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How to Add a GDPR Comment Privacy Opt-in Checkbox in WordPress

Do you want to add a comment privacy optin checkbox in WordPress? European Union’s new GDPR law requires explicit consent for storing user’s personal information. If you have comments enabled on your website, then you need to add a comment privacy checkbox to comply with the new law. In this article, we will show you how to add a GDPR comment privacy opt-in checkbox in WordPress.

How to add comment privacy optin checkbox in WordPress

When and Why Add a Comment Privacy Optin Checkbox in WordPress?

Recently, a new European Union law called GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation) has become effective. The purpose of this law is to give EU citizens control over their personal data and change the data privacy approach of organizations across the world.

To learn more, see our ultimate guide to WordPress and GDPR compliance which answers all your questions in plain English.

WordPress recently addressed GDPR compliance in the latest 4.9.6 release. If you haven’t updated yet, then you need to immediately update to the latest WordPress version.

One of the ways WordPress stores and uses personal information is in the comment form. When a user leaves a comment on your website, their name, email address, and website information is stored in a browser cookie. This cookie allows WordPress to automatically fill in user’s information in the comment form on their next visit.

With WordPress 4.9.6, the default WordPress comment form will now show a comment privacy opt-in checkbox. All WordPress themes that use the default WordPress comment form will now automatically show this checkbox.

Comment privacy checkbox in default WordPress comment form

If your site is showing the comment privacy checkbox, then you don’t need to read further. However if the comment checkbox is not showing on your site, then you need to continue reading, and we will show you how to add comment privacy checkbox in WordPress.

Adding Comment Privacy Optin Checkbox in WordPress

First, you need to make sure that you are using the latest version of WordPress and your theme. Simply go to Dashboard » Updates page to check for updates.

Check for WordPress and theme updates

If an update is available for your current theme or WordPress, then go ahead and install it. Next, check your website’s comment form to see if the update added the comment privacy checkbox.

If both your theme and WordPress are up to date, and you still can’t see the comment privacy checkbox, then this means that your WordPress theme is overriding the default WordPress comment form.

You can ask your theme author to fix this issue by opening a support ticket. You can also try to fix it yourself until your theme author releases an update.

There are two ways you can add the comment privacy checkbox to your WordPress theme. We will show you both methods, and you can try the one that works for you.

Both methods require you to add code to your WordPress theme files. If you haven’t done this before, then see our guide on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

Method 1. Add comment privacy checkbox to your theme’s comment form

This method is recommended because it tries to protect your theme’s comment form style and layout.

First, you will need to find the code used to override the default WordPress comment form. Normally, you can find it in the comments.php or functions.php file in your theme folder.

You will be looking for a code using the 'comment_form_default_fields' filter. This filter is used by themes to override the default WordPress comment form.

It will have lines for all of your comment form fields in a specific format. Here is an example code to give you an idea of what you would be looking for:

$comments_args = array(
	        // change the title of send button 
	        'label_submit'=> esc_html(__('Post Comments','themename')),
	        // change the title of the reply section
	        'title_reply'=> esc_html(__('Leave a Comment','themename')),
	        // redefine your own textarea (the comment body)
	        'comment_field' => ' 
	        <div class="form-group"><div class="input-field"><textarea class="materialize-textarea" type="text" rows="10" id="textarea1" name="comment" aria-required="true"></textarea></div></div>',

	        'fields' => apply_filters( 'comment_form_default_fields', array(
			    'author' =>'' .
			      '<div><div class="input-field">' .
			      '<input class="validate" id="name" name="author" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Name','themename')) .'" type="text" value="' . esc_attr( $commenter['comment_author'] ) .
			      '" size="30"' . $aria_req . ' /></div></div>',

			    'email' =>'' .
			      '<div><div class="input-field">' .
			      '<input class="validate" id="email" name="email" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Email','themename')) .'" type="email" value="' . esc_attr(  $commenter['comment_author_email'] ) .
			      '" size="30"' . $aria_req . ' /></div></div>',

			    'url' =>'' .
			      '<div class="form-group">'.
			      '<div><div class="input-field"><input class="validate" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Website','themename')) .'" id="url" name="url" type="text" value="' . esc_attr( $commenter['comment_author_url'] ) .
			      '" size="30" /></div></div>',
			    )
		    ),
	    );

	comment_form($comments_args); 	?> 

In this code, you can notice that comment_form_default_fields filter is used to modify the author, email, and URL fields. Inside the array, it uses the following format to display each field:

