In the past, I've reviewed Disqus, which is a great way to manage comments on…
Sometimes, WordPress comments aren’t enough. If you’d like to give your users more options for logging in and connect them to other comments they’ve made on the web, you might want to use the third party service Disqus. Luckily, they have a WordPress plugin which integrates your Disqus install with WordPress.
What’s It Do?
The Disqus plugin will connect your Disqus account to your WordPress install, and store all of your comments in your database. It integrates with the existing comment system, so you can view them just like you normally would, but also gives you access to your Disqus dashboard right in your admin panel. From there you customize the comment settings, such as setting up email notifications, creating a blacklist and adding moderators. You also have the ability to import your comments from WordPress to Disqus, or from Disqus to WordPress.
Beyond that, the WordPress plugin supports all of Disqus’ features, such as RSS feeds, search engine friendly comments, spam filtering, and a myriad of log-in options for your users. To find out more about what Disqus is able to do, you can view their feature page. This article is mostly concerned with how the plugin functions.
Disqus is also loaded asynchronously, so although it has a good amount of scripts and styles associated with it, it will not load until the rest of your posts are, and the files are all hosted on Disqus’ servers.
How’s It Work?
The first thing that you’ll have to do is head over to the Disqus website and sign up for an account. When you register for an account, you’ll see an option to “Add New Site” to Disqus. On the next screen, you’ll be prompted to enter the URL of your site, a title for your site, and a shortname for your Disqus URL.
After you have set up your Disqus account, you can install and activate the Disqus plugin. You’ll be brought to a screen to enter the username and password of your account. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select which Disqus site you would like to sync with your WordPress install. Select the URL that you set up and click “Next.” The plugin will automatically sync the two sites together, and all of your default comment templates will be replaced by the Disqus commenting system. That’s all you really need to do to get started, but there are also ways to customize your settings.
There will be a new section in your admin panel under Comments -> Disqus. We will come back to the main dashboard later, but for now, click on the “Plugin Settings” link at the top right of the page. This will bring up a list of options for how the plugin interacts with your WordPress install. In the Appearance section, you can choose whether Disqus comments should be used on all pages, or just on closed comments. In the Sync section, you can choose to disable automatic syncing of your comments to your WordPress database or disable server-side rendering of the comments. In general, you’ll want to leave these unchecked unless you have a good reason to do otherwise. The Single Sign On section is also for advanced users who are using SSO. If you’re not using a Single Sign On API, or don’t know what that means, then leave these fields blank.
The Import and Export section can actually be extremely useful. If you had comments on your WordPress install before you activated Disqus, you can import them into your current system using “Export Comments.” This will bring all of your comments in, and they will appear in all of their associated posts automatically. This may take a few minutes, depending on how many comments you had, but afterward, you should see them appear in your Disqus Dashboard. Alternatively, if you had comments stored in your Disqus installation that you would like to import into WordPress you can select the “Sync Comments” button, which will bring in all of your old comments right into your WordPress database, and integrate them on the site.
Below this, you will see a Reset button and some debugging information if you are having a problem.
Clicking on the “Moderate” link at the top right of the page will bring you back to the main dashboard of Disqus. This mirrors the Admin dashboard on the Disqus site and will list all of your recent comments, give you links to change the settings, gives you access to basic analytics, and an overview of the discussions happening on your site. These features are unique to Disqus, and there’s plenty to explore on their site, but the one tab worth mentioning is the Settings tab.
At the top of your settings, you will see options to customize the appearance of your comment form, chose how to sort comments by default, and change who can comment and how they can log in. It’s worth looking these options over, especially if you are having a problem. Other than that, the Disqus site will have more information on what can be done with their service, and how to get started with their feature set.
If you navigate to Comments -> All Comments you will see all of your comments that are made in Disqus displayed as they normally would be. This is because Disqus stores comment in your WordPress database, and automatically syncs comments between the two platforms. That means if you delete or move a comment in your admin panel, this will be synced back to your Disqus install, so you can keep using comments as you normally would.
Costs, Caveats, Etc.
Disqus is a free service, and its plugin is free to use. It was developed in part by CrowdFavorite, so it has a reliable foundation and makes full use of both the WordPress and Disqus API. It is not updated all that frequently, but it is still actively maintained. If you are looking for help with the plugin, I would go to the Disqus support site, you should be able to find help there. The code for the plugin is also open sourced on GitHub if you’d like to get directly involved.