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Switching Away from Disqus Review – Increased Comments by 304%

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

We switched away from Disqus about 2 months ago. Many of you noticed this change and asked us to write a Disqus review explaining why did we switch. After using Disqus for about a year, we noticed several drawbacks that forced us to switch back to WordPress comments. In this Disqus review, we will highlight the reasons why we switched and how it helped increase our comments by 304%.

Disqus Review - Why we Swithced Away

We started using Disqus in April 2014. We switched away several months ago. We really appreciate your patience and our apologies for taking so long to write about this. We know several of you have been asking about why we switched away from Disqus, so here goes our final Disqus review.

Why Did We Switch away from Disqus?

There were several reasons why we switched away from Disqus.

Inserting Affiliate Links without Permission

Disqus offers publishers ability to earn little extra $$ if you enable Promoted Discovery which shows sponsored stories in the related posts section that Disqus can add.

Since we didn’t want any advertisement from them, we had all the settings unchecked.

However we accidentally ran into what they called a “bug” where Disqus was inserting affiliate links in our blog post content without our permission.

Basically Disqus has a partnership with Viglink which looks through your content and change any link that they’re partnered with to an affiliate link.

We caught this when we noticed Viglink referring sales to OptinMonster from our site WPBeginner. How ironic since both of them are our sites. Hmmm.

After looking into it, we reported the problem to Disqus which they fixed and called it a “bug”.

We were quite disappointed in the way this was handled. We’re not sure how much money Disqus made through this affiliate-injection bug, and how widespread was this. There was no public disclosure announcement about this, and we definitely didn’t get any $$ credit for advertising that they were placing on our site for who knows how long.

That just left a bad taste in the mouth.

For more details on the bug, you can see our video here.

Sponsored Comments

We learned about this through our friend Michael Hyatt when he noticed sponsored comments showing up on his site without his permission.

He reported that you can’t opt-out without assistance from Disqus Support team.

So we reached out to Disqus for an official response regarding this issue.

They confirmed that there was no easy way for an individual to opt-out without reaching out to their support team. Since there were specific criteria for Sponsored Comments, most users will not be affected by this.

Great! As if fighting spam comments weren’t hard enough already, now we have to keep an eye out for Disqus and quickly reach out to them if they enable sponsored comments on our site. No thanks.

Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress sums it up the best in his response to the Disqus announcement: “It’s not comment spam if we’re getting paid for it!”

Note: during this sponsored comments fiasco, we discovered a setting that’s auto-enabled for cookie tracking. It’s located in the “Advanced” settings tab. Make sure you disable it if you’re using Disqus.

Significant Decrease in Comment Engagement

When we enabled Disqus, few readers complained that Disqus makes it harder for guest commenting. Since Disqus was being widely used across several top sites, we didn’t pay huge attention to those complaints.

Overtime, our comment engagement dropped significantly. After disabling Disqus, we saw our users starting to leave more comments. Since the change, we’ve noticed our comments increased by 304%.

Moderation Interface

We were quite excited about the new moderation interface when we switched, but as we used it more, it wasn’t something our editors liked.

Note: This is completely a personal preference, and we’re there are other users who love the Disqus interface.

What we will miss about Disqus?

While we didn’t like some of Disqus’ business practices, there were few things we will surely miss about the platform.

Scalability and Site Performance

Comments are very resource intensive. If you have a lot of comments on a post, then it will take a long time to load.

If a lot of users are leaving comments at the same time, then it would also impact your server load. The advantage of using a third-party commenting system like Disqus was that you shave that server load off from yours and send it their way.

Even if your site is getting attacked by a malicious user, it won’t impact your server because it has to go through Disqus first. (Note: This is only true, if you have disabled Comment Sync).


The best part about Disqus was that comments were stored on a third-party database which is extremely helpful with redundancy. We’ll definitely miss this.

For now if we ever have to do fail-over, we will simply disable comments until our main servers are back. Although not ideal, this is the simplest option that we have.

What’s Next?

For now, we’re using the default WordPress comments interface. In the past, we’ve tried Disqus and Livefyre, but we have made our way back to WordPress comments because it just seems like the best overall option available.

We’re definitely considering using De:Comments, a WordPress commenting plugin that we reviewed earlier.

The other option is to power up the native WordPress comments with a suite of other functionality plugins like Subscribe to Comments, Reply Notifications, Simple Comment Editing, and possibly few more.

