This post about default comment system of WordPress was originally published on WPnewsify.com, this is a carbon-copy of the original article published here for the only purpose of sharing knowledge under same authority.
Comments are one of the important parts of a blog. It’s a way of interacting with your readers about their thoughts, their expressions and certainly to obtain new updates in case you missed any.
Besides, the comments on a blog reflect how popular the blog is, how people trust the contents inside the blog and most importantly how engaging the topic is! The more quality content you can provide the better comments will attain to give you the courage to do more.
If you have a WordPress site that gets a good chunk of traffic week in and week out it’s the most obvious case that you will get plenty of comments on your posts regardless of them being spam or real comments. These comments are the frontend part, being the most popular CMS WordPress needs to have a default comment system in the backend which manages the blog comments very well as well as provide you all the essential settings.
Nothing to be excited to know that WordPress has its default comment system (certainly, everybody who uses WordPress knows that). There are a bunch of different commenting systems available for WordPress too. All of them have their own unique advantages and disadvantages along with different features. Moreover, there are factors like being SEO friendly and good in terms of appearance to be one of the best comment systems.
It’s difficult to identify which among all the comment systems available for WordPress is the best. However, in this article, we will look upon the default comment system of WordPress and also compare it to the other comment systems to get an idea of whether you should stick with the default comment system or go for others.
Understanding The Two Layers of WordPress‘s Default Comment System
We know how WordPress has been making things easier for us with a couple of options that ultimately reflect the actual configuration we want as a webmaster. Along with other features they have made the default comment system so easy to enable (or disable on necessary conditions) with a few mouse clicks.
By default, the comment system of WordPress is enabled regardless of the theme and plugins you are using. Now there is a point to be noted. They have actually made two layers of configuration in terms of the comment system.
The 1st one is the root layer and the second one is the child layer. The root layer holds the global control of the comment system. What I want to say is that if you are enabling or disabling the comments (discussion) from the root layer that will be applied to the whole website.
Precaution: Disabling the discussion in the main settings (root) will entirely hide the comment system for your website. In such a case, adding a plugin or using any third-party API is not likely to bring back the comment system into your site.
On the other hand, the child layer is available for individual pages to handle the comment form. It’s completely up to you whether you want to allow someone to publish a comment on your page or not. This control will be available under the Gutenberg editor panel. Unlike the general settings, it doesn’t completely disable comments on the whole site except give you a dynamic control for each page.
The Advantages of Using a Default Comment System
There is no doubt one of the most influential advantages of using WordPress is the wide range of options available when it comes to giving your website a direction “your way”. You can do almost anything you want with WordPress. It’s packed with a sufficient amount of tools and options to provide you the dynamicity that is required in order to create a good website that everyone actually loves to be in.
But then it comes to the hype of people trying to overclock the functionality, features, and design of WordPress by using external plugins and 3rd party tools every possible way. I would not prefer to say that plugins are something we do not require, themes are not something we do not need to run a successful website. But, trying to get the best of the best in every possible way is overkill and should not be entertained with WordPress at all.
There are tasks like image SEO to do in WordPress. Why does it manually? Common, install a plugin and set it for automatic insertion of alternate tags, image names. Why use the default sidebar? Add another plugin and make it more elegant with a bunch of different options. And then finally, why use the default comment system when you can use other comments plugins?
In fact, the default system out there works fairly well. Without going for the other 3rd party applications the default system comes out to be the best under various circumstances that are certainly there to impress you and improve your website as well.
As an example, you can see there are many blogs that are popular enough yet stick with the default commenting system.
1.1 Loading speed
It is certainly one of (if not) the most important factors that you should be considering while holding on with your default comment system. You are already aware of the fact that speedy sites tend to perform better than slower websites and also have a lower bounce rate. A fast site can bring much positivity to your online business.
The default comment system is constructed with the core WordPress code and has a better compatibility of execution. Definitely, it will load faster than other commenting systems. You can try to install other plugins but they are going to slow down your website if not built with better performance intention.
However, that doesn’t mean these comment plugins are always slow but it’s really hard to find such plugins designed for speed. In general, those plugins are actually built for adding more features such as grabbing social accounts, producing awesome hierarchical designs, like-dislike or voting system and many more. You can say it’s useful but not performance friendly.
