Akismet takes the pain out of managing comment spam. It ensures that that spam doesn't mess with your search engine rankings, and gives you more time to connect with your readers, instead of laboring through page after page of spam.
Note: Akismet offers three different pricing plans as well as a pay per call plan. Personal accounts are free. If your site is for a business or if it promotes a product or service, you should pick from one of the paid plan options.
Installing Akismet for WordPress
The Akismet WordPress plugin ships with WordPress 2.0 and later by default, but if you don't have it for some reason, you can download it here.
After downloading, go to the Plugins page in your administration panel, and click the Activate link in the same row as the Akismet plugin entry. After you've activated it, you'll need to sign up for an Akismet API key (note: API keys should be kept private, like passwords they should never be given out to anyone).
Setting Up Akismet
Setting up Askimet is a cinch, once you have your Akismet API key head into your WordPress admin panel. Click the "Akismet Configuration" link under "Plugins" on your left side navigation menu. Finally, enter your Akismet API key into the text box (copying and pasting is a good way), and click on the "Update API Key" button.
How does Akismet work?
Each time a new comment, trackback, or pingback is added to your site it's submitted to the Akismet web service which runs hundreds of tests on the comment and returns a thumbs up or thumbs down. As a result, you don't have to waste your time sorting through and deleting spammy comments from your blog.
Akismet thought my friend's comment was spam!
This is also called a "false positive," and is a comment that is not actually spam, but is mistakenly marked as so, since computers aren't perfect. That's okay, it's easy to unmark it and let it back into the stream of legitimate comments.
Go into your administration panel, and click "Comments" from the left menu options, and then click "Spam" at the top of the page. Find the comment, and click on the "Not Spam" button.
Why can't I see all comments held as spam?
There is an option on the Akismet Configuration page:
Auto-delete spam submitted on posts more than a month old.
If that is checked then Akismet will delete the spam.
If you wish to see everything then uncheck that.
Akismet also auto-deletes spam that has been in the Spam queue for 30 days. (This is similar to GMail, Outlook and similar services)
How do I submit missed spam?
From the comments section of your administration panel, you simply mouse over the spam comment and click the red "spam" link. Marking the comment as spam will submit it to the Akismet servers. The comment will no longer display in the moderation queue or on your site, and it will be automatically deleted by the Akismet plugin after one month. When submitting previously not recognized spam to the Akismet service, Akismet will analyze the content and learn to recognize new spam patterns.