Akismet is NOT free

Last Update: October 27, 2015

I have three websites now. That's two more than I had when I first bought Akismet. Yes, I say bought because I don't recall it ever being called a donation and I certainly don't recall a sliding price scale down to zero. I have always been charged $5 per month for my site. It is set to auto renew which it did this year. A couple of weeks ago I was notified that I had a comment to review so I went to my first website to review it and I was confronted with the following notice;


Akismet Error Code: 10007

Howdy! We're glad that you're enjoying Akismet! It looks like your Akismet Plus subscription is currently being used on more sites than it supports. You will simply need to access your Akismet account and update your subscription. Please click on the link below for some further details.For more information:akismet/errors

This notice BLOCKED my ability to manage my comment. I knew they were serious. So I took their offer and signed up my other two sites. I figured I was up to $15 per month but I sought confirmation. I emailed Akismet and asked if my original $5 monthly charge will stop now. Here is their response:

Email; [#2361161]: [akismet-support] Contact form "Yes, the $5/month charge will be discontinued - replaced by the $15/month charge. All set!"
Happiness Engineer | at wordpress

I shared this information with WA members in the comments section below the lessons and there has been a tidal wave of protest.

No one seems willing to accept the concept of paying for Akismet. The insistence that it is free is deafening. So, once again I took to emailing Akismet, this time with the question "Why, if Akismet is free to other members of Wealthy Affiliate, is it not free for me?"

The following email reply was received:

Hi again, Stephanie!

If that is the case, then the other members of Wealthy Affiliate are violating the terms which we've set for the usage of free keys - which is that they must be used on non-commercial sites.
Happiness Engineer | at wordpress

There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth. Only non-commercial sites can use the free Akismet key. As soon as you monetize your site you become a commercial site and are no longer entitled to free Akismet.

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bnaylor Premium
Hi Stephanie... So here is what I think is the case and it's confirmed in an article from March, 2011 published on the WPTavern site...

Akismet is "FREE" for personal use... So if you have a personal blog or other website that is "non-commercial" then you can get an API key for free... Yes, they'd like you to donate with an amount that should reflect how happy you are with the product...

What you have is the Akismet Pro subscription which is to be used on "commercial" sites...

So the distinction here being whether the intent of your site is for "personal" use with no monetary gain or "commercial" use and you;re looking to earn from it...

Here is the link for the WPTavern article that also explains this policy:


You're going to find this a lot in the WP plugin world and many people are violating the terms of service for many plugins by downloading the "free" versions when their sites are to be monetized...

I've done the same thing on other occasions... It always pays to be very aware of the licensing restrictions for some of these plugins and do what you can to try and live by those guidelines...

Does that mean that the licensing will ever be enforced and you might be penalized... well... who knows... it's a crap shoot... but "forewarned is forarmed"...

As Alexander has pointed out... there are other options over Akismet that truly are free for use on commercial websites that also produce better results...

Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion... Bryan
KevinFroude Premium
It looks like Stephanie may have a point....according to Askismet's pricing page it's only available for free on non-commecial sites.


But perhaps our sites are considered "non commercial" until we actually start monetizing or making money with them?

I have messaged Kyle to ask him to clarify this for us....
Warner43 Premium
You wrote about AkismetPlus! Perhaps that is not for free?
mackiejw Premium
There is a slider and it's free. However, after one year they want to charge you. I got rid of this dingy anyways and use Growmap Antispam. Ever since, I get less spam than with the other. I also got rid of the ugly Captcha mess. Growmap gives you a check box....."prove you are human" , which is much nicer.

In other words, Good riddance Akismet
Warner43 Premium
Thanks for sharing your experience with an alternative for Akismet.
musicman99 Premium
Well this I did not know. There must be some confusion on the matter because Kyle specifically says in the videos that it is for free. You only choose to donate. I haven't sold anything yet on my site, so Idk. If Akismet is certainly not free once I start selling stuff on my site, I guess I'll deal with that when it comes. I'm still confused by this. There are other free plugins that combat spam. Maybe I can get rid of Akismet, but I think Akismet is giving you the BS business. For everyone else it's free. You probably signed up for them and accidentally donated, not knowing you could slide it down to zero. Now they're forcing you into paying more each month, which really isn't cool. They should not have an option to slide to zero. If they want payment they should make it a requirement. So you didn't do anything wrong. They're just trying to screw with you, which isn't cool.
Warner43 Premium
I agree with you.