Managing Comment Spam with Akismet

Managing Comment Spam with Akismet

SPAM! Everyone hates it in their email. If you’re new to WordPress and blogging platforms, spam exists in the form of comment spam – people (or vermin) leave comments promoting their services or schemes, on a post or page.

So how do you deal with comment spam when it can come in even more often than email spam? Do you have to delete every comment that comes in? Well, the answer to the second question is “no”, and the answer to the first question is, with a plugin called Akismet.

  1. To get started we need to install a plugin. To do this, we’ll start at the Dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins.Screen shot of Akismet on plugins menu
  3. At or near the top of the list of plugins that are automatically installed in a new WordPress installation, is Akismet. It is not activated, so part of the process of getting Akismet is Activating the plugin. Before you activate it, however, you need to get something that will be somewhat strange for most people. It’s called an API key. API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it’s a way for programs and services to “talk” to each other. The Akismet plugin requires you to get an Akismet API Key, which is simply a “code” that you supply when activating the plugin. The key is free if you use it on a personal WordPress installation, and it’s available on the Akismet website.screen shot after activating Akismet
  4. Once you arrive on the Akismet for WordPress site, click the Get an Akismet API key button.Screen shot of Akismet web site where you get key
  5. If you have an account at you can sign in with that login and get your key. Otherwise, fill in an email address, a username, and a password to use for a new account. Click the Sign up button to proceed.
    create a account, if you don't already have one
  6. Type in the URL of the site you’ll use Akismet on and click on the Sign Up button under the Personal plan (that is if you want it to be the free version).Select desired Akismet plan
  7. When you get to the next page, the recommended contribution is $36. You can adjust the slider down to $0. The smiley face will begin to frown, but at least your key will be free.
    Also fill in your name and click Continue.
  8. You’re finished with the sign up process for your key, and it will be displayed on the page for you (we’ve blurred ours out).Akismet key
  9. Now follow the steps that they show you for using your new key. You will enter the key in either the Akismet area under Plugins or JetPack (if you have that installed).Akismet key


Even though this documentation is openly licensed, we wanted to give thanks to the multiple Universitys and universities that created and contributed to the documentation for Reclaim Hosting’s “Domain of One’s Own” platform and the applications contained therein: The University of Mary Washington, University of Oklahoma, Emory University, Middlebury University and Colgate University (who’s version we adapted specifically for Colgate Domains).

Usage Guidelines for Colgate Domains


Domains @ Colgate provides managed web hosting services for scholarly and academic use. This service, is intended to address both practical needs for the coordinated hosting of web domains for a more reliable and consistent user experience, as well as support innovative approaches to teaching, learning, scholarship and creative work. Within each domain, a user can install applications to support a range of publishing options and development of curricular projects. Some key use cases include the following:

  • assist faculty in understanding the wide range of web-based applications they can install and use to support teaching and learning.  
  • offer the resources and support for creating dynamic spaces on the web for teaching (course sites), research (lab sites), new forms of scholarly publication (digital  /multimedia formats), and collaboration (inter-institutional).
  • partnering with faculty members to encourage and support their experimentation and creativity for using the web in academically interesting ways.
  • foster a sense of digital imagination that can inform future research, teaching and course development efforts.
  • partner with faculty members who want to engage their students in curricular opportunities to use the web in academically meaningful ways. Connection and reflection are key elements of learning, and students can be supported to connect their learning in unique ways across course-based projects that showcase their interests and learning experiences on the web.

Availability & Use

Requests for access to use Domains @ Colgate is limited to current Colgate faculty members for teaching and research related purposes. Approval for student use is limited to direct curricular application (coursework, undergraduate research, faculty directed work, etc.), and requires the support of a faculty member, who is considered the data owner for the domain. Use of the domains service is governed by Colgate’s Acceptable Use Policy (

Request & Approval

When a user browses to and fills out the Request Form, the form is sent to the ITS service desk and directly routed to the staff who administer Colgate Domains. Members of the Colgate Domains queue are composed of Services and Shared Infrastructure and Learning and Applied Innovation team members. Upon review of the request, the ITS team member will verify that the user is a current Colgate faculty member by using the Colgate directory. When a new site is created, their new domain is named, For instances where faculty members want students to have their own domains (for academic / research purposes), faculty members can follow a similar process as above and provide the names of student users for account creation.

