Managing WordPress Comments

Comments allow your visitors to provide feedback to your articles.

WordPress sites have comments enabled by default. One of the first things you need to decide is whether they should be left on or turned off.

In the Settings>Discussion section there are two settings (image below) that you should consider. They are

  • To disable comments .- This can be overridden on individual posts/pages.
  • Close comments after a set time.
  • comment author must fill out email address and name
  • break comments into pages



Note: Most small business websites will disable comments (not allow) and use a contact form for feedback

Comment Spam Management

If you do enable comments you will encounter spam comments.

The first step in combating spam is to use a spam filter.

There are many to choose from, Askimet being probably the most popular, but isn’t free for commercial sites

I use spam free WordPress on my sites.

Even with a spam filter installed you will still get spam so it is important that you check your comments and delete spam comments regularly otherwise you can get thousands of them.

If you go to the comments tab and then click on the spam column.


You will then see and option to empty the spam comments store.empty-spam

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Trackbacks and Pingbacks  are very similar and are used to notify other blogs that you have linked to them.

Trackbacks need to be done manually and so aren’t really used that much these days whereas pingbacks are automatic (if enabled).

The general consensus seem to be that they aren’t really worth bothering with due to spam problems, and the time taken to manage them.

I turn them off on a site wide  basis. Go to Settings>Discussion

See WordPress Trackbacks And Pingbacks: Are They Dead for a more detailed discussion.

Note: Trackbacks and pingbacks appear under the comments and are managed with comments.

Managing Comments Trackbacks and Pings on Individual Posts

Regardless of the site wide settings you can enable and disable comments, pingbacks and trackbacks on a post by post, page by page basis.


If you don’t see the comment options above then check that the discussion box is ticked in the screen Options (top right)


Moderating Comments

If you have enabled comments then you should ensure that comments are held for moderation before publishing.

Getting an email from new comments is a good way of reminding yourself to moderate them as if you don’t they can quickly build up.

In addition it is only polite to answer comments as quickly as possible.

To moderate comments go to the comments section

You can use the tick box next to author to select all comments on the page and then use the BULK action drop down box to select the action, then click apply.

You can also manage individual comments.

You can change the number of comments displayed on a page by going to screen options.

This is very useful if you have lots of comments you need to delete.

Dealing With Spam Comment Overload

If you have neglected your comments and have a huge backlog (>500) then you can install a plugin that will let you bulk delete the comments.

However be careful as most will delete all of you comments including the ones you have already approved.

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