The graph below shows the difference between the loading speed of the commenting system.
The main problem with the other commenting plugins is that they have to load a number of scripts, authenticate with their own server to get a response for the comment system to function perfectly.
1.2 Compatibility With Caching Plugins
If you are running a WordPress site, caching plugin is a must. It would be a huge mistake if you ignore the caching plugin and let all things work as it is. The caching plugin will be there to optimize your site, take care of the performance, look after the server load when you are manually not doing so.
Obviously, the caching plugin should work on all parts of your WordPress site. If your whole site is supporting the caching plugin instead of the commenting system then there is still room for optimization and the site could actually perform better than now.
So it’s recommended to have a commenting system that is compatible with your caching plugin. There is no doubt your default commenting system will just work fine with the caching plugin. The logic is simple. These are the same codes that have been used to develop WordPress. So basically if the caching plugin is supporting the other part of the WordPress then it has to support the comment system as well.
On the other hand, Facebook, Disqus is not fully compatible with the caching plugins. Both of them (other similar tools too) have their own servers, they have their standalone powerful CDNs to help the commenting system work as quickly as possible. But in reality, they work just fine with their own platform. In terms of WordPress, these plugins need to fetch the required data from their server before they reflect them into WordPress comment that certainly increases the time delay.
1.3 SEO Friendly
When you are operating a website SEO is always important for you. If any part of the website is harmful to SEO you should either remove or fix it as soon as possible. Without SEO you can’t dream about growing a website to its maximum possible level.
One of the important benefits of using the default commenting system is it’s SEO friendly. The comments on a page will be counted as extra content which is obviously a positive sign for SEO. You can see that the blog comments can dramatically increase the volume and quality of content. Some targeted and insightful comments with relevant discussion can increase the words up to 2000 and doubling your page content + improving the quality of the page with more user inputs.
There is no guarantee that the other commenting systems also improve SEO quality and quantity with the comments since they are being hosted from a different server and on a different script. If they do then it’s better but there is always a question mark about it.
Again, that great amount of comments only be a part of your website if you put the effort into the comments. You will definitely need an engaged community that will produce those kinds of high-quality comments on your blog, and as well as you will need to be engaged with your community to respond to them in their blogs and thus carry the discussions forward.
To make it for real you also need to be very effective in managing the comments you get. There are lots of spam comments nowadays and can reduce the quality of your page by injecting hundreds of bad links below your content. You need to be precise enough to remove those spam and poor quality comments. That’s not unique to WordPress comments, though; you are going to need spam protection software and manual moderation for every comment system you might want to use.
1.4 Spam Protection
Spam protection is not one of the greatest advantages of the default comment system though it does a very good job along with a powerful anti-spam plugin called Akismet. Installing Akismet is really easy, one-two steps and your site is ready to block the spam comments.
Other commenting systems include spam protection along with it and much capable of protecting your site from non-relevant spam. In this criterion, the WordPress commenting system needs external software that brings another plugin to your site which might decrease the balance between performance and quality of your blog.
Though another plugin is necessary for spam protection I believe the developers of Akismet focuses on making it light enough in order to support the site performance also. Additionally, this will provide manual control over the comments which is not something familiar with other commenting systems.
1.5 Friendly for The Web Crawlers
It would be interesting to know how the comment system can be friendly to the web crawlers while others are not. The finest example comes from the loading speed of the commenting system itself. The WordPress comment system loads immediately with the primary page script. Thus a web crawler can easily fetch the content inside the comment.
On the other hand, the 3rd party comment system such as Facebook and Disqus need an extra few seconds to load and that actually comes after the initial page load. A web crawler generally avoids the scripts that take longer to load and hence there is always a chance of those comments never being discovered by the web crawlers, which is of course not a good sign both in terms of SEO and site health. A similar thing happens to the Facebook commenting system when integrated into a WordPress site.
There is a plugin called Disqus lazy load which is developed to fix this problem by ordering the crawlers to take some moments in order to get the comments. It also supports the performance of the website by deferring the comment script entirely, yet again not much effective as the default comment system.
