Should You Use a Third Party Commenting System on Your WordPress Blog? (A Look At the Pros and Cons of WordPress, Disqus, and Facebook Comments)

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Should You Use a Third-Party Commenting System on Your WordPress Blog? (A Look At the Pros and Cons of WordPress, Disqus, and Facebook Comments)

When it comes to your blog, the decision whether or not to allow comments is a big one. And if decide to go with comments, you then have to decide which commenting system you’ll use. WordPress by default comes with a great commenting system, but maybe you’re looking for additional features.

That’s where a third party commenting system comes in. Systems such as Disqus and Facebook comments provide a different experience for you and your commenters. Whether or not you use such a third-party commenting system is up to you and what you’re looking for. Below I’ve outlined the pros and cons of the default WordPress system, in addition to Disqus, and Facebook comments so you can make a choice that’s right for you.

Default WordPress Comments

The default comment system that comes with WordPress is the most popular choice and for good reason. It’s already built into your site and it’s ready to go right out of the box. But it is lacking some features that you can get from other comment systems.

Pros

Easy to setup – The default WordPress commenting system is already there, so it requires no additional work on your end.

Can be customized – You have complete control over how your comments are displayed, so they’ll blend seamlessly with your site.

No additional accounts required – Commenters don’t need to sign up for an account just to leave a comment on your site. They just need to leave their name and email, that’s it.

Fast loading – Because WordPress comments are part of your site, they don’t require external calls to load your comments, so they’ll load quickly.

Cons

No reply notification – When a comment is replied to, a commenter has no idea unless they return to your site. This can be remedied by installing a plugin like Comment Reply Notification, but it’s not standard right out of the box.

Requires commenters to leave info each time – Every time a commenter wants to comment on your site, they have to enter their info, which can quickly get annoying if they’re commenting on multiple sites/posts.

Lots of spam – Because a person is only required to enter their name and email, it’s quite easy for spammers (and trolls) to take over your comment section.

Disqus

Pronounced “discuss,” Disqus is a third-party commenting system that allows you to build a community around your site. It has a bunch of great features that makes it better than the default WordPress comment system, but like every system, it’s not perfect.

Pros

Reduces spam comments – Because Disqus requires commenters to sign up for an account or sign in via another network, spam comments are slim.

Reply notifications – Commenters receive notifications when their comments are replied to, which encourages continued discussion.

Various sign in options – Commenters are offered a variety of sign in options, so they can quickly sign in using Twitter or Facebook.

Moderation via email – Odds are you check your email more frequently than you do your site. Disqus allows you to moderate and reply to comments right from your inbox so you can keep the discussion going while you’re on the go.

Syncs with WordPress database – If you decide to stop using Disqus or if they stop their service, your blog’s comments are saved to your database so you won’t lose any discussions.

Cons

Not easy to click through to site – Unlike your site’s default commenting system, a commenter’s name isn’t linked to their site. Instead, you’ll have to click over to their profile just to pay them a visit.

Few customization options – The customization options for Disqus are limited. You only have a choice between a light or dark theme Disqus comments should inherit some styles from your site, such as link colors, but that’s about as good as it gets.

Requires an account – In order to leave a comment you must either create a Disqus account or sign in via another social network.

Facebook

The Facebook commenting system allows commenters to quickly leave comments on your site via their Facebook profile, which makes commenting ridiculously quick and easy. However, there are quite a bit of cons, so definitely make sure this system meets your needs before making a decision.

Pros

Higher quality comments – Since each comment is tied to the commenter’s full name and Facebook profile, odds are you’ll get better comments. That also means the amount of trolls and spam comments will be reduced.

Easy to comment – People are likely already signed into Facebook, which makes commenting a breeze.

Encourages sharing – Every comment provides an opportunity for your post to be shared on Facebook, which is always a good thing.

Reply notifications – When a commenter is replied to, they’ll be notified, which encourages the discussion to continue.

Cons

Discourages non-Facebook users – Since you’re required to login via Facebook, those without Facebook accounts won’t be able to comment.

Discourages other users – Some people just aren’t comfortable leaving comments and having them linked to their Facebook account, regardless of the quality of the comment.

Won’t match your site’s design – Facebook comments include Facebook’s branding, and while that makes it instantly recognizable as being related to Facebook, it won’t match your site’s design. And there’s no way to customize it to make it match.

Requires some tech savviness to setup – Unlike the default commenting system, you’ll have to configure Facebook comments in order for them to work properly. This involves going to the Facebook developer site and creating an app, then installing code or using a plugin to display the comments on your site.

Not easy to click through to site – Most people who comment on blogs have a blog of their own, but with Facebook comments, you probably won’t know that as their names are linked to their Facebook profiles, not their website.

The future of your comments is in Facebook’s hands – What happens if Facebook goes the way of MySpace or they decide to no longer support comments? Say goodbye to your comments.

What commenting system do you use? Why? As a commenter, are there any commenting systems you simply will not use? Why?

