Comments can be a valuable addition to your WordPress website.
A lively comment section can create a sense of community that encourages one-time visitors to keep coming back for more, and checking the comments can provide you with valuable feedback and ideas for future content. Search engines also index comments, so a thriving comment section can give your posts an always-welcome SEO (Search Engine Optimization) boost.
But there can also be a dark side to comments.
Maybe your website is being flooded by self-promotion, spam, or even abusive comments, and moderating them is starting to feel like a chore. Lengthy comment sections can also increase the time your site takes to load, so comments may occasionally have a negative impact on your site’s performance.
By default, WordPress enables comments on all posts, but if you’ve decided that comments are starting to hold your website back, then you may want to consider disabling them.
In this article, I’ll be covering a variety of ways in which you can modify or even completely disable your website’s comment section.
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What We’ll Be Covering
When it comes to accepting comments, WordPress has a ton of settings that allow you to control where visitors can post comments and the kind of comments you’ll accept.
There are too many settings to cover in a single post, but by the end of this article you’ll know how to:
- Block comments on all future pages and posts while continuing to accept comments on previous content. This can be useful if you’re changing your website’s content or commenting policies going forward, but don’t necessarily want to kill the discussion taking place on your previous posts.
- Disable comments for specific pages and posts only. This is ideal if only a few of your webpages are attracting negative attention, or you’re posting about a controversial topic and already know that this is one comment section you don’t want to have to moderate!
- Block comments on specific posts. Maybe a particular post is attracting lots of negative attention, or the post is time-sensitive and you want to make sure no-one tries to resurrect a dead comment section.
- Stop accepting comments on a specific post. This preserves all the post’s past comments, while adding a Comments are closed disclaimer.
- Close the comments automatically. Does your website feature lots of time-sensitive content? In this scenario, you can set the comment section to close automatically after a specific number of days have passed.
- Disable comments for all pages, posts, or even across your entire website. If you want to disable comments en masse, then it may be quicker to use the dedicated Disable Comments plugin.
- Delete all of your website’s existing comments. This is an optional step you can take, either in addition to disabling comments or instead of disabling comments.
Block Comments on All Future Posts and Pages
It’s possible to prevent visitors from commenting on your future content, while continuing to accept comments on your previous pages and posts:
- Log in to your WordPress account.
- Select Settings > Discussion from WordPress’s left-hand menu.
- Deselect the following checkbox: Allow people to submit comments on new posts.
You can override this setting and allow comments for certain posts and pages, so this can also be a useful solution if you want to prevent people from commenting on the majority of your future posts, but not all of your future content.
To override these settings for a specific page or post, you need to select the Allow comments checkbox. While editing this page or post, scroll to the Discussion section and select the Allow comments checkbox.
If you don’t see a Discussion section, then you’ll need to enable it:
- Scroll to the top of the page, and give the Screen Options button a click.
- Select the Discussion checkbox.
- Click the Screen Options tab again to close it.
Scroll down the page, and the Discussion section should have appeared. You can now select the Allow comments checkbox as normal, and start accepting comments on this post.
Close the Comments Section
There are many reasons why you might want to stop accepting comments on a specific post. For example, maybe the post features a long comment thread that’s starting to affect your site’s loading time, or perhaps it’s time-sensitive content that’s become outdated.
When you block comments on a specific post, WordPress will preserve your existing comments. People who visit this post in future will be able to view the past discussion, but they’ll also be met with a Comments are closed disclaimer.
To stop accepting comments on a specific post:
- In WordPress’s left-hand menu, select Posts > All Posts.
- Select all the posts where you wish to stop accepting comments.
- Click the Bulk Actions button, and select Edit.
- Click the Edit button’s accompanying Apply button.
Automatically Close Your Comments
For time-sensitive content, it may be easier to disable comments automatically after a specific number of days:
- In WordPress’s left-hand menu, navigate to Settings > Discussion.
- Scroll to Other comment settings.
- Select the following checkbox: Automatically close comments on posts older than….
- In the accompanying text field, enter the desired number of days.
- Click Save changes.
Now, this comment section will be closed automatically after the specified number of days have elapsed.
Disable Comments en Masse, With This Free Plugin
The free Disable Comments plugin allows you to disable comments across all post types, although it doesn’t give you the option to override these settings for individual posts. When Disable Comments is active, all comment-related widgets, trackbacks, and pingbacks will be disabled, and all comment sections, such as Read Comments and Discussion, will be removed from the WordPress Dashboard.
The Disable Comments plugin also gives you the option to globally disable comments for specific post types—for example, disabling comments on all posts or pages.
To set up this plugin:
- In WordPress, navigate to Plugins > Add New.
- Start searching for Disable Comments and click the plugin’s accompanying Install Now button when it appears.
- When prompted, click Activate.
- This plugin does require some configuration, so in WordPress’s left-hand menu, select Settings > Disable Comments.
You can now choose whether to disable comments:
- globally across your entire website
- for all posts only
- for all pages only
- for all media only
Once you’ve made your selection, click Save Changes to update your website.
Spring Clean Your Comments: Delete All Existing Comment Threads
Rather than disabling comments, you may want to delete all your existing comments, which can be useful if you want to take your website in a new direction or make a break with your existing community. Alternatively, if you’ve made the decision to disable comments, then you may also want to delete your previous comments, just in case visitors get confused about why your comment section is no longer working.
To send all your comments to the trash:
- Select Comments from WordPress’s left-hand menu.
- Click the Bulk actions button to open a dropdown menu.
- Select Move to Trash.
- Click the Apply button.
All of your comments will now be deleted.
In this quick tip, I covered several ways that you can regain control of your website’s comment section, or even disable it entirely. There are plenty more ways to tweak your site’s comment section, so if you have any different techniques then be sure to share them in the comments below! You can also check out some of our other tutorials for more advice on how to build your perfect WordPress website.
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