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I've had the Akismet anti-spam plugin installed and working great on two of my non-commercial Wordpress blogs for the past couple of months. Both sites are using my same API key.

Today, on one blog I'm getting hit with an unusually high number of spam comments. About 35 in 24 hours rather than the one or two per day.

On the other less popular blog, no new spam.

The problem is that the spam is not getting flagged, only held for moderation. On the comments page, I'm getting this message:

Akismet has detected a problem. A server or network problem prevented Akismet from checking 3 comments. They have been temporarily held for moderation and will be automatically re-checked in 14 mins.

On the plugin configuration page, I get this:

The key below was previously validated but a connection to akismet.com can not be established at this time. Please check your server configuration.

The Akismet Configuration page is loading very slow and sometimes the error clears and the moderated comments are flagged. Then the error returns.

The Server Connectivity section always shows everything is good though:

Server Connectivity
All Akismet servers are available.
Akismet is working correctly. All servers are accessible.

I've updated Wordpress to the latest (v3.3) and all plugins are up to date.

Yes, it's obvious there is an intermittent problem connecting to Akismet; but why/where?

So I'm wondering if others are experiencing the same issues today or if there is something new going wrong with my installation, server, etc. I need to fix.

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Same issue on my blog... and still looking for an answer. –  user12080 Dec 15 '11 at 4:37

3 Answers 3

You can track the uptime status of the Akismet API at http://status.automattic.com/9931/136079/Akismet-API

If the Akismet API is listed as up (it generally is, we have really good availability) then your hosting provider is in the best position to help track down why your WordPress site is no longer able to reach akismet.com.

We've found the two most common reasons for it not working are:

  • PHP is configured in such a way as to prevent HTTP requests from being made
  • A firewall or proxy server is blocking the out going HTTP requests
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Status was always showing as "up" during these problems. My reliable hosting provider was very diligent in assisting me troubleshoot this and was unable to find anything wrong. I'm using the free API key and this problem only happened on a day my key was getting slammed with spam; I just figured that free keys get a lower priority. Since installing a reCaptcha module, thereby reducing the number of API calls to Akismet, the error message has not returned. –  Sparky Dec 16 '11 at 17:07
    
When a free API key is given a lower priority or throttled, which error message should appear? Since there is no error message contained in the module about key priority or throttling, it seems logical that a connection error message might appear instead. –  Sparky Dec 16 '11 at 17:25
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Akismet status was always showing as "up" during these problems.

As per other answer by Jospeh Scott and similar answers posted on the Wordpress Forum, it is suggested that this error is caused by a firewall or another problem on the server. My reliable hosting provider was very diligent in assisting me troubleshoot this and was unable to find anything wrong so I've ruled this out.

However, I'm using a free, unpaid API key (non-commercial sites) and this problem only happened on a day my key was getting slammed with spam. It seems reasonable to conclude that my API key was simply temporarily throttled.

As per this Akismet page:

Paid account perks

  • Priority over free accounts
  • Faster & more reliable
  • No traffic limits or throttles

Also, there is no error message contained in the Akismet plugin specific to throttling a non-paid account. A generic connection error message seems like it would be the next best thing.

Since installing a reCaptcha module, thereby reducing the number of API calls to Akismet, the error has not returned.

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I'm probably a little late with this, but I have had this happen to me FOUR different times on all 9 of my WordPress sites. Here is the answer that I got from my hosting company (InMotion Hosting) - this solution has worked every time, but for some reason the file keeps changing back - this last time they told me that they have "Locked" the file: "This was a very intricate issue that we had to take time to find and correct. What it appears is that your vps container did not receive some updates in regards to the resolv.conf file we made previously when we changed some of our DNS cluster servers. I manually adjusted this file to properly connect to our clusters. At this time, I was able to set up your akismet plugin properly. Additionally, this was effecting your ability to connect to wordpress.org and your general site speeds. The connection to wordpress.org has been corrected and your site load times have exponentially gone up."

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