WordPress Comment Systems Compared: Disqus vs Facebook Comments vs Spot.IM vs Postmatic

WordPress comment systems act as powerful performance indicators for your website. A large number of comments across your blog typically correlate with high traffic figures and content that resonates well with your audience; in contrast, a low comment count could indicate that your blog posts are missing the mark.

The commenting system that you use can play a major role in the level of interaction your blog gets. A fast, engaging, and user-friendly system will invite discussion, whereas a clunky and visually displeasing layout may stifle your readers’ urge to share.

In short, if you’re looking for more interaction on your blog posts, switching up comment systems might just do the trick.

To streamline your search, in this article we compare  our top four choices when it comes to WordPress comment systems: Disqus, Facebook Comments, Spot.IM, and Postmatic.  With this four-way comparison, we’re pitting the big name players against the young upstart Spot.IM and the unique one Postmatic – by the time we’re done, you’ll know which system to opt for:

Disqus vs Facebook Comments vs Spot.IM vs Postmatic

WordPress comment systems summary
DisqusFacebookSpot.IMPostmatic
Get it if:You have a large number of visitors who will enjoy both real-time conversations, and real-time messages that alert visitors when others are typing.You like the idea of your visitors publishing comments from their public Facebook profiles, and you have an audience that will enjoy using Facebook over other platforms.You want to create a site-wide community, rather than just allow comments on individual pages.You like the native WordPress comment system, but want to get bonus unique features to make it more powerful + enable commenting via email.

Overview
Disqus is certainly among the most popular WordPress comment systems, and it boasts a number of conversation-sparking features, such as real-time comments and its Discovery feature, which enables users to explore comments made by users across the whole website. Visitors also have a wide range of sign-in options, including Twitter and Google.

However, it’s not all roses. We here at CodeinWP have personally seen the ugly side of Disqus. For months on end, our affiliate links were being switched without our permission, resulting in a hefty loss of earnings – perhaps something to consider if you’re planning on utilizing it.

Main features
  • Real-time discussions.
  • Visitors can sign in using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, and more.
  • Comments can be imported and exported.
  • Alerts visitors when others are typing up comments.
  • The Discovery feature allows users to find further content on your website
Pros and cons
  • @mentions are broad, enabling visitors to mention Twitter users and other Disqus members.
  • Comments are easy to edit.
  • Includes threaded comments.
  • Integrates with Akismet, WordPress’ default spam filtration tool.
  • Moderation of comments can be done via email.
Who is Disqus best suited for?
Install Disqus on your blog if you:
  • Have an audience that is tech-savvy, and won’t mind the relatively complex interface.
  • Have a large number of visitors who will enjoy both real-time conversations, and real-time messages that alert visitors when others are typing.

Overview
If it’s pure convenience your audience yearns for, Facebook Comments is the obvious solution. At the time of writing, Facebook boasts over 1.6 billion active monthly users – a massive chunk of the internet’s active population. Therefore, a hefty proportion of your website’s visitors will be logged into Facebook upon entering your website, making it easy for them to get involved with comments.

Furthermore, Facebook Comments will be ideal for audiences who enjoy the familiarity of Facebook’s design – the elements beneath your content will definitely be reassuring to heavy users of the world’s largest social network.

Main features
  • Logged in Facebook users can comment immediately.
  • Threaded comments.
  • Like and Reply options built-in.
  • Visitors can sign in using Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft Live.
Pros and cons
  • Higher chance of social virality, as visitors are likely to tag their Facebook friends.
  • Analytics offered for free.
  • Facebook uses its own algorithm to weed out spammers.
  • Comments are automatically ordered by their number of likes.
  • No login options for Twitter and Google.
  • Only allows you to @mention your Facebook friends.
  • No way to edit a comment.
  • Comments are not in real-time.
Who is Facebook Comments best suited for?
Install Facebook Comments on your blog if you:
  • Like the idea of your visitors publishing comments from their public Facebook profiles.
  • Have an audience that will enjoy using Facebook over other platforms.

Overview
Spot.IM is the relatively new kid on the block, neighbor to other WordPress comment systems. Launched in 2011, the Spot.IM team believes that “every website should be a community”, and this ethos is reflected in the system’s functionality.

The Newsfeed feature is what sets it apart from Disqus and Facebook, as it provides an interface that collates comments from across your blog posts. Visitors can scroll through these comments, visit the page they were made on, receive alerts, and follow other members. In essence, it turns websites into mini social networks.