We hope this review explained why we switched away from Disqus. We really appreciate your patience and our apologies for taking so long to write about this. We know several of you have been asking about this change.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

203 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
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  2. Moinuddin Waheed says

    Thanks for letting me know that disqus has some these bad practices and techniques in their part.
    I have used disqus for a longer time for my blog comments and never knew that these are the issues with it.
    I will definitely consider other options for wordpress comments. For now switching to wordpress comments.
    Thanks a ton.

  3. Sam Am says

    Great article , I used to have disqus for more than 2 years and I was always wondering why you guys are not using it. these days I was digging deep on my site and found couple of affiliate links redirects that I have never installed or dealt with. I just found out that it is from disqus “and I think you can disable them” but I decided to delete disqus all together since this is not acceptable doing something on my site with out my permission “it was automatically turned on”
    it time to say goodbye disques, and thanks for the great post.

  4. Frank Fajardo says

    I found your blog after doing a search on why Disqus would like to get quite a lot of permission from my Tweeter account, more than most apps that simply need my identity (email and name). Thanks for sharing. It makes me affirm my decision to not sign up.

  5. Erving says

    Interesting. I was researching if going with Discus was the way for my website. Now I will think it thoroughly a bit more.

  6. Kingju Pendalo says

    Thanks for you review, I was wondering about setting Disqus on my website. Looks like I’m not going to go this way.

  7. Abhishek Dorik says

    Hey! Thanks for this, it’s a great read. I too was using disqus on one of my blogs and I totally agree with all the takes in this blog. Interesting!

  8. Muskie says

    What changes did you have to make to your theme to move away from Disqus. It is basically blocked in China and slows my whole website down so I think it has to go given how long I’ve lived in China.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      As our theme is a custom theme, we had to ensure we had a comments template but for most themes, there should be a comments template already.


      • Muskie says

        I plan to upgrade to WordPress 5 and then update my theme. Disqus has been blocked for two years in China it has to go if you want anyone in China to leave a comment on your blog.

  9. Mathukutty P. V. says

    You said you are using wordpress native comment, but this comment box is different than my native comment box. Also could not find subscribe option. Why this change? One visitor complained the comment box below comments is difficult to access, and hence box should be above comments.

  10. Tim says

    Links to comments never, ever worked in Disqus. The software just plain sucks. Finding older comments is incredibly tedious.

  11. Taylor says

    I “Happened” across this article and am very glad I read it, along with numerous comments shared.

    I do NOT ever recall doing a “thing” with Disqus, and yet they had an account on me, linked to FB that was so old it had an email address I have not used in AGES, as in probably 7 yrs or. more? I shut it down tonight, but not sure that really means a thing. I never register anything with my FB account, ever! So this is interesting that they had it. Maybe somehow way back when I did, is all I can think of.

    I am hoping closing the account is the same as also rejecting them of any rights to access any of my information, or to share such information in part or in whole. But I don’t know. (??) Anyone know?

    When I go to make a comment in some sites, they ask for my email and they want you to click a box giving consent for them to have access to your whole life and your friends … These apps do NOT need my friend’s lists, contacts, location(s), phone number, place of work, my whole life…its none of their business, just so I can make a comment? So I close the window and move on, no comment made. Many of us move on. But in time I’m betting that will continue to change, which for me is alarming.

    Privacy matters! I fear for the next few generations as they further and further remove them from any understanding of the value of privacy and their rights to it.

    While I do have a Company website we have as of yet to place anything up that allows for “commenting”. in our blog/article section because we work in Psychiatric care and Human Rights needs for marginalized populations that are heavily stigmatized, to begin with.

    The last thing I want any of those we serve seeing is all the judgemental comments and crudeness that has already done enough damage to their healing process. So as a company in our field of work, we are torn on how to handle this and continue to debate what to do. We want people to have a voice and place to share their views appropriately, and give support to those who would gain from it, while educating the communities that are the foundation to the world we live in.

    A rational conversation would be great! Reality has shown me that is nearly impossible. There is the ideal world, then there is a reality.

    If there is a really good way to have comments done filtered from the spam and the hate, I’d love to know what it is. Yes, we do use Word Press but I don’t know it inside and out. I plan to explore plugins, etc. but frankly it seems to me that the time consumption of self-monitoring of comments would be extremely time-consuming.

    Thank you for writing the article, it did lead me to more information. and awareness of some complexities and even some tools I was unaware of. If I had not crossed this article, I’d have not even known I was in their system! That’s scary. So thank you!