Managing Domains

Twice a year, prior to the start of each academic term, the Services and Shared Infrastructure team will export a listing of domains. Since all the domains will begin with a Colgate username, it will be trivial to match those domains to current Colgate users. For the list of domains who do not match to a current Colgate user, ITS will create an archive on Google drive and remove the website from the Domains platform. When a faculty member leaves the university, they can request to take their website(s) with them and ITS will provide them a compressed file of their cpanel account.  In instances where, there is a site with legacy content of institutional value that is not longer active, ITS will work with the University Archivist to explore ways to store and archive the site.

Currently, there is no service to scan for websites that are operating in a way that is inconsistent with the Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources. Any Colgate student, faculty, or staff can create a website using the Google Sites platform. Domains@Colgate would operate just like the monitoring of Google Sites. If any website is reported that is operating outside the Acceptable User of Electronic Resources, ITS will suspend the Domains@Colgate account.

Accessing Your Files through the File Manager

Your cPanel includes a File Manager that allows you to interact directly with the files stored in your web hosting account. This can be useful if you want to upload software that cannot be automatically installed via the Web Applications section of your cPanel, if you need to change the name or permissions of a file or group or files, or if you want to edit a plain text file. To access your files via the File Manager, use these steps:

  1. Login to with your Colgate username and password.
    Colgate Login Enter your Username and Password
  2. Once logged in, you’ll be at the homepage of your control panel. The easiest way to navigate the panel is using the search feature in the top right panel. Click the Search box and type “File Manager” (without the quotes). When you press enter, you will be automatically redirected to the File Manager.  You can also find its icon under Files.
    screen shot of files manager
  3. On the left side of the “File Manager” window, you’ll see a navigation menu containing the file structure of your webhosting account. More information about the contents of these files and folders can be found in the “File Structures and the File Manager” documentation in this knowledge base.
    screen shot of files available through File Manager, including the Public_html folder
  4. In the navigation menu, choose the public_html option. This will take you directly into the folder that contains the files associated with your website(s). You’ll notice your current location (the public_html folder) is bolded and highlighted in this menu. Click the [+] (expand) icon next to a folder to see what subfolders it contains, or click on the name of the folder to view all of its contents in the file browser on the right side of the page. You can also navigate through the folders in your account by double-clicking on them in the file browser on the right side of the “File Manager” page.
    screen shot of public_html folder and navigation options
  5. To select an item, click once on its icon in the file browser. You can also use the “Select All” button above the file browser, or your computer’s keyboard shortcuts (Shift, Command, Control, etc), to select multiple items from this list.
    screen shot of file manager select all option
  6. Depending on what you have selected, different options will be available to you in the action menu across the top of the “File Manager” page. If you have selected a folder, for example, you can “Rename” it or “Change Permissions” on it, but do not edit it using the Code Editor or HTML Editor.
    screen shot of file manager tools
  7. If you know exactly what location you want to skip to within your webhosting account, you can type it into the box directly above the navigation menu and click Go.screen shot file manager find folder by nameAlternatively, if you know the exact name of the file or folder you are looking for, but not its location, you can use the Search box to find it.screen shot to find file by name

Social Media

As you begin to build out your digital presence you’ll probably start to think about social media in some form. In fact it’s likely that you already have at least one, if not more, social media accounts (Facebook being the most popular to date). Everyone uses social media in different ways, and although it’s often interesting to see people break the boundaries of the “social norms” of a specific online community, this article will focus more on the accepted use cases for specific social networks and how they can help you build your digital presence. This is by no means a comprehensive “How To” of Twitter or Facebook, but a good starting guide to think about where you best fit in to these online communities.


