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Update: Kill Spam on MyBB
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Kit the Human
  • Confession: I have never had a problem with spam on my icyboards or self hosted mybb forums. Here is my guide to combatting spam, updated from VirusZero's guide.

    Software: MyBB

Let's get straight to it:


  • Go to your ACP
  • Go to Configuration


General Configuration

  • CAPTCHA Images for Registration & Posting - Set to reCAPTCHA Invisible
    • We need to set up a recaptcha for you.
    • Go to google's recaptcha site
    • You will need a google account. Register one or log in and click on My reCAPTCHA
    • Under register new site
      • Type in a label. For example, your site name.
      • Click on invisible reCAPTCHA
      • Under Domains, enter your site domain (ie rpginitiative.com) do not include the www or the http://
      • Accept the reCAPTCHA Terms of Service
      • Up to your whether or not you want alerts.
      • Click Register
      • You will be redirected to your reCaptcha's details.
    • Back in site settings:
      • reCAPTCHA Public Key - Copy and paste the site key from the reCAPTCHA site. It's a series of letters and numbers.
      • reCAPTCHA Private Key - Copy and paste the Secret key from the reCAPTCHA site. It's a series of letters and numbers.
    • Save Settings


Login and Registration Options

  • Registration Method - You can set this to instant verification without issue.
  • Require a complex password - Up to you, not a bad thing to force your users to a good password!
  • Display a Hidden CAPTCHA - Set to Yes
  • Hidden CAPTCHA field - Leave as is.
  • Show Security Question - Set to Yes
  • Save settings


Stop Forum Spam

About Stop Forum Spam


Stop Forum Spam is a free service that records reports of spam on forums, blogs and wikis to name a few. All these records are then made available to you search and view but most importantly, to access in an automated way to block suspected spammers before they can get in the front door. Everyone is familiar with more traditional "solve the word" systems to prevent abuse, Stop Forum Spam is a targeted and specialsed solution to help stop abuse of your website.


  • Check Registrations Against StopForumSpam.com? - Set to Yes
  • Check Guest Contact Submissions Against StopForumSpam? - Set to Yes
  • Check Guest Replies Against StopForumSpam? - Set to Yes
  • Check Guest Threads Against StopForumSpam? - Set to Yes
  • Minimum stop forum spam weighting? - Leave at 50. If you're having problems, decrease this number.
  • Check usernames? - Set to Yes
  • Check email addresses? - Set to Yes
  • Check IP addresses? - Set to Yes
  • Block on StopForumSpam error? - Set to Yes
  • Log StopForumSpam blocks? - Set to Yes (to send information back to Stop Forum Spam!)
  • Save Settings


Security Questions

Change this to something relevant to your forum.



Now when someone makes a new account, they do not need to pass a human test, or even tick a box. They will only be asked to tick a box if the system deems them to be particularly suspicious.


Guests will also not need to tick a box, or complete an are you human test, to make a post. They will only be asked to tick a box if the system deems them to be particularly suspicious.


GDPR things

In order to be GDPR compliant, a box will pop up on the bottom right hand side of the screen whenever there is a invisible reCAPTCHA. So that's taken care of for you!


For most users, this will be all you need. If you find that you're still having problems though, please read on.


IP Ban

VirusZero wrote some advice on IP bans here.


Other options

These last options are annoying for advertisers. You should only employ them if you're at your wit's end.

  • Moderate guest posts
    • Ensure that your forum rules advise guests that threads are moderated.
    • Forums & Posts > Options for the forum you want to moderate and Permissions > Edit Guests permissions > Moderation > Moderate New Posts and Moderate New Threads
    • Save Forum Permissions
  • Guest account
    • Ensure that your make it clear that you require user's to log in to advertise.
    • Users & Groups > Add New User Group
      • Title - Whatever suits
      • Short description - Whatever helps you jog your memory
      • Username Style - Whatever you like
      • Save User Group
      • Users and Permissions
        • Untick Can Access User CP
        • Untick Can upload avatars?
        • Untick Can change website?
        • Untick all Private Messaging permissions
      • Miscellaneous
        • Untick everything
      • Save User Group
    • Users > Create New User
      • Username - Set to something easy to type out and is sensible. Remember, you want to make life easy for advertisers.
      • Password - Set to something easy to type out and is sensible. Remember, you want to make life easy for advertisers.
      • Email Address - Put in a dummy email address.
      • Primary User Group - Set to the group that you just made.
      • Save User
    • Don't forget to disable guest posting and display the instructions! Make it easy to find and follow.
  • Password Protect Guest Forums
    • Go to Forum Management
    • Click on options for the relevant forum  and Edit Forum
    • Under Forum Rules
      • Display Method: Display rules in the thread listing and for new threads/replies
      • Title: Whatever you like
      • Rules: Include the password here. Don't bury it with a bunch of information!
      • Add a Forum Password under Additional Forum Options
      • Click Save Forum
  • Close your ad forums
    • Link backs and first links are an inefficient way of gaining members. It can happen! I've gained a couple of members through first links, but if the effort to maintain an ad forum outweighs the number of members you get through it...it's time to close it.

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