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Kathy_P

Troubleshooting Akismet

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I have been a longtime user of Akismet and it has always worked great. However, in the last few days I had started getting a lot more spam. Today I finally checked my Akismet options and was surprised to find this message on the Akismet configuration page:

The key below was previously validated but a connection to akismet.com can not be established at this time. Please check your server configuration.
Further elucidation at the Akismet FAQ page:
Ensure that your host can make outgoing HTTP requests to akismet.com. (Many hosts block or firewall outgoing connections.)
So my question is, has TCH done something recently that would cause Akismet to be unable to validate my key? I am on Server 117 and am using WP 2.0.5 and the latest version of Akismet (2.0). I have already tried the other suggestions in the FAQ, such as typing in my API key and waiting a few minutes before trying again. Any other suggestions are appreciated.

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I would drop Akismet and go with Spam Karma. I have used it since I started blogging and no problem so far.

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I'm with Thomas on this one. Dump Akismet and install Spam Karma. It just works. No API key to register. Why do they make it so hard to protect yourself from Spam? :clapping:

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I had used Spam Karma prior to Akismet, and somehow it got really screwed up, and kept giving me error messages, and blocking commenters it shouldn't have, etc. Apparently that's all been fixed, if you guys like it so much. But neither of you answered my implicit question, which is, "Does my host block outgoing http requests?"

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Not that I am aware of but the help desk would be able to give you a definite answer on this and any other eventual server related issues that might cause Aksimet not to work.

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Joefish, I had checked the Akismet website for that kind of information but didn't know enough to check other places. However, the link you provided made it sound like the trouble was over, and my API key still won't update. Will probably install Spam Karma before the day is out.

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It's strictly coincidental that I knew about that outage. I just started subscribing to the WordPress category at the Blog Herald.

 

I hate to muddy the waters any further, but I'm really not a fan of Spam Karma. I tried it for a while and found it troublesome. For me, it was prone to mystery errors and had a very high rate of false positives.

 

I use Akismet, Bad Behavior and Trackback Validator. I also use another plugin that stictly speaking isn't a spam fighter, but is probably more effective than all the others combined. Extended Comment Options provides a handy interface for closing comments and trackbacks on old posts. About once a month I use it to close comments on posts more than 30 days old. That by itself reduces the volume of spam, at least as I see it in my spambox, by around 90%.

 

Of course, you don't really need a plugin for that. The same thing can be accomplished by typing a command into an SQL box in phpMyAdmin, but that's hardly convenient.

 

 

I'm sorry I don't help more relevant to the problem at hand. All I can say is that I don't think this is a TCH issue. I'm on server 121 and I don't have that problem. I also manage site for people on servers 120 and 14 and there's no problem with Akismet there either. You might want to either contact Akismet or keep an eye on the Akismet tag at the WordPress forums.

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Joefish,

Thank you for mentioning those plugins and the Blog Herald. I have been hearing about that place but hadn't checked it out yet. I didn't think it was a TCH issue, either, but I figured I had to ask before going back to Akismet. For anyone who might be interested, I did file a Help ticket and the answer was:

http requests are open bi-directional on the server, the issue is something else. Kindly get more feedbacks from the script vendor so that we can check it out in detail.
But I believe the "get tag suggestions" part of Ultimate Tag Warrior stopped working at the same time (earlier this week). When I click on that button underneath the Write Post box, I get this error:
Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/***/public_html/wp-content/plugins/UltimateTagWarrior/ultimate-tag-warrior-ajax.php on line 108

 

Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: unable to connect to api.search.yahoo.com:80 in /home/***/public_html/wp-content/plugins/UltimateTagWarrior/ultimate-tag-warrior-ajax.php on line 108

Permission denied (13)

The first time I got that error, I figured Yahoo timed out or something. Now I'm not so sure.

 

My next steps will be to submit the problem to Akismet and UTW and to deactivate all my other plugins and reactivate them one by one.

Edited by TCH-Thomas
Edited out user name from path.

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I hate to muddy the waters any further, but I'm really not a fan of Spam Karma. I tried it for a while and found it troublesome. For me, it was prone to mystery errors and had a very high rate of false positives.

What kind of errors? I've been using Spam Karma since the day I found it 3 years ago and never had any errors. I did have issues with two people being blocked from commenting but once I whitelisted their IP the problems went away.

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Joefish,

Thank you for mentioning those plugins and the Blog Herald. I have been hearing about that place but hadn't checked it out yet. I didn't think it was a TCH issue, either, but I figured I had to ask before going back to Akismet. For anyone who might be interested, I did file a Help ticket and the answer was:

 

http requests are open bi-directional on the server, the issue is something else. Kindly get more feedbacks from the script vendor so that we can check it out in detail.

 

 

That sounds like a rotten response. More feedback from the script vendor? So should you contact Automattic, makers of Akismet, or Automattic, lead developers of WordPress?

 

But I believe the "get tag suggestions" part of Ultimate Tag Warrior stopped working at the same time (earlier this week). When I click on that button underneath the Write Post box, I get this error:

 

Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/***/public_html/wp-content/plugins/UltimateTagWarrior/ultimate-tag-warrior-ajax.php on line 108

 

Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: unable to connect to api.search.yahoo.com:80 in /home/***/public_html/wp-content/plugins/UltimateTagWarrior/ultimate-tag-warrior-ajax.php on line 108

Permission denied (13)

 

The first time I got that error, I figured Yahoo timed out or something. Now I'm not so sure.

 

My next steps will be to submit the problem to Akismet and UTW and to deactivate all my other plugins and reactivate them one by one.

 

I've never used that feature before. I tried it out just now and it worked just fine me. Which really only tells you that you're cursed and I'm not. ;)

 

Deactivating plugins to troubleshoot is a great next step. There's definitely something squirrelly going on.

 

 

 

 

What kind of errors? I've been using Spam Karma since the day I found it 3 years ago and never had any errors. I did have issues with two people being blocked from commenting but once I whitelisted their IP the problems went away.

 

They seemed to be plugin conflicts, mostly. Usually they were some variation of "headers already sent," but the errors were in a wide variety of scripts. I was a lot more attached to the other plugins than I was to Spam Karma, so out it went.

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I've never used that feature before. I tried it out just now and it worked just fine me. Which really only tells you that you're cursed and I'm not.
Exactly. Caught in the twilight zone of no-one-here-can-figure-it-out. Well, I did submit the whole problem to Akismet, and I'll be working on the plugin end today. Sigh.

 

To be fair, TCH Tech Support went back and looked again after I told them that I was getting an error from UTW, too:

I checked it out after turning off the firewall rules on the server and still the issue remains. Please get back to us after checking it out with the vendor of the plugin as they will be able to debug this quickly.
I am not as confident as they are that the "vendor" will be able to debug it quickly, but, oh well.

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They seemed to be plugin conflicts, mostly. Usually they were some variation of "headers already sent," but the errors were in a wide variety of scripts. I was a lot more attached to the other plugins than I was to Spam Karma, so out it went.

The only issue I have with Spam Karma is the theme configuration utility that came with it well not work. But I've worked around that issue by installing a test blog in another folder w/o Spam Karma installed to use the configuration utility. Then I copy the CSS file to my current blog. It's a bit of a hassle but it works. The test blog has comments turned off so I don't need to worry about Spam there.

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