WordPress has a commenting system built directly into the core. Unfortunately, it has not changed since WordPress was launched in 2003. Most WordPress users address its deficiencies by installing commenting plugins that enhance the functionality.
Without installing a WordPress comment plugin, WordPress lacks importance features such as social media integration and the ability to update commenters of new updates. It also suffers badly from spam; which is why every single download of WordPress comes packaged with the anti-spam plugin Akismet (for more information on reducing spam, please check out my recent article “How to Reduce WordPress Comment Spam“).
Due to these reasons, many WordPress users use an external commenting system instead. There are many benefits to switching to a third-party solution such as allowing your readers to leave comments using their existing social media profiles.
In this article, I would like to show you six external commenting solutions that are available to WordPress users.
DISQUS is one of the most popular external commenting solutions available online. It has a clean responsive design that looks great on desktops, tablets and mobiles.
Features include threaded replies, subscription via RSS, updates via email and logins via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. It also has great support for images and videos.
DISQUS has a great administration area that lets you filter spam and create blacklists and whitelists for commenters. The DISQUS WordPress plugin imports existing comments into your DISQUS account and will automatically sync any new comments back to your WordPress database. This means that you will never lose any comments if you switch back to the default WordPress commenting system at a later date.
The main rival to DISQUS is LiveFyre. It is used by many top websites such as Mashable and Engadget.
LiveFyre offers real-time comments, mobile support, social media logins, multimedia support, comment notifier and great subscription options.
Like DISQUS, the Livefyre WordPress plugin syncs all of your comments back to your website database so that you can easily switch back to WordPress’s commenting system at any time.
3. Intense Debate
Some of you may be surprised to hear that the developers of WordPress (Automattic) have their own external commenting solution. Intense Debate features threaded comments, email notifications, reply by email, social media support and more.
It has many great moderating tools, spam filters and blacklisting support. Last year, Automattic integrated the WordPress.com login system with Intense Debate.
You would have assumed that Automattic would be fully behind Intense Debate, yet they have never really given it support since the service launched at the start of 2007. The Automattic home page has over a dozen projects listed, yet none of their projects use Intense Debate for commenting.
Instead, the commenting module of the Jetpack WordPress plugin is used on all of their official blogs. The Intense Debate WordPress plugin has not been updated since July 2007 either, yet the Intense Debate blog was updated in January 2014 with a request for people to “Get Involved“.
Reading between the lines, Automattic do not want to give up on Intense Debate, however they do not want to devote any time or money to it either. Until they do, I would look at an alternative commenting solution.
Vicomi is one of the lesser-known external comment solutions that allows users to register using email of Facebook. Regrettably, no other social media services are supported. Vicomi features a responsible mobile-friendly design, threaded comments, great moderation tools and online profile support.
It is easily recognisable by its unique emoticon feature that lets you rate comments from other users as intellectual, worrisome, funny, a question or maddening.
The Vicomi WordPress plugin states that all data comments are stored on their server. Unfortunately, comments are not synced back to your own database.
Facebook are by far and away the largest social media website on the internet and the second most visited website after Google. You can tap into its popularity by replacing the WordPress comment box with a Facebook comments box.
The comments box is fast and allows comments to be ordered by time or quality (aka Social Relevance). Since people tend to use their real name on Facebook, implementing Facebook comments on your website should cut down on spam.
From an administration point of view, Facebook does not offer the same functionality as alternatives such as DISQUS and Livefyre and comments are not backed up on your website database. There are a lot of people who do not use Facebook, therefore using Facebook exclusively for your comments will stop many people from posting comments.
It is, however, a good solution for those of you who heavily use Facebook to promote your website.
Google+ has been integrated into many Google services such as Blogger and YouTube. With the growing popularity of Google+, it is being adopted by many website owners.
There is no official WordPress plugin from Google, however there are plugins such as Google+ Comments and WordPress Google Plus Comments that allow you to integrate Google+ comments with your website.
Like Facebook, using Google+ as your only commenting solution limits who can reply on your website and means that comments are not stored on your website database. You should bear this in mind before switching to it.
What Say You?
There are a lot of pros and cons to using an external commenting system. It is therefore important to test out a service before using it on your live website.
For most types of websites, I’d sway towards using either DISQUS or LiveFyre as they offer the most features and support the most social media services. They also sync comments back to your own database, which makes it easier to switch to another solution later (it is worth noting that not storing any comments in your website database will result in the database being smaller).
There are, of course, exceptions. For example, I am using Facebook to heavily promote a new website I am launching, so it makes sense for me to use Facebook for comments as most visitors will be Facebook users.
If you do not like any of the third-party solutions mentioned above, I recommend checking out Comments Evolved as it supports Google +, Facebook, DISQUS and WordPress.com logins. The comment module in Jetpack is also a great option.
As always, please let us know what you think about third-party commenting solutions in the comment area below 🙂
Great list; I’m wondering if there’s any other commenting systems for wordpress in 2016, for example, that allows people to log in with their social media credentials. Any newer / better such commenting system?
I use disqus on my website and sometimes it’s not easy for people to comment because it may be complex or loads slowly….Your help is appreciated.
Thank you for this article. This helped in my research in commenting systems!
Thanks a lot for this great article!
I am surprised that you didn’t give wpDiscuz plugin a mention. When I quit Disqus, I used Facebook comments for a long while, but a few weeks ago switched towpDiscuz. The reason I switched was to get all my comments in local database and make it faster. wpDiscuz extends the native WordPress comment system and makes it better than all 3th party systems but on your local server. So there is no privacy issue anymore and all comments are belongs to you.
