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Yesterday, as I was explaining to a client that someone would need to remove spam registrations, the client asked me what difference it made if they are in the system because we can just turn off all privileges that anonymous users don't have.

I was not able to give her a compelling argument of why this clean up is important. The fact that I like to keep everything on a website nice and clean was not a compelling argument for her. What are the security or other risks in not cleaning up the spam users?

  • Some say it's a problem, some says it's not. Logged-in users usually bypass caching, but then, there are cache options for authenticated ones, too. A lot of entries in users table may slow down queries, but then db may simply be fast enough for you not to care. and so on, and so on. It all depends on the situation, your setup, environment etc. She might be right. And the only universally good thing is to use some means to stop the registrations from ever happening, probably using unobtrusive methods ie stackoverflow.com/q/972507/2389310 – Mołot Jun 17 '15 at 15:44
  • When I wrote my post, I did not realize that it would be important to state that the spam registrations started about the time that we set up paid memberships in Ubercart. For that reason, the registrations can not be turned off. But, correlation does not also mean causation. In previous projects, I have seen this same problem when Google cataloged the site, but those sites did not have paid memberhips as a product. – Nora McDougall-Collins Jun 18 '15 at 20:45
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Will there be a number of authenticated users on this site who are not spammers, or does your project only require a few users to create content? If it's the latter, the best bet is to simply turn off user registration, and have the owner create accounts as needed. If the former, programs like Mollom should help with cutting down spam and the basic package doesn't cost.

As far as performance goes... if spammers can post content, the obvious issue is comment/content spam. You can use the Disqus module to mitigate this, i.e. offloading the work to Disqus. If not, then if you need to send emails to all users through a service, then you will necessarily have email list bloat. If the volume gets very high, then you could potentially have availability issues, though I don't see that very often.

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