'fieldname' => 'HTML code to display the field', 
'anotherfield' => 'HTML code to display the field', 

We will add the comment privacy optin checkbox field towards the end. Here is what our code will look like now:

$comments_args = array(
	        // change the title of send button 
	        'label_submit'=> esc_html(__('Post Comments','themename')),
	        // change the title of the reply section
	        'title_reply'=> esc_html(__('Leave a Comment','themename')),
	        // redefine your own textarea (the comment body)
	        'comment_field' => ' 
	        <div class="form-group"><div class="input-field"><textarea class="materialize-textarea" type="text" rows="10" id="textarea1" name="comment" aria-required="true"></textarea></div></div>',

	        'fields' => apply_filters( 'comment_form_default_fields', array(
			    'author' =>'' .
			      '<div><div class="input-field">' .
			      '<input class="validate" id="name" name="author" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Name','themename')) .'" type="text" value="' . esc_attr( $commenter['comment_author'] ) .
			      '" size="30"' . $aria_req . ' /></div></div>',

			    'email' =>'' .
			      '<div><div class="input-field">' .
			      '<input class="validate" id="email" name="email" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Email','themename')) .'" type="email" value="' . esc_attr(  $commenter['comment_author_email'] ) .
			      '" size="30"' . $aria_req . ' /></div></div>',

			    'url' =>'' .
			      '<div class="form-group">'.
			      '<div><div class="input-field"><input class="validate" placeholder="'. esc_attr(__('Website','themename')) .'" id="url" name="url" type="text" value="' . esc_attr( $commenter['comment_author_url'] ) .
			      '" size="30" /></div></div>',

// Now we will add our new privacy checkbox optin

				'cookies' => '<p class="comment-form-cookies-consent"><input id="wp-comment-cookies-consent" name="wp-comment-cookies-consent" type="checkbox" value="yes"' . $consent . ' />' .
	                                         '<label for="wp-comment-cookies-consent">' . __( 'Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.' ) . '</label></p>',
			    )
		    ),
	    );

	comment_form($comments_args); 	?> 

Privacy checkbox in a custom WordPress comment form

Method 2. Replacing your theme’s comment form with WordPress default

This method simply replaces your theme’s comment form with the default WordPress comment form. Using this method can affect your comment form’s appearance, and you may have to use custom CSS to style your comment form.

Edit your theme’s comments.php file and look for the line with the comment_form() function. Your theme will have a defined arguments, function, or a template inside it to load your theme’s custom comment form. Your comment_form line will look something like this:

<?php comment_form( custom_comment_form_function() ); ?>

You will need to replace it with the following line:

<?php comment_form(); ?>

Don’t forget to save your changes and visit your website. You will now see the default WordPress comment form with the comment privacy optin checkbox.

Default WordPress comment form

We hope this article helped you learn how to add the GDPR comment privacy optin checkbox in WordPress. You may also want to see our tips on getting more comments on your WordPress blog posts.

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Reader Interactions

31 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Got this working and checked that the cookie was being created as expected, but when I browse away from the blog page and then return to it, I expected the form values to be pre-populated with the values stored in the cookie, but this doesn’t happen and the fields are left blank! I think I assumed that the line $commenter = wp_get_current_commenter(); and subsequent lines esc_attr( $commenter[‘comment_author_url’] ) etc. would retrieve the stored field values from the cookie. Have I missed something, or am I msundersatding the way the checkbox is supposed to work?

  2. I normally find great info on your site, but I have to speak up and say in this case, this is not accurate to be ready for GDPR, you need get consent to save their data for the comment/email/name/ip etc in your website database, whether or not they choose to save their details in a cookie for faster commenting at a later time.

    I used css to hide this checkmark and installed a GDPR plugin, unfortunately now that plugin is not prompting people that they have to checkmark to leave their comment, so now we are losing comments. What’s also frustrating is that it appears for all users with no option to show only for EU. Another frustration is that with hiding the wordpress added checkmark, now the users do not see “your comment is awaiting moderation”.

  3. What if I don’t want the commenters to store a cookie with their personal data at all? Is there a way to deactivate the whole process and to hide this cookie consent for good?

  4. What if the code is there in my theme already? It’s still not showing up, but it has each of the fields there.

  5. Thx for the guide,

    but everything described doesn’t seem to be possible, if it’s a wordpress.com page (free/no plan).