Thanks for that compilation. Currently not using any but looking for a good system and thanks to you I think I founded ;).
Does anyone know if it hurts seo rankings to just turn comments off? I get so tired of the spammy messages.
We’re throwing our hat in the ring with a new native WordPress commenting plugin (Epoch) that is realtime, cache friendly, and improves site performance. It’s free, too. Check it out at http://wptavern.com/postmatic-brings-100-realtime-commenting-to-wordpress-with-epoch-plugin
Here are some of the benefits of using Epoch:
1. Both loading comments and submitting comments are incredibly fast. Way faster than Disqus. Faster than any comment system we’ve seen.
2. For the first time someone can say this: running native WordPress commenting will actually increase your site performance.
3. It is fully CDN and cache compatible.
4. Commenting is realtime and updated without page refresh, all the while being incredibly gentle on the server.
5. Epoch offers three ways to integrate with your theme.
a. The first tries to continue using your existing comment template but giving you the performance gains.
b. The second overrides your comment template but inherits typography and colors from your theme.
c. The third totally replaces your comment template ala’ Disqus or Jetpack Comments.
6. Since it uses native commenting it is completely private. No farming of user data. No profiling. Your data stays on your server.
7. It’s compatible with dozens of other commenting plugins to add things like social login, toolbars, attachments, subscriptions…
8. Epoch and Postmatic are integrated to play well together. For example when leaving a comment in Epoch, Postmatic can pop up an optin modal prompting the commenter to subscribe to new post notifications with just one more click.
great post. It is really a detailed comparison of the available famous commenting systems.
But in my opinion, Jetpack should be added in this list. As it provides commenting system, makes a website mobile responsive and has many other customization options
So, it is a better alternative.
Thanks I’m researching commenting systems and this was very helpful
Thanks for the reviews. I think that I want to upgrade my commenting system but am a bit worried about the process. I recently saw a comment section on a blog that allowed you to share your latest post as well, I thought that was cool.
Are there any alternatives to livefyre, so it will be possible to get comments from Twitter/Facebook into the WordPress blog?
I personally like intensedebate and commentluv, because of dofollow.
Great article. I like the Disqus and using it also.
I couldn’t find an answer to this so I am posting the question here.
Maybe some Disqus user cand enlight me.
Let’s asume that I have Disqus installed and I am sharing a permalink on facebook of a post/page by going to facebook a pasting the link of the page/post there.
There, on Facebook, people will comment on the link.
1. Does Disqus get those comments in the database and make them appear also in the comment section of the page/post?
2. If the answer to 1. is yes, then: “Is is possible to pull comments made on the link before disqus was installed?”
3. If the answer to 2. is yes, then: “Where does Disqus search for comments made on links? On a facebook fan page, in groups or on a person profile?”
Thanks a lot for the aswers and Congrats on the article and the comments of it.
Read it 4-5 times before deciding to give Disqus a try.
I like disqus as well. Nice article
I like the Disqus. I went with it at least. My only complaint is if you don’t have or want to use facebook or any of the other social media accts, and don’t want to go through the effort of creating a Disqus account, then if you want to comment your kinda out of luck. I’ve not commented on many many posts because of that reason. If disqus had a comment as guest or whatever, then it’d be perfect.
I use Disqus and really like it, but have one issue that I’m wondering if you can help with. When there are comments on my site through Disqus, they don’t transfer to Facebook (or Google+) and I would like them to in order to help grow my readership.
Is there any way to do this?
I see you can share the post from the Disqus comments section and I imagine that would help, but I don’t want to necessarily have to go in a repost the post on social media every time there is a new comment. Has to be a better way!
Thanks for your time and help!
Kristi @ FindingOurFeet.org
like what Anthony mentions, i removed disqus for performance issue on some of my sites and opted for social comments instead. I was considering commentluv for my wp sites.
Have you seen or heard of Bublaa? It’s got 3 plug-ins – a commenting system, an activity feed, and a forum. I’ve seen it used on Random House’s romanceatrandom.com site and a few others.
Disqus has serious shortcomings. It can be difficult for commenters to login and its algorithm unfortunately learns to mark the wrong things as spam. LiveFyre takes forever to login in my experience. Contrast these with Facebook’s comments, which are easy to use, and Google’s ubiquity.
I’ve tried Intense Debate and Disqus, but after all what I really miss is the default WordPress comment system for Blogspot. Yeah, you may be surprised, but it takes Gravatar, offers nice random default avatars so you can still recognize users without profil if the have a name and an e-mail and it actually is possible to subscribe to comments. That’s all I need.
Regrettably you can’t add the WordPress commenting system to blogger. I think anything else is just gadget, since I don’t really need a complicated system, I just want it work.
Same, I love Disqus. Of course I don’t use WordPress either, so I don’t have as nice of a free native commenting alternative. Still, I always found Disqus ridiculously easy and provided people with a lot of choices of how they want to comment.
yea,,, i think the Discuss will be okay for my blog http://www.techrado.com …. i like the features the discuss possess
So it looks like if you want the best of everything you have to integrate Google+, Facebook and Other login APIs with your own WP comment system. Then you’d have complete control.
I think you overlooked one very good option. The Jetpack plugin has a comment system which addresses some of the concerns such as logging in with social media accounts and getting notified by email when additional comments or posts are made.
The big advantage of using Jetpack comments is page load speed. With Disqus, I got very tired of watching the little arrow spin around waiting for the comment system to load. I have seen this on some very big name blogs which use Disqus so it was not a problem on my blog only.