Alternatives for Disqus
Disqus is one of the best services in terms of both administration capabilities for website owners and convenience for commentators. However, it isn’t free anymore. Even the “Free” plan isn’t truly free because instead of a payment for the service, Disqus displays ads in the comments area on your site.
The service is free only for non-commercial sites. If you monetise your project in any way, the Disqus administrators will, sooner or later, activate ads in the comments on your website. As a result, you will see a picture similar to the one below:
These advertisements could be for your competitors, bring up unwanted topics, and cause other problems. Additionally, webmasters who earn on CPA models could lose a buyer because of such a click because the cookie with your marker can be changed by another marker from advertising.
Such an approach creates problems even for small projects. The solutions are to pay for the service or find an alternative. There are several alternatives:
- The built-in WordPress comment system;
- Cackle Comments;
- Jetpack Comments.
Is it possible to use Disqus for free?
It is possible to use Disqus for free if you run a non-commercial website. For projects with any type of monetisation, there are three options:
- Purchase a paid plan;
- Use the free version with ads;
- Delete the Disqus ads unofficially by embedding some jQuery code.
As of January 2019, there are two paid plans available:
|Page Views per Day||Up to 50,000||Up to 150,000|
|Price per Month||$10||$99|
The plans differ by not only the allowed views per day but also the available features. Both plans above are ad-free, and include the following:
- Additional tools for moderation;
- Single sign-on;
- Subscription for comments updates.
Ads can also be blocked with a small piece of jQuery code:
The code must be integrated into all the pages on which you have the Disqus form installed. This method is not official and worked well as of April 2018. However, it will work only until the Disqus developers close the loophole. Therefore, migration due to the unwillingness to pay for maintenance is just a matter of time.
The WordPress built-in commenting system
WordPress has an integrated commenting system.
The built-in system has the following advantages:
- It’s absolutely free;
- No additional installation steps are required;
- It keeps all the data you have on your server;
- It does not contain any advertising.
You do not need to install anything extra—it is a built-in function. Nonetheless, in the beginning, this solution is not a competitor for Disqus. The standard features are not enough even for small projects because your project will be blocked by tons of spam comments if you do not install additional extensions.
The disadvantages of this solution are the following:
- Tuning and manual improvements are required;
- To stop spam comments, you need to install additional extensions;
- Moderation is possible only inside the WordPress panel;
- Your readers need to enter their personal data because there is no support for a “single account”;
- It causes a high load on the server.
If you make improvements to this system, you can get a good commenting system based on the built-in program. In conjunction with the built-in functionality, you can use the following programs:
With the built-in comment system, the appearance can be manually set up and configured in each template. However, even in this case, you will not get the same level of control that is available with Disqus and its analogues.
wpDiscuz: a free alternative to Disqus
wpDiscuz is a commenting plugin with the highest rating—it currently has 4.8 out of 5 stars in the official extension library. It also works with WooCommerce—look for WooDiscuz.
The merits of the solution are the following:
- 100% free and no adverts;
- Supports all current versions of WordPress;
- Integrates with other plugins and extensions;
- Fully customizable;
- Gives the option to deploy new comments (AJAX technology) instead of pagination;
- Highlights new comments for readers who returned to the page;
- Offers comment rating, direct links, share buttons, Gravatar support, and more.
At the same time, wpDiscuz is also suitable for social network audiences. Your visitors can sign in to comment with their Facebook, Google+, or other social network accounts.
You can also combine wpDiscuz with other plugins:
- For interaction with social networks, try WordPress Social Login, Social Login, Super Socializer, Social Connect, Social Login, and others;
- To protect against spam comments, try Akismet, WordPress Zero Spam, WPBruiser, and others.
The main disadvantage of wpDiscuz is that it isn’t self-sufficient. To get a high-quality result, you also need to install additional extensions, as in the case of the embedded system. However, as a result, you will get a powerful system that will allow you to conveniently moderate new comments and allow your users to communicate comfortably on your site. Moreover, all of these features are totally for free.
Cackle Comments: a paid analogue
Cackle is one of Disqus’s main competitors. You can download Cackle for WordPress here.
This solution is also available for other popular CMSs:
- And more.
Cackle has a low rating on the official plug-in library for WordPress: 3.1 out of 5 stars. The main complaints from users are that it’s not a free solution and that it has weak technical support.
The price starts at $7 per month or $67 per year (with one-time payment), which is the cost of the basic package. This package includes only the most basic features, namely three moderators, search indexing, the ability to send comments to social networks, and spam protection.
If your site works with an SSL certificate (that is, it opens with https://), then you will need to purchase the SSL option, which costs $17 per month or $ 167 per year. There are other extra services as well:
- Analytics ($7);
- Priority support ($3);
- Single Sign-On ($13);
- White Label ($10).
White Label, in this context, means that you can remove the Cackle logotype and hyperlink from the comments form. It’s a big advantage that isn’t available in even the most expensive Disqus plan.
With all extra services, Crackle would cost $50 per month or $500 per year, which is still cheaper than Disqus. It’s a good choice for those who need an inexpensive tool with built-in spam protection, enhanced analytics, and the possibility of cross-posting to social networks. The last option allows you to configure automatic posting of a comment author’s message on his or her social network page if the author is logged in on your site through Facebook, Twitter, or another social network.
Epoch: a local Disqus alternative
Epoch was one of the best alternatives for Disqus, but unfortunately, developers stopped work on this project two years ago. The plugin is still available on the official WordPress website, and you can install it on your website. Just be careful, Epoch may have compatibility issues with new CMS versions.
Jetpack Comments is the least standard solution that you can find. It isn’t a simple comment plugin but a hosting platform for WordPress website with 100+ templates and its own comments system. Jetpack Comments is paid solution; however, it has also a free plan, which includes the following:
- More than 100 design options for your WordPress website
- Related posts display
- Brute force attack protection
Free mode is almost useless because it does not have even basic spam protection, and there is no way to make backup copies of your website. Moreover, it isn’t possible to extend Jetpack with third-party plugins.
The cheapest paid plan costs $39 per year, but it’s not comparable to Disqus in functionality. The comparable option costs 9$ per month. In this case, it is easier to stay with Disqus for the same price for the Plus plan. Jetpack is also a solution for those who need an all-in-one—comments system, 100+ templates, and detailed analytics.
What to choose
Among the paid alternatives but with a more affordable price than that of Disqus, pay attention to Cackle.
If you do not need enhanced analytics and do not care about the plugin’s logo or link being on your website, then wpDiscuz is one of the best free alternatives. In upcoming versions, wpDiscuz developers promise to add authorisation through social networks without any extra extensions. Moreover, the logo and link can now be hidden as well just by digging into the extension’s code.