1.6 Local Management
Technically there is another advantage of using the WordPress comment is that it stores the comment on the local database and you can manage them from your dashboard. It’s a big benefit, you don’t have to open another platform, you don’t have to manage the comment from a 3rd party dashboard especially when there are lots of comments to manage.
Normally, the other comment plugins require a login to their dashboard in order to manage the comments or API key to import the comments into your WordPress. In such a case, you would certainly choose the local comment system rather than 3rd party plugins.
1.7 No Problem With Ads
The default commenting system also, as you might have expected, ads-free. It’s quite obvious that being part of the same WordPress system the default comment doesn’t contain any kind of advertisement in it. You neither have to pay for using it or see the ads in the comment box. In some sense, it’s quite annoying too to watch those ads near your comment.
Other comment plugins such as FB comment, Disqus, LiveFire don’t follow this strategy. Some plugins need to be purchased before using it and some others don’t but they are going to display ads on your comment.
When it comes to displaying ads Disqus is the primary offender and ads on the comment box really hurt the user experience of the website. Increasing ads on a page will slow down the page additionally. When your page gets a large amount of traffic then they can also charge you for using the service.
1.8 Customization Ability
Another big benefit of the built-in comment system, for me, it is highly customizable. You can actually squeeze every single color, font, structure, and size of the comment system using your custom CSS or change them into the WordPress files involved. It’s quite easy to do so, and it means you have to control to match your comment section to your site perfectly according to your choice.
Other comment plugins, unlikely don’t allow this kind of customization. Most of them only have default a light theme or a dark theme, and a maximum of two-three free templates that are available for free or allow you to set a few basic color options. Other than that I doubt you can expect anything more.
Some stuff like a voting system, like or dislike options are only available in the 3rd party plugins but personally, I prefer it when my comments don’t give the opportunity to dislike or downvote for not matching other people’s opinions. And for me, that is where you can actually decide to go for a different comment system if your site needs to have extra curriculum rather than only discussions.
1.9 Free of Code Conflict
It is also worth mentioning that the WordPress comments system since it’s developed for WordPress and is a part of the WordPress system is not going to create any kind of code conflicts. It’s recommended to stay out of such conflicts because sometimes solving those can kill many hours. Installing a plugin might cause issues (not usually) with other plugins that associate with the same component of your page.
It’s not extremely difficult to get a plugin that doesn’t conflict with others these days, but by using the in-built commenting system, you are going to eliminate the possibility of being annoyed by a plugin conflict.
Disadvantages of Using a Default Comment System
While discussing the advantages of the inbuilt commenting system we should forget the disadvantages of it. By far there are fewer disadvantages in comparison to the positivity it brings to a WordPress site.
2.1 Comments Are Very Basic
Being the inbuilt system it only has the basic comment form, once approved the appearance of the comments is OK but not something appealing. The Gravatar is just some pre-built avatars and can not display the original profile image for individual users unless they have registered account on Gravatar & WordPress. And that leads to no profile images for cross-platform bloggers. If you don’t mind the default avatars then it should not be an issue otherwise, 3rd party comment systems can be a beneficial option for you.
2.2 Does Not Have Analytics
In case you are serious about what’s going on behind the comments and like to analyze it with some statistical data then the inbuilt comment system of WordPress is not something that you are looking for. Of course, it does not have comment analytics in it. I would personally prefer not to have analytics for comments but for different businesses, it could be a requirement.
2.3 No Login Feature
You must already know that some sites require user login in order to publish a comment on a page. The default comment system does not have the “log in and comment” feature and developers of such sites should look for other options.
We have already breakdown the WordPress comment system on the basis of what it’s useful for and for what it’s not. It not only helps you to choose your comment system wisely while setting up a website but allows you to understand what the inbuilt system can bring into your project.
Although we have included almost every point of view to look after the default commenting system there can be more to discuss. As for me, I would go with the inbuilt system for a blog or a website that just share information with the people and perhaps integrate Disqus or Facebook comment for a discussion-based website.
With that being said, I would like to encourage you to select your own system when it comes to the comment part and I hope you will choose the best according to your idea.