The majority of folks that will read this likely have a Facebook account. With over 1 billion active users it’s by far one of the more popular social networks. Many treat Facebook as a semi-personal space, one reserved for family and friends to share photos and highlights of what’s happening in their lives. Facebook also supports “Groups” for sharing amongst a smaller set of individuals regularly, and “Pages” which are less personal and more public-facing profiles meant for organizations and businesses. There are plenty of applications that make it easy to publish a link to the work you do on your blog and your participation in other networks back into your Facebook profile. In genera, it’s a good practice and can often lead to interesting conversations with different groups of folks. This practice of publishing elsewhere and then feeding into Facebook is desired over the alternative, using Facebook for all content and then pushing it out to other communities. The main reason for this is that privacy concerns over how different people can view content on Facebook have changed often enough to leave users concerned. There’s also never any certainty of sustainability with any of these social networks (remember MySpace or Friendster?) no matter how popular, so publishing in your own space and then pushing out to others makes a lot of sense. The key takeaway is that Facebook is a great personal network and can also be the starting point for some of these larger professional discussions should you decide to use it that way.


While no longer the new kid on the block, Twitter has only relatively recently started to gain momentum. It doesn’t have nearly the same user base as Facebook (though there are about 500 million accounts to date) and the way people use it is very different. Twitter has focused on the short status message from the start, before Facebook even integrated the idea into their platform. Users are limited to 140 characters. It’s a conversational platform for interacting with people. It’s used heavily at conferences and many choose this as a social network for really networking with peers and others in their community as well as people they might not ever meet in real life. You can follow as many people as you want and it’s a great way of having a stream of information about “what’s happening” with people and groups you’re interested in. One powerful development of Twitter is that celebrities have begun to embrace it as a way to speak directly to their fans without having the message interpreted through other media and journalism with a slant. The ability to search various topics or hashtags (keywords) and see a running stream of what people are saying about that topic is also a very powerful way of gauging reaction to ideas and events. It’s a great idea to experiment with a Twitter account by signing up, adding a profile picture and information about yourself, following a group of people, and interacting with it daily. While the gratification may not be immediate, it’s one of those social networks where the more you put into it the more you will get out of it.


LinkedIn is the professional resumé of social networks. It mixes the ability to keep an updated resume of where you work and what your accomplishments are with a social aspect of having people recommend you and comment on your work. Most users find LinkedIn helpful not as a day-to-day network they use, but rather when they’re searching for a new job and want to find people they know that might have connections. The old saying “It’s who you know” when finding a job or making a connection is particularly relevant here where those connections can be exposed to you (You know this person who works for the company of one of Bill Gate’s sons, and the VP went to high school with you).


As mentioned in the opening paragraph, talking about social media is an ever-changing and moving target and this article can never be truly comprehensive. The goal of Colgate Domains is to have you thinking more critically about where you put your content, not that you don’t participate in these networks which still have a lot of value, but rather that you own the work you create. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others all have different audiences and the more places you push your content to, the more opportunities for discussion and feedback you’ll receive. The ability to network with an increased amount of people that isn’t reliant on face-to-face meetings is a powerful change in how we interact on the web and the value of it. As you begin to explore social media the best recommendation would be to choose a space you want to explore and really dive in. Follow as many people as possible, talk to them, respond to their work, and you’re more likely to get responses in return that start to build that sense of community for you.

Applications Available in Installatron

Installatron, the script installer that is part of the cPanel, allows you to easily install Web applications to your Web space. Below is a list of all of the applications currently available to you through Installatron:

Community Building

  • Vanilla Forums
  • MediaWiki
  • ExtCalendar
  • Booked
  • WebCalendar
  • phpFreeChat
  • phpMyChat
  • Dada Mail
  • PHPlist
  • Site Recommender
  • FluxBB
  • MyBB
  • phpBB
  • Simple Machines
  • XMB Forum
  • Elgg
  • Oxwall
  • Pligg
  • GBook
  • Lazarus Guestbook
  • DokuWiki
  • PmWiki
  • WikkaWiki

