Some time ago we looked at alternatives to using Disqus on WordPress. Disqus is an excellent comment system and it’s easy to install on WordPress and any other site, but I thought it was worth the effort to take a look at what else is out there. In recent days, since Disqus announced that they were to begin serving adverts in comment threads, the topic has come to mind once again. There’s nothing wrong with advertising, of course, but it puts a fine point on the way that Disqus, a free service, generates revenue; namely, by using the data it collects from publisher’s sites to target advertising. My data because I write posts, but also that of the people who are commenting so the adverts can be better targeted.
I’m not paranoid about exchanging my private data for services: I’m an enthusiastic user of Google’s services and I understand the payoffs involved. What I’m slightly more hesitant to do is to make that decision on behalf of readers who make comments on blogs I write for. As you can see we use Disqus comments on this blog, but without the advertising turned on.
But Disqus isn’t the only game in town. It’s certainly one of the best hosted SaaS commenting systems and it has an enormous number of users, but for site owners and bloggers who want to take control of their data, there are other options.
In this article, I’d like to take a look at self-hosted alternatives to Disqus that can be integrated with any site (provided you have some coding ability).
HashOver include much of the functionality of a third-party comment system, with the advantage being that the date remains firmly in your possession.
Vanilla is an open source forum and commenting platform. It’s probably one of the most mature and feature rich of the options I’ve discussed here today. At heart, Vanilla was created for building forums, but it also has an excellent comment system.
As you can see, if you have any concerns about entrusting your commenters’ data to a third-party, you have plenty of options for implementing feature-rich and private self-hosted open source alternatives.