One of the beautiful things about the Internet is how it enables users from all across the world to engage and enter a dialogue on your site. To get people talking, though, you need a space where users can interact.

By default, WordPress offers this space in the comments section. It’s barebones, but it works. But barebones is no fun, so let’s take a look at 16 plugins you can install to evolve your comment section from barebones to awesome.

Sprucing up your comment section will take away the fear of 0-comment posts. You put time and effort into your content, so why not make sure you get that much-sought-after engagement from your audience? These plugins will encourage your users to comment while also making it easier for you or other administrators to manage your comments section.

If you’ve previously made the decision to disable your comments section, maybe some of these plugins can convince you to bring it back! They’ll create a space for users to engage while also limiting the administrative work necessary to oversee your comment section

Let’s dive in:

Plugins Which Totally Upgrade Your Comments Section

All these plugins instantly provide multi-faceted upgrades to your comments section.

1. Disqus Comment System

Disqus comment system

Disqus Comment System is a popular plugin that completely replaces the base WordPress comments section with comments powered by Disqus. When installing Disqus, you’re completely outsourcing your comment system to the Disqus platform. Comments will be stored and processed on Disqus’ platform and then automatically displayed on your site. If your site is especially popular, this has the advantage of giving your server a break.

Disqus also brings many community benefits like threaded comments, notifications and reply by email, social mentions, moderation, and much more.

If you only want to install one plugin, then you certainly won’t go wrong with the one-stop-shop offered by Disqus Comment System.

2. Jetpack by Automattic

Jetpack Plugin

Jetpack isn’t just about commenting, but it does include a heavy-duty comment module among its 20 other functionality options. Sidenote – these other modules alone make it worth installing Jetpack – the comments module is just a bonus!

Jetpack’s comments module adds some much-needed features to WordPress’ base commenting system like social media logins and follow-up notifications.

3. Facebook Comments

Facebook comments plugin

The Facebook Comments plugin lets you easily put a real name to a real face by integrating Facebook comments directly into your WordPress site. It makes user verification easy, can help cut down on spam, and real names/faces may just make your comments section more civil (for those with civility problems!).

These features do come with a slight downside of alienating anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook account. If you think that description may fit your audience, you might want to consider one of the other plugins.

4. Postmatic

Postmatic Plugin Comments

Postmatic adds some awesome engagement driven functions to your comments. It allows users to subscribe to comments by email and also comment on your blog directly via email. If you make commenting easier (like Postmatic does), you can increase the engagement of your users.

Users can click a button to subscribe to the post they commented on. Then, whenever a new comment is added to the discussion, the subscribed user will receive an email alerting them. That user can directly respond to the email to add their voice to the discussion. Comments sent via email are added to your site almost instantaneously (less than six seconds!).

5. wpDiscuz

WPdiscuz Plugin

In their own words, wpDiscuz offers “supercharged native comments.” It adds deep functionality in a similar vein to Disqus Comment System but keeps everything hosted on your own site, giving you full control.

wpDiscuz offers live comment updates, integration with social logins, ajax editable comments, and many, many other features. They also have some paid add-ons, like ReCaptcha and a media uploader, that help round out the feature set.

It’s definitely a great option for anyone who wants to massively upgrade WordPress’ native comment system while still maintaining full control.

6. Yoast Comment Hacks

Yoast Comment Hacks Plugin

You’ve probably heard of Yoast’s popular SEO plugin. The same guys also have a nifty commenting plugin called Yoast Comment Hacks. The plugin adds a bunch of small “hacks” that will greatly improve WordPress’ native comment system.

Installing Yoast Comment Hacks allows you to do things like disallowing comments under a certain length, redirecting first-time commenters to a thank-you page, offering subscribe to comments functionality, and more.

Plugins Which Give Users Specific Commenting Abilities

These plugins add specific, limited features to your comment section. When possible, they’re great to use in combination with some of the more multi-featured plugins listed above.

7. CommentLuv

CommentLuv

CommentLuv rewards those who comment on your site by automatically placing a link to their most recent blog post at the end of their comment. This is a great incentive for websites whose users are more tech savvy and likely to have their own blog. Users will feel they’re getting something in return for contributing to your site, which makes them more likely to comment.

Be careful – as you might expect, this can have a negative side effect of potentially increasing spam. It’s a good practice to only use CommentLuv on a site where you moderate comments.

8. WP Ajax Edit Comments

WP Ajax Edit Comments Plugin

We’ve all clicked “send” on an email only to instantly spot a massive typo the next second. WordPress commenters are not immune to this situation. Create a more forgiving comment section by installing WP Ajax Edit Comments. This plugin gives commenters a limited time window in which they can edit their comments after submission.

9. Comment Images

Comment Images

By default, WordPress commenters are not allowed to upload any media to their comments. The Comment Images plugin changes that by allowing uploads of PNG, GIF, JPG, and JPEG images.

This plugin won’t fit every situation, but if you want to give your readers some multimedia options, it’s a great solution.

10. Comment Popularity

Comment Popularity Plugin

Comment Popularity adds some user control to your comments section by allowing your readers to vote comments up and down. Sites like Reddit have used such a crowdsourced system to great success. Comments with the highest score are displayed at the top of the comments section.

Frequent commenters can also gain some recognition through the plugin’s “expert” label. Site administrators can assign the “expert” label to users and it will be displayed next to their name in the comments section.