  12. Khary says

    I recently removed the plug in after all my comments seem to have disappeared. Then i did an import and comments reappeared, but greyed out. In frustration in disabled the plug in and voila trouble free comments. Wouldnt ever use that program again.

  13. Val says

    I was about to switch from Disqus to WP native comments, but then I realize that in order to have Akismet spam protection there, I have to pay $5/month for that. With Disqus spam protection is included free. And I have not had ad problems that I know of. Are you paying for Akismet or is there another option? Thank you

  14. Ed says

    I’m so glad you posted this. Unfortunately, I’m just now seeing it after having the worst experiences with them. One thing, I can tell you, that made me leave Disqus is the way they’ve made it really easy to block individual voices that don’t agree with the status quo. I posted a comment on NPR that they didn’t like, and they marked it spam. Next thing I know, after posting on another site, my comment got marked as spam again. That makes it sound like it’s just me being a troll or something, I know, but I’m not. I’m just not someone who’ll say whatever it is that people want to hear instead of a dissenting opinion. Now, every time I post a comment, I have to go through a process where I’m more likely to get marked as a spammer because of these past two instances. As a result, I don’t use Disqus to discuss anything–but they did leave me filled with disgust.

  15. John S says

    I’ve read some sketchy stuff Disqus was doing before. As a Disqus contributor I was researching Disqus and came upon your experience with Disqus. I have to rethink myself using such a service that seems to do things a bit shady and underhanded. I don’t like Disqus because it tends to allow some really derogatory users who continue to berate other user comments without any ramifications. For me Disqus as sort of done a disservice to the web comment services by becoming more a negative then a positive way to exchange opinions and ideals.

  16. John says

    Disqust wants to see my friends list and many other things in order to become their customer? Really? And it told me it found my secret account (everyone’s entitled to privacy) and asked me whether I wanted disqust to let everyone know about it and tie it up with my public profile? Seriously? Does Yelp have a buddy at Disqust? Cause Yelp is buddies with Twitter, which in turn allows Yelp president to freely spy on everyone’s comments at Twitter (no kidding). I find difficult to post even using the very Disqusting account. And I never allow them to connect with my Gmail, Facebook etc. accounts. Once Disqust blocked me from posting on Disqust and exposed to me that they knew everything about me and my posts. Nothing illegal on my side and who is Disqust, a Scotland Yard?

  17. Jess Pacheco says

    This is some good insight. I actually came across this on my search for why my Disqus comments weren’t loading at the footer of my newest blog post. So, it seems like a lot of folks have encountered my issue with no solution.

  18. Vincenzo says

    “When we enabled Disqus, few readers complained that Disqus makes it harder for guest commenting.” This is the main reason why I hate disquis.

  19. Peter says

    This is a great article. Thank you for sharing. I was about to pay for Disqus but this has raised a red flag. Again, thank you.

  20. Trina says

    I just stumbled upon this while I was just about to download the disqus plug in. I am glad I read it.
    I have a few questions, at the moment I have a facebook plugin but my normal wordpress comment box is underneath. But I keep getting people trying to advertise in the wordpress comment box and it’s pretty annoying. I primarily work on facebook… would you suggest keeping the facebook plugin? I would like people to post from all platforms. Also, how do I moderate the comments?
    Sorry for all the questions, I am relatively new to this. Many thanks

  21. Ramin Faizy says

    Thanks for this great post i wanted to use disqus for my site but after this great post i will not use that thanks a lot

  22. Lisa says

    Thank you for the update. As a now -post article former Disqus user- I appreciate knowing their deceptive practices and absolutely appreciate the ease and security in which I can now comment.

  23. hipo says

    That’s exactly the reason why since some time ago I decided not to use Disqus at all.


  24. Natalie says

    Would I loose all comments that were left on my site via Disqus if I switch to regular wordpress comments?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Natalie,

      No, if you have been using the official Disqus comment system plugin in WordPress, then all your Disqus comments will be synced with your WordPress database. You can view them by visiting the Comments page in WordPress admin area.


  25. Randy says

    Hey WPbeginner,

    How do you make your wordpress native comments look like this? I tried using native wordpress and it looks hideous, also background is grayish and people can’t reply to each other’s comments. Any idea how you made yours look the way is now? Please help, would love to use something alike. Thanks

  26. Knut Holt says

    Disquss are stedily more taking the role of being a service for global eensorship, surveillance and spam on behalf of their commersial partners and the constellation commonly called the “deep state” which is also a partner.