Content Management

  • WordPress*
  • Scalar*
  • Omeka*
  • Drupal
  • b2evolution
  • Geeklog
  • PivotX
  • Serendipity
  • Textpattern
  • CMS Made Simple
  • concrete5
  • Contao
  • ImpressPages
  • liveSite
  • Nucleus CMS
  • phpwcms
  • PyroCMS
  • SilverStripe
  • Soholaunch
  • TYPO3
  • WebsiteBaker
  • Chamilo
  • Moodle
  • phpMyFAQ
  • Code Igniter
  • Coranto
  • MODx
  • e107
  • Joomla
  • Mahara
  • Mambo
  • ocPortal
  • PHP-Fusion
  • PHP-Nuke
  • Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware
  • Xoops
  • Zikula
  • Mukurtu
  • Dotclear
  • LifeType
  • Text pattern
  • Get Simple
  • Grav
  • Known
  • efront
  • CakePHP
  • Laravel
  • Nette
  • Smarty
  • Symfony
  • Zend Frame
  • Subrion

e-Commerce and Business

  • OSClass
  • Quicksell Classifieds
  • FrontAccounting
  • OrangeHRM
  • Feng Office
  • SugarCRM
  • Vtiger
  • Zurmo
  • CubeCart
  • Magento
  • OpenCart
  • osCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • TomatoCart
  • Zen Cart
  • BoxBilling
  • phpCOIN
  • Simple Invoices
  • Collabtive
  • Mantis
  • PHProjekt
  • Crafty Syntax Live Help
  • Help Center Live
  • HESK
  • osTicket
  • Revive Adserver
  • Open Classified
  • Dolibarr
  • Open Real Estate
  • Open Biblio
  • Group Office
  • Suite CRM
  • AbanteCart
  • WeBid
  • Blesta
  • Client Exec
  • The Bug Genie
  • Live Chat Helper

Photos and Files

  • ownCloud
  • Gallery
  • GQ File Manager
  • OpenDocMan
  • Power File Manager
  • ProjectSend
  • Coppermine
  • Piwigo
  • TinyWebGallery
  • ZenPhoto
  • Codiad
  • Pydio
  • Koken

Surveys and Statistics

  • Aardvark Topsites
  • Advanced Poll
  • LimeSurvey
  • phpESP
  • Simple Poll
  • phpMyCounter
  • Piwiki
  • Seo Panel


  • Tiny Tiny RSS
  • PHPLinks
  • SiteBar
  • iTron Clock
  • WebCards
  • Contact Form
  • Form Tools
  • phpFormGenerator
  • webtrees
  • Feed on Feeds
  • selfoss
  • Search Engine Project
  • Wallabag
  • OHMS Viewer

Installing Applications with Installatron

Installatron is a script installer that allows you to quickly and easily install Web applications on the Web space. By default, when you use Installatron, the application you add will be automatically upgraded whenever a new version is available (and a backup will be kept, just in case).

Installing Applications Using Installatron

  1. To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel by going to
  2. Here you’ll login with your Colgate username and password.
    Colgate Login Enter your Username and Password
  3. Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your control panel. You will need to scroll down until you see a section of the Control Panel labeled “Software.” Within this section, you will see a link to the Installatron Applications Installer which you should click. Or, you can type “installatron” (without quotes) into the search bar.  When you press enter you will automatically be redirected to the Installatron page.

  4. When Installatron opens, you will see a list of any applications you’ve already installed. To install something new, click on the Applications Browser button (labeled with a large star).
    screen shot of installatron applications
  5. A listing of all of the applications you can install by default in Installatron will appear. Browse to the one you want to install, and click the icon.
  6. After clicking the icon, a page will appear with information about the application, links to resources, and a link to install it.
    screen shot of WordPress application in Installatron
  7. Click “Install this application” when you are ready.
  8. A page will appear with a number of settings you can choose/change. The image below shows these settings; here is a rundown of them:
    screen shot of Installatron application options
    • Location: You’ll need to choose where to install your new application. You can install it at the root of your domain or in a subdomain (which you need to set up first). In addition, you can place your application in a folder (in either your root domain or a subdomain)
    • Version Information: You can choose a version of the application. Generally, we recommend choosing the default version. It is likely to be the most recent, stable release.
    • Updates & Database Management: By default, the system is set up to automatically upgrade (and create backups upon upgrading) all applications. In addition, by default, the database will be set up for you automatically. We recommend NOT changing these options.
    • Username/Password: An username/password will be automatically generated for you. You can choose to change this, if you like.
    • Click Install: After installation, you’ll be taken back to the main Installatron page, with details about the application you just installed. At any time you can come back here to review the application details, back it up manually, or uninstall it.