Main features
  • Real-time conversations.
  • Newsfeed feature unites site-wide comments and encourages user engagement.
  • On-site alerts for new comments.
  • Visitors can turn their comments into reviews, along with adding star ratings.
Pros and cons
  • Spot.IM is unique in its approach of using comments to breed a site-wide community.
  • Unregistered users are automatically given random, anonymous credentials to begin engaging right away.
  • Visitors can log in using Facebook, Twitter, Google, and email.
  • Includes threaded comments.
  • You can only @mention other Spot.IM users.
  • The Newsfeed section may seem overwhelming to some visitors.
Who is Spot.IM best suited for?
Install Spot.IM on your blog if you:
  • Want to create a site-wide community, rather than just allow comments on individual pages.
  • Have a large number of visitors who will make use of real-time conversations, real-time comment alerts, and the Newsfeed section.

 EDITOR’S NOTE / UPDATE: 

We really felt that we should introduce another player into the game … and that’s even though – or maybe because of – it being a really unique solution among WordPress comment systems:

Overview
In all honesty, Postmatic is entirely different from everything else presented on this list so far. First, it’s not actually a commenting system in itself. It uses the native WordPress comment system.

But the magic is all in what happens under the hood. Postmatic takes your posts, and then sends them to your email subscribers automatically (there are integrations in place). Then – the key feature of Postmatic – your subscribers can comment on the post by simply replying to the email. Postmatic then takes that email reply and translates it into a live comment.

There’s Postmatic Basic, which is free, and Postmatic – the main premium plan. The pricing is based on your posting frequency. The list of brands that have trusted Postmatic already is quite impressive too. WP Tavern, Elegant Themes, and iThemes are just the tip of the iceberg.

Main features
  • Uses the native WordPress comment system.
  • Enables your audience to comment via email.
  • Sends your posts to subscribers via email.
  • Sends comment notifications and replies.
  • Integrates with OptinMonster, Gravity Forms, and others.
  • MailChimp and MailPoet integrations in place.
Pros and cons
  • Great way to enable people to comment via email.
  • Takes care of notifying your audience whenever there’s a new post, comment, and reply.
  • Can satisfy your comment + email newsletter needs at the same time.
  • Premium options rather expensive; $50 / month if you’re sending newsletters weekly, $95 if daily.
  • Not an alternative WordPress comment system per se.
Who is Postmatic best suited for?
Install Postmatic on your blog if you:
  • Like the native WordPress comment system, but just want to get bonus unique features to make it even more powerful.
  • Want to increase the number of comments you’re getting by enabling email comments.

 

Conclusion: WordPress Comment Systems Compared

Looking at WordPress comment systems, the default/native one is pretty basic by design. The four solutions we’ve presented offer rich additional functionality in their own unique ways, making them ideal for different audiences.

Although we may have had our issues with Disqus from an affiliate standpoint, it remains a solid comment system alongside Facebook Comments. However, the community-building power of Spot.IM shouldn’t be discounted.

To recap, if you’re looking to switch up your default WordPress comment system, check out:

  • Disqus: For high traffic websites with tech-savvy visitors.
  • Facebook Comments: For maximum visitor convenience and familiarity.
  • Spot.IM: For functionality that helps breed a more rounded community across your website.
  • Postmatic: For keeping the native WordPress comment system, but making it more community-friendly.

Have your tried any of these four alternative WordPress comment systems, or do you have another suggestion? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!

Layout and presentation by Karol K.

 

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is a freelance blogger, longtime WordPress enthusiast and the founder of WordCandy. Find him at http://wordcandy.co
  • Oliver

    Look, if Disqus has been caught replacing your affiliate links against your consent, and not just once, why
    – do you still use them
    – not sue them? (no, honestly, it’s a serious issue here)

  • I’ve used Disqus before, and enjoyed it in its early days. Now if feels bloated, and less supported when you come across any issues.

    I use FB Comments on a non-profit site I run, as that’s the comfort level for the main audience there.

    Everything else, I use Postmatic. I love the way it works seamlessly with your native set up (you can also use their Epoch plugin as an extension of your native design), and really, once you get over the idea comments must happen on a web page, it’s such a natural way to engage with readers and other commenters.

    • Postmatic is a great example of a well-thought out solution, Danny! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  • Ann Taylor

    where is de:comments? )

    • It wasn’t included in this piece, Ann – maybe in a future roundup. 🙂

  • Kai Freeman

    I’d go fb

    No login options for Twitter and Google. (That’s irrelevant tbh)
    Only allows you to @mention your Facebook friends. (Doesn’t matter what’s so ever)
    No way to edit a comment. (No problem)
    Comments are not in real-time. (Websites are dead pretty much, so it won’t matter)

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Thanks for this great review of the four largest commenting systems. I’ve turned to Postmatic to enhance one of my blogs when another service went private label. I’m not that active, so I don’t have a good use case to justify the switch yet. But Postmatic seems like a good option for enhancing WordPress commenting. I am considering testing out the Spot.IM plugin though on another site to see how that works.