    They sensor stedily more any comment that goes against the interests of these partners and any spam, according to a wide definition, that might compete with their parners. They do so globally and steadily more also globally ban people that issue comments not strictly according to maintream consensus.

    But simultaneously they take the freedom to act as a grand scale spammer themselves.

    What I said here I already knew, but this article also shows that Disquss is involved in downright economical Fraud ny changing affiliate links. But I cannot say I am surprized.

    Be aware that this activity takes a lot of computational resources from website owners, so that the owners get higher costs and lose income at every corner.

    • Tim says

      It’s there on their website:
      Disqus collects anonymous data from you in order to deliver better targeted content and advertising.

    • Dave Ellis says

      Pretty interesting reading. I was thinking 0f using Disqus, but on reading your article, I am having second thoughts.

  27. Pat Slice says

    I have canceled my Disqus account. Not that I don’t believe in open comment I found that the oarticipants blewback so hard and no real reason. I somestimes think disqus participants were overly irate. Maybe I am sensitive but I do believe that we should be able voice our opinions without being personally and viciously attacked.

  28. Matt Hutson says

    I just signed up for Disqus. After reading your post I’m a little skeptical but then again my blog hasn’t got many comments so I’m willing to try something new to see if it works. Thanks for all the good information!

  29. Tom Tom says

    DISQUS is really shady…..

    Recently it became impossible for me to post using the DISQUS since they started “building walls” and doing really creepy things such as displaying my business email and my password (which I never used with them) everywhere. So that way they let me know that they know everything about me and who I am and what my business is etc. etc. And I don’t give rat’s behind. They do that even if I log out, delete cookies, clear the cache etc. They must have stole that information from Facebook etc. Never let DISQUST anywhere close to your email or your Facebook etc. They were illegally spying on me, my friends, my communications, my posts and they decided to make posting on DISQUST for me a living hell, so I quit them every time I see DISQUS I just close the browser for that site even if it is a shopping site or site with ads where I may clocik on, as soon as DISQUST shows up, I shut the browser down immediately. I developed such a habit. DISQUS = SHUTDOWN. And now I blocked their domain and IP addresses from my PC.

    Also, BEWARE, DISQUS is working with Twitter and Yelp spying on your tweets by forwarding your tweets to themselves.

  30. Umer Iftikhar says

    Alright! But I just want to know few more things. I am thinking to switch from Disqus since I can see drop in comments from my readers. Further what options would you recommend to stop spam? Secondly How did you switch and took all those comments back to your wordpress from Disqus?

    In the last what comment system you are now using?

    Is Jetpack good?

  31. Chris Curley says

    I simply refuse to sign up for disqus and simply don’t comment on websites that require me to do so.Sometimes I feel like correcting an opinion I feel to have deep factual flaws,however my input isn’t that necessary that I need to be forced to go through the steps required by disqus and I too cringe when I see their eblem

    • Tim says

      Do you refuse to sign up to any website to leave comments? For example if this site didn’t allow anonymous and you had to creat an account, would you?

      • Kat says

        That’s a bit like asking if you’d refuse to get an account on Vimeo, to validate your refusal to get a Youtube account. There are plenty of websites that require you sign up to leave a comment, but few have the history of data breach, trolls and doxxing threats that Disqus has. They have a reputation, and it’s well deserved.

        And yes, I speak from both research and personal experience. After deleting a personal-use account several years ago, I later tried to set up a very carefully limited account for my professional profile. I eventually deleted that one too – it just wasn’t worth the intrusions.

        I have joined many websites in order to leave a single comment, if they’re not asking for more information than I’m willing to pony up. But if I see Disqus is their comment system, I not only will not comment, I will sometimes go out of my way to let the site owner’s know that having Disqus as their commenting tool is the very reason they’re getting no engagement from me and probably others. Because I am as quick to advocate for tools that I believe stimulate active engagement, as advocating against those that interfere with engagement.

  32. Tim says

    Thanks for the post. Would like to have more info on why you saw a 304% increase in comment participation.

    This is what’s most interesting to me.

    Is disqus just another Bay Area tech bubble startup? Or is there value?

    According to your headline you can see a 304% increase in commenting when getting rid of them

    What do you think the reasons for this are?

