Accepting comments is the easiest way to interact with the visitors on your website. WordPress has a default commenting feature to allow your visitors to leave comments on blog posts and other content types on your website. But for some reasons, some WordPress users prefer to use Disqus to handle the discussion on blog posts.
What is Disqus and are there better alternatives to it for WordPress?
Disqus is a third-party commenting system which you can install on your website. Not just WordPress, but you can also install Disqus on other blogging tools, including Ghost. When you use Disqus to replace the default commenting feature of WordPress, the submitted comments are stored to the Disqus server. You can manage the comments from the Disqus dashboard. With Disqus, your visitors can add image and animated GIF to their comment apart from text without burdening your server as the content of the comment is stored to Disqus server.
There is also an upvote/downvote feature much like on Reddit.
While Disqus seems offer a better commenting experience on your WordPress site, it is not the best option when it comes to privacy. Since your visitors’ data is stored to the Disqus server, you have no control over it. Also, if you use the free version of Disqus, you will see ads on the comments section on your website.
Best Alternatives to Disqus for WordPress
The default commenting feature of WordPress is more than enough to handle discussions in the form of blog post comments. If you are tired of dealing with spams, you can stop them by creating blocklist, turning off anonymous comment, automatically closing comments on old posts, and so on (Read: How to Stop Spam Comments in WordPress).
If you keep wanting to use a third-party commenting system, here are some of the best alternatives to Disqus you can install on your WordPress site.
ReplyBox is arguably the closest alternative to Disqus. It stores the comments to its server. So, no matter how many comments left by your visitors, it won’t burden your server. ReplyBox claims itself to be a privacy-focused commenting system. It promises to not track activities of your visitors or monetize their data. So, if you are looking for a third-party commenting system for your WordPress site, yet afraid of your visitors’ data of being monetized or tracked, ReplyBox is worth trying. ReplyBox doesn’t offer a free version like Disqus, but you have a chance to try it for free during the offered 14-day trial period. Before you try, you can also see the live demo of the service on this page.
ReplyBox uses Markdown format. Your visitors need to have basic Markdown knowledge if they want to format the comment they want to submit. To minimize spam, ReplyBox is integrated with the service from Akismet. Here are the key features offered by ReplyBox:
- Akismet integration
- Markdown formatting
- Social login
- Custom CSS
- Comment moderation
- Email subscription
Some features such as pin a comment and emoji are under development. ReplyBox supports text content only. So far, it doesn’t allow visitors to add image to their comments.
The concept of JetReviews is a bit different from Disqus and ReplyBox. It doesn’t offer a comment hosting service, meaning that the comments are stored to your server so it may take extra resources on your server. JetReviews is a solution if you want to create a custom commenting system on your WordPress site. Not just for blog posts, but also other content types. For instance, you can use JetReviews to allow your visitors to leave a comment on a listing item if you have a listing site. Apart from reviews, your visitors can also give a star rating to a content.
JetReviews itself is built exclusively for Elementor. In other words, you can only use it if you use Elementor on your WordPress site. You can add JetReviews on a custom template you created with Elementor. Be it a custom template for default post type (blog post) or custom templates for custom post type. JetReviews is a perfect option to be used on a listing website although you can also use it on other website type, including a blog.
3. Thrive Comments
Thrive Comments is a great solution if you want to replace the default commenting feature of WordPress with something that can generate more traffic. It allows you to set a certain action after a visitor leaves a comment. One of which is by displaying a message to encourage your visitors to share the content to their social media accounts. It also allows you to redirect your visitors to a custom welcome page whereby you can add things like your services, featured content, etc. Thrive Comments is available in two options: as a standalone plugin and as a bundle of Thrive Suite — which consists of 9 plugins.
The Bottom Line
WordPress has a default commenting feature to allow you to interact with your visitors via comments, which is more than enough for casual blogging. But as WordPress is a customizable CMS, you can add custom commenting feature if you find its default commenting feature can’t handle your needs. Disqus is a great commenting system if you want your comments to be hosted to external server regardless of the privacy issue you have to compromise with. Or, you can consider the commenting systems above as the alternatives to Disqus for your WordPress website.
Each commenting system above has different focus. ReplyBox is great to build community. JetReviews is perfect to add reviews and star rating. While Thrive Comments is a suited option to generate more traffic.