30 thoughts on “Should You Use a Third Party Commenting System on Your WordPress Blog? (A Look At the Pros and Cons of WordPress, Disqus, and Facebook Comments)”

  1. I only ever use and recommend the default commenting system. It’s simple and easy.

    Plus, if you have your caching configured correctly, then when someone comments their details are remembered on your site (with a cookie). So they don’t actually need to be entered every time.

    Plus, the default system is obviously open source, like the rest of WordPress. So you can make the system as simple or complicated as you want. If you want tons of bells and whistles, those can be added with plugins!

    1. I’m a fan of the default WP system as well. I can see why some people prefer DIsqus, but I like to keep it simple.

  2. I use Disqus and I wouldn’t change it at all. As a commenter I prefer leaving comments in blogs that use this system, since I don’t have to fill out a form every time and I can receive a notification if the owner of the site replies to me.

    I have a very busy life atm, so I think it’s a waste of time to have to fill out WordPress forms and bookmark the posts to remember myself to check out for a possible reply (that might not happen sometimes). I’m sorry about that, but I basically leave comments only where I see Disqus at these days. (With some exceptions :))

    1. Definitely good reasons to use Disqus! And you’re on Blogger, right? Disqus is a great choice for Blogger blogs. Their default commenting system is horrible, in my opinion.

  3. Thanks for this article. I’m building my blog so this helped me. But I looked to find comment reply notification and can’t download it.
    It has a this warning
    ” This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.”
    Am I doing something wrong to get it?
    Thank you for helping me building a better blog.

    1. It’s perfectly fine to download! For some plugins, it’s not good if it hasn’t been updated. But in this case, there hasn’t been a reason for it to be updated. It still works wonderfully. In fact I’ve been using it on my site for a few years now 🙂

    1. Yeah, that’s a common problem. I should add it to the post. I’d imagine it’s only a matter of time before they fix it. I mean, so much blog reading now occurs on mobile it’d be stupid of them not to.

  4. I use Disqus. As a reader, it’s the easiest way for me to leave a comment since I logged in once, like a year ago, and am now logged in on every site using it. You really can’t beat that. I also like the dashboard and emails for discovering occasional new posts from blogs I’ve commented at but am not really interested in subscribing to at the moment.

    And as a blogger, Disqus did wonders for my blog comments. I pretty much wasn’t getting any, ever. After switching and making no other changes to the site, I started getting several comments per week, even on the old posts that I’d thought were “commenting duds.” I’m not sure if it’s because Disqus is suggesting it to my readers via their dashboard or email digests, or just the ease of use, but it worked.

    1. I bet it has to do with people being lazy. It’s bad, but sometimes I’ve been too lazy to leave a comment just because I don’t want to type in my info haha. But DIsqus does have a great community setup, so maybe that has something to do with it!

      1. Definitely! I think it works so well because it’s its own community, but still completely dependent on blog comments. Where Facebook commenting has a built-in community as well, but it’s all of Facebook. And 1. people can easily get distracted by that, and 2. a lot of personal info is then tied to our comments.

        So Disqus is kind of like Goldilocks’ “just right” haha.

  5. Right now, I use the default WordPress comments. I had considered changing to Disqus because so many blogs use it. This post gave me a lot to think about. I definitely won’t be using Facebook comments though. It sounds too complicated.

    1. I’ve considered switching to Disqus as well, but decided to stay with WP. No system’s perfect, so it’s definitely important to think it over and decide what you need 🙂

  6. I only use Disqus, which helps me especially because I’ve moved blogging platforms several times 😉
    But seriously, the main reason I use Disqus is reply notifications. I can’t count the number of times I’ve left a really nice comment on a blog and then forgot about that blog entirely—because I never knew if I got a response or not!
    Default Squarespace comments have this problem, too, and it’s a big turnoff. Commenting is fleeting—people probably aren’t going to check back to your blog post to see if you responded or not. Getting into people’s email inboxes is the way to do it!

    1. That is one thing I never understood — why commenting systems never have notifications by default. It doesn’t make any sense.

      I’m not a big fan of Squarespace comments either. If the blogger turns off anonymous comments (which I completely get why they would), then I’m forced to log in just to comment.

  7. I’ve thought about changing to Disqus to encourage more conversations in the comments of my blog but I think I’ll continue to stick with WordPress comments. One of my biggest problems was spam but I’ve recently installed a plugin to help with that so it’s no longer a problem!

    1. Same here. I’m all about making it easy for people to comment, but that would be the only reason for me to switch. The cons outweigh that one pro.

  8. I use Disqus and am very happy with it! It’s so much easier to leave comments, and frankly, alot of times if I have to fill out my info on someone’s default comment system I’ll end up deciding against commenting after all.

  9. I love the default commenting system as it’s easiest to style and extend with plugins. I will not comment on a blog using Facebook; I think that those comments (when they end up on Facebook) can be taken out of context, so it just looks weird outside of the blog.

    1. As a designer, I hate not being able to style something the way I want! And I definitely agree about Facebook commenting.

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