam mods here.

  • bonta says:

    hmm any one have the codes for this alphanumberic generator or links i can get them ahha

  • ememjammer says:

    So I was off work and surfing and found this place and thought I would join up. I don’t have much more to say right now except I need to start reading some of the older posts to get up to speed before I can start posting.


  • Textual Confirmation really works fine…
    You can also ban some IP’s from where you are getting maximum spam hits using .htaccess
    E-mail confirmation is also an effective way for moderation.

    • Gaman says:

      Do you notice that textual confirmation in PHPBB is really just a joke?

      Sadly, spam bots are getting cleverer and they could get past email confirmation, textual confirmation and IP banning easily. I wouldn’t post this article if they were effective in the first place.

      The method I described have solved my problem.

  • wizvax says:

    There’s one forum under TM. Thats forum is for Malaysian Super League since there are the main sponsor. There’s a thousand of bot posting every day. Here’s the forum http://bola.bluehyppo.com/

  • Kay Kastum says:

    I used to have forums set up also but decided to stop it because of these spam bots. It was my first experience and I really thought these were real people. I even replied to these bots thinking they were real. Silly me. I laughed after that of course.

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