Most Popular 3rd Party Comment Systems for Your Website

Bradley Nice
Nov 16, 2018 · 6 min read

by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — software documentation tool

Comments became an integral part of almost each website on the web — you can’t imagine there’s an article out there that can’t be commented. And it’s only logical, because people want to talk about what they read, listen to or see. And they want it right there — under what they’ve read or seen, not on their social networks.

But how do you incorporate a commenting system on your website? Option number one — you ask your web developers to write one. It can be useful, if you want something highly customized, tailored to your needs. But what if you don’t have the manpower or just don’t want to waste your time recreating the wheel? Right, you use out-of-the-box solutions.

Shall we?

Disqus

I bet you knew you’d see this one as number one solution, and I didn’t want to disappoint you. Reason behind this is simple — Disqus is the most widely used 3rd party commenting system with lots of features, so it rightfully deserves first place on my list.

I believe you not only heard, but used disqus numerous times as a commenter, so you must be familiar with its features. So let’s skim over Disqus’ features — maybe you didn’t know how powerful it is!

The most recently added feature is reaction to posts — something similar you might’ve seen on Facebook. Users can react with one of emotions to content they’ve seen. And it’s much better for engagement than just “like” button or simple rating system. After all, maybe they didn’t like, nor disliked the article, but reacted in some other way — and now you have the means to let them show this reaction.

Aside from this neat feature, Disqus has many advantages: it’s multiplatform, so you can use it for mobile and desktop versions alike. Comments are rendered at real-time, so you don’t have to reload page to see if someone wrote something new. It has the functionality to adapt its visual style to match your website’s.

Comments support embedded images and video and there are means to moderate them. They can be pre-moderated, so each comment should be manually approved by moderators. Or you can allow all comments and let the community help you — they can increase or decrease reputation of each commenter, so you can detect spammers and trolls easily. And, of course, you can add people to blocked/trusted lists.

Disqus also help you promote your own articles — it has a content recirculation option, where ‘similar articles’, or ‘featured’ can be shown beside comment section.

There’s an admin dashboard as well, where you can view your stats and monitor plenty of analytics. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention — you can login to disqus with pretty much any of the popular social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.

Phew. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? And I didn’t even cover some of its features. Better just check it out yourself!

Spot.im

This one is pretty new on the market, and aims to be a competition to Disqus. I’m not sure how well it’s performing, but it provides some of the features our leader has — realtime comments, news feed, content recirculation and a few others. But unlike Disqus, it doesn’t rely on manual moderation or premoderation, instead providing automoderation, based on machine learning (at least that’s what they say).

To my mind, it lacks some features Disqus has, and their website is somewhat secretive, so you can only guess about its full potential without actually trying it out. I’d suggest Disqus over this one, because Spot.im doesn’t have any unique features that really stand out.

HTML Comment Box

Not fond of fancy-shmancy complex commenting systems? Not a problem. Get HTML Comment Box — the simplest comment system there is (probably). Though it has some features like RSS, community flagging, likes and some other — it’s still very simple in its core and serves one role — getting user comments on your page. Grab the code snippet, insert on page and you’re all set!

Facebook Comments

If you’re registered on Facebook, you’ll feel right at home using this. It’s like having a piece of Facebook on your website. As a bonus, you get a cool admin panel where you can perform such actions like moderation.

The downside here is that only people registered on Facebook can access this commenting section (no guest posting) and there are not much options for customization.

IntenseDebate

IntenseDebate has been around for almost 10 years and over the time it grew quite an amount of features. They include comment threading, email notifications, a separate profile for each commenter, reputation and voting system. As well as Disqus and many others, it provides means for comment moderation with blocklist functionality.

I’m not sure I’d use this one because of the design that seems like it hasn’t changed in these 10 years and limited social logins — only Facebook and Twitter are available.

GraphComment

GraphComment rarely makes it into “top commenting systems” articles, but yet here we are. It has pretty neat and clean design, most popular social logins (Facebook/Twitter/Google).

Much like Disqus, it supports embedded media, activity stream, notification system, moderation and spam protection, analytics and theming and is mobile-friendly.

But it has a peculiar voting system. It’s not just “upvotes” and “downvotes”, they are further divided into several options, like “relevant/troll”, etc. This way community helps you identify comments better.

It also supports text formatting, badges and rewards — so you can gamify commenting experience.


Bonus: Commento

Commento is not something you hear often (I didn’t hear about it until I started my research, to be honest), and it doesn’t provide tons of features like GraphComment or Disqus, but it doesn’t aim to do that. The core features of Commento are being superfast and very light.

It also has akismet spam protection and Disqus import, if you plan on moving from the latter for some reasons.


Have a nice day!

Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors

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Bradley Nice

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Content Manager at https://medium.com/level-up-web 👈. I write about web design, web development and technical writing. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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