Subscribe by Email Plugin Spam

Hi There,
This week I got a notice that this plugin had been deactivated due to an error. I went in to the cpanel, renamed it and added it again. It seems to be back up & working now, but I'm curious why it got deactivated and how? The host company said it was not something they did.

I also notice that I have 272 pages of subscribers that are mostly "unconfirmed" Is there a way to stop all the spam coming in via this plugin? Like a way to prove your humanity? If there is, I can't find it in the plugin info. It seems like an important upgrade.

  • Rupok
    • Support Ninja

    Hi Abigail Kojola,

    So sorry to hear the inconvenience you are having. Let me describe one by one.

    This week I got a notice that this plugin had been deactivated due to an error... ... ... I'm curious why it got deactivated and how?

    Can you please talk to your host to provide you the server log of that time when this plugin got deactivated automatically? That might give us some insight regarding this issue.

    Moreover, can you turn on debug mode in WordPress? To enable it, open your wp-config.php file and look for define(‘WP_DEBUG’, false);. Change it to:

    define('WP_DEBUG', true);

    In order to enable the error logging to a file on the server you need to add yet one more similar line:

    define( 'WP_DEBUG_LOG', true );

    In this case, the errors will be saved to a debug.log log file inside the /wp-content/directory.

    Depending on whether you want your errors to be only logged or also displayed on the screen you should also have this line there, immediately after the line mentioned above:

    define( 'WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false );

    The wp-config.php is located in your WordPress root directory. It’s the same file where the database configuration settings are. You will have to access it by FTP or SFTP in order to edit it.

    Past errors here if this issue ever happens again. If the file is very long, paste them to a text file and attach with your reply.

    Is there a way to stop all the spam coming in via this plugin?

    Your unconfirmed subscribers will be removed from the list automatically if they don't confirm their subscription within 7 days.

    But I also think it would be great if there was a captcha option in the subscription opt-in form. So I'm moving your thread to our features and feedback section. More people liking this idea, more chances our developers will work on this and will include this feature in our future releases.

    Have a nice day. Cheers!

  • Abigail Kojola
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hi Rupok,

    I have edited the WP_DEBUG setting to true and added those 2 lines of code to the wp-config.php file.

    There are 5433 emails and only 23 are confirmed.

    You mentioned that unconfirmed subscribers are removed after 7 days, but that is definiately not happening in my cased. "Subscribers" which are probably 100% spam are "Awaiting confirmation" as far back as September 24, 2016 and as recently as Jan 28, 2017.

    Is there a way to cancel unconfirmed subscriptions other than 1 by 1....since that would take days to cancel over 5000 of them.

    Thanks for all your help.

  • Abigail Kojola
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Also, if WPMU DEV is interested in improving this plugin...

    The export/download CSV feature only exports all the emails and no other data about when they signed up, if they are confirmed or what type of subscription. In my case, this export feature is pretty useless since I can't separate out the unconfirmed/spam emails.

    Also, I can only order them in the Subscribers area by email )alphabetical or by date created. Again, if I could order them by Status and then check only the ones that are confirmed to export, that would be very helpful.

    Thank you,

  • Abigail Kojola
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    I might have found a way to prevent spam on my own... we'll see.

    I added a custom checkbox question "Check this box if you are human."

    So we'll see if that helps.

    I also noticed that I can see the confirmed subscribers in the Emails log under Sent>Details.

    Of course I can't export them, but my client wants a list of her subscribers in case we ever lose access to the plugin again so I am (painfully) copy & pasting each of the 56 confirmed subscribers into a spreadsheet.

    I 'm not sure if these comments are public, but I hope so in case someone else experiences this issue.

  • Abigail Kojola
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hey There Rupok,

    I really appreciate your help. Are you still able to respond to me in this thread?

    I added the same Subscribe by Email plugin to another website After setting it up, I tried to add a couple emails addresses (both gmail accounts). They showed up as unconfirmed in the subscriber list, but neither account received any emails (I did check spam). And I had also checked the box to have a admin email receive notifications when people subscribe - she got nothing.

    So it seems like this plugin is not working for me, which is a bummer!

    What is the best way for me to trouble shoot this?

    Thank you so much,

  • Kasia Swiderska
    • Support nomad

    Hello Abby,

    Sorry for the late respond on our side. I'm testing now Subscribe by email and I received email with confirmation link to gmail account, so sending in plugin works.

    This can be plugin conflict or problem with sending method used by Subscribe by email on server.

    Can you first run a quick plugin conflict test as illustrated in getting support manual (flowchart). Let me know how it goes.

    If that will not give any positive results please try using SMTP plugin:

    As for the removing unconfirmed emails - I asked developer for feedback on this case - why those emails are not removed on your site and I'm waiting for feedback right now. I will ask if there is way to remove those without touching your subscribers.

    Please note that our forum system is build to prevent threads bumping and each new post in thread is treated as new answer, so our system puts it on the bottom of the queue... And we process our queues from top to bottom (old to new threads).

    kind regards,

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