To get to your new site, you can click the “website” link. What’s more, with certain applications you can use this space to login to the admin area.

In addition, you’ll have received an email with your username/password and a link to your new site.

Introduction to CPanel

Your Web hosting account on is managed through a control panel interface called cPanel. cPanel is an industry-standard tool for managing your domain and hosting. Using this tool, you can do all kind of things with your Web space including the following:

  • install Web applications
  • view and manage files in your space
  • create subdomains
  • create and configure FTP accounts
  • review access logs for your site
  • manually manage and configure databases

Accessing cPanel has become even easier now! All you need to do is login at the top right of the page at (with Colgate Username and Password) and your website’s cPanel will automatically be displayed upon login.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the cPanel interface. It is divided into sections, making it easy to locate the different tools and services available to you.

Many of the tutorials on this site walk you through particular tasks in cPanel, but we encourage you to explore on your own, as well.

Registering a Domain

Colgate Domains currently utilizes subdomains of for the initial signup, however after using your space you may decide you’d like to register a top-level domain (a .com, .net, .org address). You can do this by registering a domain with a service provider (we make a recommendation below, but any domain provider should work) and adding it to your space as an Addon Domain.

To start you’ll need to get the domain registered. When choosing a domain we recommend keeping it all lower-case, avoiding hyphens, keeping it short, and of course it will need to be a unique address. Reclaim Hosting has made the process of registering a domain quite simple, and the domain will work with very few additional steps due to the integration they have with our hosting system. To register a domain you would go to and type in the domain you’d like to purchase:

screenshot of domain registration at

After ensuring the domain is available for purchase you’ll be prompted to select whether you’d like to protect the contact information associated with the domain. All domain registrations are required to have valid contact information publicly available, however, a proxy service to protect your identity is available for an additional fee. You can read more about this service, ID Protect, at

You’ll also be prompted for nameservers for the domain. If registering the domain through Reclaim Hosting you can leave these with the default. If registering the domain elsewhere you’ll want to point the nameservers to and in order for the domain to work with our system.

Once you’ve completed the checkout process with payment information the domain will be registered automatically. The last step is to add it to your existing account here at Colgate Domains. To do that you’ll log into your account at and in cPanel navigate to Domains > Add-on Domains.

screen shot of add-on domain option

Here you will type in the domain that you registered previously to host it within your space on Colgate Domains. cPanel will also setup a subdomain which you can leave with the default that it creates and verify a location for the files for the domain (typically a folder inside of public_html). The option to create an additional FTP account is present but not necessary. Once the domain is entered click Add Domain to add the domain to your hosting account.

screen shot showing how to add a domain

At this point the domain will now be hosted in your account and you can use it to install software, upload files, and any number of other actions available to you in cPanel.

What are the technical requirements/limitations of Plymouth Create?

Colgate Domains uses a Web server known as a LAMP server. “LAMP” is an acronym for the technology stack that is installed on the server:

  • Linux: This is the open-source operating system that is used on the server.
  • Apache: This is the Web server software that the server uses.
  • MySQL: This is the database software that the server uses.
  • Php/Perl/Python: These are the three programming languages that the server can interpret.

Generally, if you are using applications available to install by default through the, you shouldn’t need to worry about these technical details. All of the software that is available for installation (in cPanel) meets the technical requirements.

If you’re interested in finding/installing another application (that isn’t available through our automatic installer tool), then you’ll have to be sure that the server can support it. To start with, you’ll want to be sure that the Web application can run on a LAMP server. Check the technical requirements for the application to determine this. You’ll also need to do some research about whether there are any additional services or modules required on the server. Some software may require components that aren’t included in the default installation of the LAMP stack. In that case, contact us with details about what you need, and we’ll see what we can do.