Plugins Which Let You Easily Moderate, Manage, and Promote Comments

11. Akismet

Akismet Plugin

Akismet is the gold standard of spam prevention and a necessity for any WordPress site. It works behind the scenes to check all incoming comments for spam. Install it and enjoy knowing you’ll be protected from the worst spammers without lifting a finger.

12. DX Unanswered Comments

DX Unanswered Comments Plugin

DX Unanswered Comments makes it easy to ensure you interact with all comments on your site. Interacting with comments is a necessary part of building user engagement, so this plugin adds a small, but very helpful, feature to your dashboard. After installing the plugin, you can filter comments to find only those comments which haven’t received a response yet.

13. Moderator Role

Moderator Role Plugin

Moderator Role does just what the name says – it lets you assign any user the role of “Moderator”. This user can moderate comments, but not make any other changes to your dashboard. It’s a great way to distribute the burden of moderation without adding any security risks.

14. Tako Movable Comments

Tako Moveable Comments

Tako Movable Comments allows you to easily move comments from one post to another, or from a post to a page. It removes a lot of the mundane work of moving comments by letting you easily do it from a drop-down box.

Not everyone will encounter this problem, but if you do, Tako Movable Comments makes administration a whole lot easier.

15. Comment Approved

Comment Approved Plugin

Comment Approved is a simple plugin that lets you automatically notify users as soon as their comment passes moderation. You can let users know their voice is actually being published and bring them back to interact more.

16. WordPress SEO Comments

WordPress SEO Comments

WordPress SEO Comments helps with the promotion of your site (and its comments section) by giving each comment/author its own indexable page. These indexable pages can increase the organic reach of your site.

You should consider the issue of potential duplicate content created by the plugin, but some users have reported increasing their organic traffic through the plugin, so it’s definitely something worth trying.

Final Thoughts

Comments sections are a great way to drive engagement with your website visitors. They give users a place to interact with your content, share ideas, and feel more connected. However, given the barebones nature of WordPress’ basic commenting system, you should definitely take some time to look over these plugins and install the ones you think your readers will most love.

Take some time now to awesomize your comments section, and your website will reap the rewards in increased user engagement for the rest of its life.

Did I miss a plugin? Do you have a comment about WPLift’s comments section? Let us know in the comments below!


Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

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13 Comments

  1. I’m a little surprised Livefyre isn’t on this list. It’s similar to Disqus except that it keeps the comment on YOUR site rather than moving them offsite the way Disqus does. Livefyre also pulls in Twitter replies to your link, which is another potential source of comments in the form of social media reactions.

    I’ve found Livefyre much easier to work with from a technical support standpoint as well.

    For anyone looking for a powerful comment system, I’d highly recommend giving it a look.

    • Hey Patrick, thanks for the tip. I actually originally had Livefyre on the list but then I removed it because it’s one I’ve never really “seen” in the wild.

      I know in researching it I saw some people had issues with pulling in the outside social conversations. Has that been streamlined? Some of those discussions were a couple years old.

      • I have Livefyre running on my site and have not had issues with social pieces not coming in; it’s just that they have to replies to tweets with links to the post in question.

        I’m not certain about the email address import issue, though. I think if you use a Livefyre account, it doesn’t transmit an email address because it uses the Livefyrre account name instead when it imports back into the database. The reason I prefer Livefyre, other than its superior technical support, is that I can moderate comments on my site without leaving my site.

    • This isn’t that accurate.

      Both Livefyre and Disqus are 3rd party commenting system. Neither uses native comments; both have privacy policies which allow them to mine, profile, and sell your users data.

      Livefyre does attempt to copy comments back to your native database but much of the metadata is not sent. This includes two critical pieces: the commenter email address as well as the child/parent information. Moving back to native comments results in total lack of conversation threading, usernames, and gravatars.

      Disqus does a much better job of syncing the comment and commenter data back to your installation – it’s seamless. They really do a good job of handling data portability but as mentioned above still suffer serious privacy issues.

      Two solid alternatives to keep comments in WordPress while tackling the usability and performance issues of native commenting are WPDiscuz and Epoch. Check them out.

  2. Ahmed

    If anyone is going to use Disqus, make yourself a favor and install Disqus Conditional Load plugin instead, it will save your website performance! Thanks to https://wpcolt.com/click-to-load-and-lazy-load-disqus-comments/

    • Thanks for the tip, Ahmed! Looks like a great addon. I know a lot of sites seem to only load Disqus when the user scrolls to that part of the page.

    • Also – if anyone is going to consider using Disqus be sure to read Chris Lema’s fantastic post on reasons *not to* here: http://chrislema.com/killed-disqus-commenting/

      • Do you think Disqus remains so popular because site owners aren’t aware? Or that site owners are aware, but don’t care and/or consider the trade-off worth it?

        • In our own market research this is what we came across as reasons folks do use Disqus:

          1. The comment template which came with their theme is garbage and offers a poor user experience. I get it. Comment templates are the most difficult part of a WordPress theme to do right. Most look awful. Some, like this one, look ok but don’t set cookies correctly and force me to re-enter my name, email, and url for each comment I want to add. Even during the same session!

          2. Their site gets too much traffic and native comments do not cache or scale. The performance hit on the server is too great and they are forced by their host to use Disqus.

          Those are the two big reasons we ran across. And, right – most site owners have no idea of the privacy ramifications. These services don’t really go out of their way to tell you that they’ll completely p0wn your community, their thoughts, and browsing habits. The adage is most definitely true when it comes to 3rd party commenting: If something is free, YOU are probably the product. It’s plainly true in this case.

  3. Luke Cavanagh

    How is Epoch not on the list?

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/epoch/

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