  33. Mario says


    You are still running native WordPress comments I presume?

    Keeping it that way?

    Is the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.” standard WordPress?

  34. nickwalt says

    I really don’t understand why WordPress haven’t treated comments like a first-class citizen and made the built-in technology (sans-plugin) a truly excellent experience (for site admins and users).

    So often we read about “coming back to WordPress comments” but why aren’t they so good that nobody wants to leave in the first place? Why? Why are site developers still going around in circles looking for a decent commenting technology for WordPress? Why aren’t Automattic developing a truly innovative comment technology for their platform?

  35. Rick says

    Disqus has MAJOR problems IMO. I previously deleted a Disqus account because they refuse to take action against trolls that post extremely crude, profane and vulgar comments in comment sections. I had one that started stalking me looking for any comments I made, and then attacking me (personally) over them.

    I just tried to sign up a new account with Disqus and found that I had to “verify” my account. Surprise, when I clicked on the verify button, it was blocked by the ‘hosts’ file in my computer that blocks access to know Spam/Attack sites. In this case, it was

    So… I just deleted the new account I never validated. Show me ads when I visit your site. DON’T use a known spammer that is going to flood my mailbox with crap just so I can make comments as Disqus appears to be doing.

  36. Trilby O'Feral says

    I don’t have a website, I’m speaking purely from a commenter’s point of view. Disqus seems to have many problems, the worst one being that notifications of new replies aren’t showing up. I take part in a Disqus channel page and when 3-4 of us are chatting, it’s annoying to have to keep refreshing the page to see new replies/comments. Then you have to check the times to see which ones are new. It puts a damper on things. The problem is intermittent throughout the day.

    I’m sorry for the friend who created the page, but it’s really too difficult to follow and participate in discussions so I, as well as others, don’t go there much now. I’ve been encouraging her to switch to WordPress, I hope she does. Or at least finds a better alternative to Disqus.

    Thanks for a good article.

  37. Shri says

    Thanks for detailed review. I was planning to add it to my blog. Now I am rethink and research other reviews before implementing it.

  38. D.J. says

    I did some reading about Disqus vs. native WP, etc., some weeks ago now. Wasn’t intending to do more tonight, but came across this article while searching on how to monetize Disqus.

    I haven’t even started yet and am just trying to do preliminary research before publishing this way.

    In my earlier readings, it had seemed that Disqus was a good way to go, but this article and the comments make me wonder now.

    Is it true that there is no monetization available from them unless you have at least 10,000 avg monthly page views? Also, what some have posted below about the sharp decline in revenue is not encouraging.

    The one thing, however, which still makes me suspect Disqus is a good option is the spam factor. From the readings I did earlier, it seems that people agree with the anti-Spam features of Disqus are great and you hardly ever have to deal with spam at all with Disqus. With native WP, however, it seems people agree that spam is a HUGE problem and you can have to spend a lot of time and energy dealing with it.

  39. Tim says


    after reading this article a bit further I do agree with the signup process making it more difficult to just go ahead and comment on different posts. After working in the PSM Plus industry it’s nice to read helpful articles like this on wordpress and commenting ingeneral.

  40. Leanette says

    I’ve grown to hate Disqus.

    Their developer/moderator team is something to be desired. Sucks that (you) the creator must go through the (development) team in order to make any channel changes (logo/image). And you cannot delete/remove your old channel either. Ridiculous.

  41. Nate Balcom says

    I was considering Discus as I hadn’t used it before and have noticed it being used on a lot of sites I visit. So there must be an upside..right?

    I like the idea that you login once and you can post anywhere there is a Discus commenting system, but I was afraid it might dissuade people from posting as it didn’t allow for back links.

    This can also be a problem with spammers, but as I moderate my comments before they’re posted this isn’t an issue. I don’t get enough comments on my site as it is and I don’t want to give visitors another reason to not communicate.

    I’m currently using default WordPress comments and am thinking I’m going to stick with them. This article has been helpful.

    • John Carroll says

      (my last message: request removal of post on censorship)

      I guess (please) disregard (or remove) my post about being censored at Disqus since even under a pseudonym, it wouldn’t be hard for someone Disqus-connected to figure out who posted it. They’re still doing it to me (someone else mentioned it happening to them, I replied it happens to me, and my post went *poof* after a few minutes, but theirs didn’t in this case). I hope something good comes of this and websites switch away from that garbage service (IMO). Thanks for your time.

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