Disable Trackbacks


When it comes to spam and pingbacks/trackbacks, the vast majority by far is via trackbacks rather than pingbacks. Very, very few people use trackbacks for legitimate uses anymore (I’ve gotten less than 5 in the last 8 months) as WordPress, etc. all use pingbacks now as their primary ping method.

I had already installed Cookies For Comments which successfully stops most spam comments but I still had to deal with the tons of trackback spam. So, I wrote this plugin.

It will disable new trackbacks across your site, both legitimate and spam. However since very few people use trackbacks legitimately, this combined with Cookies For Comments should cut your spam down to next to zero.

Why should I use this plugin over one of those trackback validator plugins?

Most non-Akismet style anti-trackback spam plugins work by connecting to the URL that sent the trackback and looking for a link to your blog. The problem with this is that many spammers actually post links to your blog in their spam posts rendering those types of plugins useless. Even those that check the IP address to make sure it matches are beaten by spam blogs (aka splogs).

In the end it’s up to you what to use for anti-spam, but I personally use Cookies For Comments, this plugin, and then Akismet to catch anything that makes it through.


31 thoughts on “Disable Trackbacks

  1. I still use trackbacks and have great success with them, they are great for legitimate genuine webmasters who understand the reasons for linking to other sites, even your competition. Totally backwards from what marketers from the mid to late 90’s learned about linking to or even mentioning competition on our sales page. But there in lies the difference, all we had back then were sales pages, no content, no free information, nothing but pitch. Nowadays its quite a different story, web 2.0 demands we flip everything we know about linking upside down and do the exact opposite of what we learned starting out. To this day it is weird to me to link to competitors or people I overlap with considerably. But I do willingly and with 99% glee, because it brings 35% of my first time visitors back to my site according to my stats.

  2. hey, I thought of using this plugin, SO I felt I should thank you before using.

    Thanks!!! you people at Automattic make web world more user friendly for dummies

  3. Thanks for the help you offer, I will come back and let you know how it works.

    It is people like you who really make our world better. It is anoying having spammers
    constantly trackbacking and also forwarding it to my twitter site.

    A good idea is for everyone to also check their adsense and affiliate codes to make sure
    nothing was changed.

  4. Hello Alex,

    I have downloaded your “Comments for Cookies” in a zip file.
    How do I transfer it to my WordPress site. I’m not too savvy about using my FTP in my cpanel from my hosting company-or is there something I can do on WordPress? I’m still getting trackbacks to my site.
    The “Disable Trackback” does not seem to be working so far.

    It’s a shame, that I have to do this but I really want to control what show up on my site.
    Even with the setting changes, the spamming still go on and into my twitter account.

    Thanks for all of your creations.
    Your advice will be very much appreciated.
    Thelma Harcum

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  6. quote

    == Installation ==

    Extract all files from the ZIP file, making sure to keep the file structure intact, and then upload it to `/wp-content/plugins/`.


    “All files” is just one .php and a readme inside a folder. Do I need to upload the disable-trackbacks folder or just the disable-trackbacks.php file?

      • So earlier today I FTP’d the file into the plugins folder, then activated it, and I still got a trackback. The notice came just a few minutes ago. Does it matter that I’m running an old version of WP?

        • Are you sure you got a trackback or was it actually a pingback? This plugin only disables trackbacks not pingbacks.

          Regardless though, you really should upgrade your version of WordPress if for nothing more than making sure your site is secure from hackers. I’m not sure what version you’re running but there are some known security issues in some of the older versions.

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