Sergej Müller, Creator of Antispam Bee, Says Goodbye to WordPress

Sergej-MüllerSergej Müller is saying goodbye to WordPress after nine years and nearly three million downloads of his free plugins. Antispam Bee, his most popular contribution, is currently in use on more than 200,000 WordPress sites.

Müller penned a farewell Gist on GitHub in his native German, which Caspar Hübinger was kind enough to translate into English.

For me, a chapter of my life is coming to an end. A chapter that has brought an abundance of experience, learning, and fun. A chapter that, on the other hand, demanded a lot of time, nerves, and motivation. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I deeply hope my software and my commitment may have made the WordPress community a bit better in terms of quality.

Müller is discontinuing his WordPress contributions due to health reasons, but he plans to find a suitable successor who will be able to deliver the level of quality and support that his users have come to expect. His plugins, most notably Antispam Bee, Cachify, Statify, wpSEO and Optimus, are used widely around the world, particularly throughout Germany, Austria, and the germanophone parts of Switzerland.

Hübinger, who is active in the German and European WordPress communities, has been using Müller’s plugins for the past six years.

“Just as valuable for me personally were his blog posts and tutorials,” he said. “I pretty much learned WordPress development from his blog, and Frank Bueltge‘s.

“There are a lot of comments expressing great surprise. No one saw him quitting, obviously. Sergej has been a key figure of the German-speaking WordPress community for the last nine years. While not quite so popular beyond the Germanophone context, I think his note that almost every WordPress user over here has heard of or uses at least one of his plugins is no exaggeration.”

While Müller does have a couple commercial plugins available, he has never made a living from them. For the past nine years he has been working as a software engineer outside of WordPress. Anyone aspiring to adopt his plugins will need to meet the high standards that he has set in terms of quality and support, especially in regards to supporting the German community.

“Monika Thon-Soun, a WordPress veteran from Austria, mentions she doesn’t remember a single instance where one of Sergej’s plugins would have been hacked,” Hübinger said. “Given the popularity of his plugins, that’s truly worth mentioning, as it underlines a character feature that everyone loves him for: reliability.”

Müller’s plugin contributions have always been a hobby for him but he is no longer able to sustain their development and support. He is currently in conversations with parties who are interested in his projects and will announce the new maintainers once it has been finalized.

Sergej Müller’s contributions signify the importance of having WordPress extensions and tutorials available for users to learn WordPress in their own language. His role in cultivating the German development community and supporting its many users will not be easily filled.

“As a friend, I understand and support his decision completely,” Hübinger said. “As a WordPress user, it’s…a catastrophe.

“Whoever follows him on G+ will have seen occasional moments of disappointment. In those moments, you could see all his passion. Because it really wasn’t about money for him. Acknowledgement and paying it forward is his favorite currency.”

17 Comments


  1. I don’t use any of Sergej’s plugins but for those who do it must be like losing and old friend.

    “Müller is discontinuing his WordPress contributions due to health reasons”

    Hope all goes well in that regard and many thanks for contributing to WordPress.

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  2. I started my first WordPress blog in 2006. In 9 years, he was always there. This is absolutely like losing and old friend for me. All the best for you Sergej and your family. See you in Cologne!

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  3. Some time ago I tested wpSEO and it looked really cool and really good in performance. I hope next developer will take it to english world. I did not use it, bc. no communication in english on their side.

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  4. I translated some of his posts from German into Russian. Many thanks to Sergey for his great work!

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  5. Sarah: “Anyone aspiring to adopt his plugins will need to meet the high standards that he has set in terms of quality and support”

    ==> simple yes, if you are able to read his plugins, you know that “code is poetry” becomes true.

    @Sarah thanks for “WordPress veteran” :-) :-)

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  6. This is really a bummer. I use Antispam Bee in most of the sites I develop. No spam and no false positives as far as I can tell. All the best for you Sergej and thanks for your contributions!

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    1. Hi Paul,

      I’m a great admirer of Sergej’s work as well. Our FV Antispam should be a drag and drop replacement for AntiSpam Bee. We are focused on getting rid of machinebots which has the side benefit of bringing your Akismet count way down (about 90 to 98% by our tests). This means you and your clients don’t need ultraexpensive high volume Akismet plans but just the standard ones (free for blogs these days, pay for agencies and commercial sites).

      I can’t remember any more why we created our own antispam plugin rather than use Antispam Bee: I think at the time Antispam Bee was missing a couple of settings we needed (it has them now). We were trying to create a javascript only solution which would kill all bots. We finally gave up on that as the spammers can always program around javascript only solutions (false positives were also a big issue with fiddly javascript). We’d been using WP Spam Free but the load from WP Spam Free had our enterprise hosting account shut down (we weren’t expert enough in servers then to identify the bad actor fast enough, we’d figure it out in a couple of hours now).

      Anyway, I’d recently looked at Antispam Bee and was thinking about just shutting down FV Antispam and move over to Antispam Bee (to lower our maintenance load). Instead, we updated substantially and now that Antispam Bee is gone can heartily recommend FV Antispam to Akismet users to improve speed under heavy comment load and to keep your Akismet request count reasonable.

      Good luck to Sergej in his future projects!

      PS. If any Antispam Bee have any suggestions for FV Antispam, please let me know.

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  7. One thing I will definitely adopt from Sergej’s work flow is publishing time invested in producing the code and providing support, like:

    Release time investment (Development & QA): 2,5 h

    Sometimes users do not have understanding how much it takes to produce good free products…

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      1. That was my plan – adding it to the change log, but I will go one step further, currently I plan using it like:

        ### Release info
        - Release time investment (Development & QA): h.
        - Free theme support time investment: h.
        - Theme documentation time investment: h.

        I’m using TaskCoach, so it is very easy to track time, I just never thought about actually doing it.

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  8. I have always used and loved Antispam Bee. Sergej has created something amazing and been a core part of WordPress for a long time. I wish him all the best and hope he finds health again soon.

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  9. I’m sad to hear about the reason for this and for the news of Antispam Bee itself. It is such an excellent plugin, superior to Akismet in my experience.

    Thank you, Sergej. Your contribution is been very generous. I hope you get well and that you are able to find the right developer to take over the plugin.

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  10. Can’t remember any WP-Setup without at least one of Sergej’s plugins.
    Thanks a lot for years of great constant work and best wishes for anything what’s coming up!

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  11. I’m very sorry to hear that news about Sergej. I hope he’s OK. I, too, have enjoyed using AntiSpam Bee very much!

    Danke, Sergej!

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  12. Sergej’s native language is Russian, not German.

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