    There is no updating and there is nothing in the settings to add an opt-in check box or any other specific code. The only thing in the settings, that implies a possibility to achieve GDPR-compliance is to add a short info, that data will be provided to and stored at automaticc with a link to their privacy disclaimer. Furthermore, plug-ins and access via ftp can not be used.

    Any suggestions on how to include an opt-in check box for users who only use the free wordpress.com solution?
    Or is it not even needed due to the fact that user access to the web space is only possible via the rather limited wordpress configuration page – or due to any other means?

  6. Hello, I was able to add this in my theme and it works, but there is one problem. I check consent box. Next time, my name and email are filled in, but I have to check consent box again. In default WP theme, if I check remember name, email fields box once, next time it comes checked by default. Is there problem with my theme or this code can be improved?

  7. Hey there! Great instruction! I am trying to get some sites GDPR compliant as well.

    I was wondering about Genesis websites, I couldn’t find this code in either comments.php OR functions.php so I first tried loading the code from Method 1 in via Simple Hooks after the comment form then I used the code you gave to Mateja in my functions.php. Both gave me a checkbox but… is it supposed to do anything else? Is there somewhere that I can see whether a commenter has checked this box? Thanks in advance for any help.

    Jim

  8. Unfortunately I cannot apply any of the mentioned solutions as none of the CSS can be found. Contacted the comoany I got my theme from, hope they can help.

  9. Hi,
    I was not helped by Method 1 and Method 2.
      I could not find the code I needed to edit.

    I’m using the “publisher” (themeforest) template.

    Can you tell me how to configure the “publisher” template?
    Thank you

    • Hi Alexander,

      Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to come up with a solution for each theme as they use different methods. It would be best to contact your theme developer for support.

      Admin

  10. I also got the “Undefined variable: consent” message when I tried to do this, although the checkbox appeared along with the message.

  11. Hi, I disabled the Jetpack comment form and now I can see the checkbox. All good. BUT, I don’t like how the text looks like….save my name, address and so on…..I would like to insert my own text with a link to the privacy policy,,,,,….is that possible? and how I do that? Thank you

    • Hi Mateja,

      You can try this code in your theme’s functions.php file. You’ll be able to change the label text for the consent checkbox.

      function wpb_comments_privacy($arg) {
         
        $arg['cookies'] = '<p class="comment-form-cookies-consent"><input id="wp-comment-cookies-consent" name="wp-comment-cookies-consent" type="checkbox" value="yes"' . $consent . ' />' .
                                                   '<label for="wp-comment-cookies-consent">' . __( 'Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.' ) . '</label></p>';
           
        return $arg;
      }
       
      add_filter('comment_form_default_fields', 'wpb_comments_privacy');
      

      Admin

  12. Thank you sir. I have applied the 1st method. Its working but after inserting the code some of the code elements also shown with the checkbox and message which I manually removed. Is it OK? Now its working fine but the checkbox is showing above the message and not inline. How I can inline both the checkbox and the message.

    • Hi Kamran,

      No, there is probably something missing in the code. Most likely a quote or a php start or end tag. Carefully review the code to make sure that all quotes are closed and code is properly formatted.

      For styling you will need to use custom CSS to adjust the field.

      Admin

  13. Ok, I am ignorant about adding code. I am using the K2 theme, which does not seem to have the updated comments form. I installed Code Snippets, but I don’t understand – does it just know where to put the snippet? I looked at the comments code in the theme files, but it doesn’t look anything like your example here. In fact it has 189 lines of code for comments. Do I just add your “new privacy checkbox optin” code to snippets and click activate and it inserts it in the correct place? So confused…

  14. Hi! I do not have the above code in your article, as is, but i do have the following code in the comments.php file. The code includes the 4 fields;

    Could you please advise how my code could be edited? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Brian,

      It depends on rest of the code in your theme. Unfortunately, we cannot cover all the possible ways in which a theme may display a comment form. You will need to reach out to your theme author for support.

      Admin

  15. I tried using this and got the following notice in place of the checkbox:

    Undefined variable: consent

    So you didn’t define it? How do I do that?

    • Huh… It’s working for me. I just need to get the checkbox and label lined-up to match the rest of my form…

    • Just so everyone knows I opened up comments-template.php file from the wp-includes folder and found this:

      $consent = empty( $commenter[‘comment_author_email’] ) ? ” : ‘ checked=”checked”‘;

      Adding this to the above defines the consent and in doing so will remove the notice if you have debug turned on.

      You have to add it before the $comments_args = array. This all depends on how you have your template configured.

      Hope it helps.

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