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How to Drop the Banhammer on Unwanted Visits in WordPress

Do you ever wonder about suspicious users and other questionable web traffic on your WordPress site? Well, then you are in the same boat as all of us, as this is a part of having an online presence. What if you could monitor this activity and ban visitors in WordPress? Now you can, using a smooth plugin called Banhammer.

There are all sorts of steps you can take in WordPress that will allow you to keep your website safe and running smoothly. Using a plugin like Banhammer is one of those ways, and it is a very powerful tool if used correctly.

Why You Should Ban IP Addresses

First off, you have to know what exactly an IP ban is. These types of blocks are basically set up by a server to reject requests made from a particular IP or range of IP addresses. These types of IP bans can be put in place using two methods:

  1. Automatically by the server based on abuse pattern
  2. Manually by the administrator

An IP ban actually protects the server from a number of types of abuse. These include brute force attacks, email blocking from known spammers, and certain usage limits by users.

They are so effective that a properly put-together ban can go as far as allowing the server to block IP addresses from even accessing a website, forum, and email.

Today, I am going to show you how you can easily ban IP addresses in WordPress using a smooth and nifty plugin that does all the heavy lifting for you. Let’s take a look at the plugin in question and see all that it has to offer.

Banhammer

Banhammer plugin

Banhammer is a plugin that is specifically designed to give you full control over who and what may access your website. The plugin is built with a specific focus on performance, so it will not slow your website, and your page load speeds will remain fast and efficient.

This plugin will allow you to easily ban visitors in WordPress and monitor all traffic and suspicious visitors. It provides a number of tools to do this, and if implemented properly, can be very powerful against unwanted visitors, attempted brute force attacks, and other malicious activity.

Any users that you ban will be denied any type of access from your website until you manually restore it using tools that Banhammer provides called “Tower.” The plugin is packed full of features and options. Some of the main ones include:

  • Ability to ban or warn any WP user or IP address
  • Easily restore access to any banned targets
  • Monitor all site traffic in the provided “Armory”
  • Manage banned users in the provided “Tower”
  • Ajax-powered navigation
  • A ton of included useful tools
  • Complete documentation from the Help tab
  • Automatically clear logged data
  • Built-in sound effects for processes
  • Manually block any IP at any time

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Banhammer includes so many useful tools that it may become your favorite plugin to use. With so many options and features, you will be able to protect your entire site right from the comfort of your WordPress website dashboard.

Let’s get the plugin installed and set up together so that you can start making the changes you need.

Using Banhammer to Block Unwanted Visitors

Step 1: Install and Activate the Plugin 

Before you can start banning IPs and blocking users that are trying to hurt your site, you first need to install and activate the Banhammer plugin. You can do this by going to the Plugins page in the WordPress admin dashboard.

INstall and activate banhammer

Simply use the available search field and search the plugin by name. When you see it pop up, install and activate it right from there.

Step 2: Go to the Settings Page

Now that the plugin is installed and activated, you need to access the main settings page for the plugin. To do this, click on Banhammer > Settings, located on the left menu area of the dashboard.

Click on banhmamer then on settings

You can see that this option is now available because you activated the plugin. Here, you will configure the settings how you see fit and start the process of protecting your site.

Step 3: Configure Plugin Settings

At this point, you have arrived at the main settings page for the plugin. Here, you are going to go through the settings and configure them how you want. There are three main sections on the page. They include:

  • Basic Settings
  • Banhammer Response
  • Advanced Settings

Let’s go through them together.

Basic Settings

Go ahead and go through a few checkboxes here and make sure the things you want are enabled.

Basic settings

Banhammer Response

Here, you can create the response you want users to see when you have banned them from your site. You can include a custom message and a redirection if you want.

Banhammer response

Advanced Settings

These are the advanced settings for the plugin. Configure them how you see fit. You can always come back and adjust them when you need to.

Advanced settings

Save your settings and you are all set.

Step 4: Monitor Traffic

Now that you have set up the plugin, you are ready to go monitor traffic. To do this, click on the “Armory” option located on the left menu dashboard.

Click on Armory

The Armory is where you monitor all site traffic and make decisions on what users you may need to warn or block.

In the demo below, you can see there are only a few site users. This is because this is a demo site. Your armory will be filled with site users based on your traffic.

Monitor traffic

Step 5: Monitor Banned Users

Last but not least, head over the the “Tower” section of the plugin. This is where you will monitor all the users you have banned. To get there, simply click on the Tower link on the left side dashboard.

Click on tower

Use the tools here to delete, restore, warn, and totally ban users.

Monitor banhammer banned users

That’s it! You are now monitoring all your site traffic and have the ability to protect yourself by banning IPs when needed.

Note: There is a Banhammer pro version of this plugin. It offers more features and configuration settings. If you feel this is something you need, then feel free to check out that version of the plugin.

Don’t Ban Yourself!

Be careful not to ban yourself when using the Banhammer plugin. Yes, this can and has happened to users. Here are some things to be mindful of when using the plugin in order to make sure you don’t ban yourself.

  • Always know your own IP address and WP username.
  • Disable the setting for the “Login Page” so you always have access to it.
  • Enable the setting “Ignore Users” so you can always access the Tower, and your visits will not be logged in the Armory.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your WordPress site can be a daunting task, as there is always someone out there looking to cause trouble. However, with help from a solid plugin like Banhammer, the entire process can be easy, fun, and educational.

I hope the article was able to show you how easy it can be to monitor traffic and block IP addresses when needed. 

What other plugins have you used to block an IP? Have you found it difficult to monitor traffic in the past?

Author: Jeremy Holcombe

Growing up in Hawaii, Jeremy started his freelance writing career doing resumes, business plans, article writing, and everything in between. He now specializes in online marketing and content writing and is part of the Content Marketing Team at GreenGeeks.

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