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5: Setup Options, Comments, and Security

Now that we’ve installed and done the initial set up of your WordPress website, we need to start the process of configuring the options on your site. Besides changing the default admin password (explained in the previous tutorial, and you DID do that correct?) there are a few other things you may want to change.

First off, WordPress by default has comment options set to allow anonymous users to add comments to your posts without registering or logging in to your site. You may very well want to allow this to occur, but you will need to do certain things also so that your site isn’t riddled with spam. If you do wish to allow anonymous user comments I would strongly suggest you go immediately to the “plugins” admin area and activate the akismet plugin. This is an anti-spam plugin that is packaged with WordPress by default. To fully set it up you will need to go and create a WordPress account (Details Here). You do NOT need to create another full blog, you can select the “just create an account” option. Once you get your account you can get your akismet activation code and plug this into your WordPress install. Akismet is a good first line of defense and tends to do a decent job of filtering spam.

The other option you have (and I would still suggest activating akismet anyway) is setting comments such that a user has to be registered and logged in to leave comments. The benefits of this are you gain more knowledge of who is visiting your site, and it minimizes stupid “trolling” or “flaming” comments since it takes a small effort to set up an account. Most major blogging sites tend to actually be even more restrictive and also require that the admin approve the registration of the user before they can comment. Regardless of the which combination you want to do, to set this up you need to go to the Options “General” settings area and check or uncheck the Membership options of “anyone can register” and “user must be registered and logged in to comment”. These 2 settings work together in combination. The first setting means that if that is checked, anyone can register and immediately then start commenting. If it is unchecked then the admin must approve their registration before they can comment. The second setting then dictates if the user needs to be registered or not to actually comment. So if the first option is checked, but the second one isn’t, then anonymous or registered users can comment immediately. If both options are checked, no anonymous users may comment, but registered users can immediately comment. If the first setting is unchecked and the last setting is checked then anonymous users can not comment, and registered users must be approved by an admin before they can comment.

Moving on, you can go to the Options “Discussion” page and additionally set it so that you are emailed whenever a comment is posted, or set it so that users may add comments, but they only appear on the site if an admin approves them. There are many more options on this page which are pretty straightforward, so set them as you wish.

I would strongly suggest you look at all of the other options area pages. There are a ton of options you can set, and most are simply up to you as to how you want your site to work. Once you’ve gone through those pages we can move on to looking at your theme and how you want your site to look to your visitors.

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