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How to turn off comments in WordPress

wordpress commentsA client recently asked: “I’m having trouble finding the spot where I would turn off comments. I seem to be getting a lot of spam… so I’d rather just turn them off for now.”

This is a very good question with a multi-layered answer (of course!). In case you have been wondering how to turn off comments in WordPress, this post is for you. First, a question:

When should you allow comments in WordPress?

Comments are a great way to build community and encourage discussion on your website. However, comments are not necessarily appropriate on all websites or in all situations. Plus, comments can come with some time-consuming pitfalls such as SPAM comments and participating in blog conversations yourself.

We lean toward leaving comments on in the appropriate places and using plugins to help sift through annoying SPAM comments. WordPress comment spam can be avoided by using Akismet. This plugin sifts most SPAM comments to your SPAM folder, and it even deletes SPAM comments after 30 days if you choose. This plugin is not totally foolproof. Akismet can let some SPAM through and sometimes filter legitimate comments. Overall it is a godsend in helping you. They have free and paid products, so choose the one that fits your situation.

Check this article on how to set up Akismet

When should you turn comments off in WordPress?

Evaluate your site first. Search engines love to see this kind of activity on your site. Also, your followers also love to feel that sense of community like their opinion matters. First, you should decide if your site is the right place for comments and community. If not, then turning off comments is okay.

Turn comments off on pages. I’ve never seen a case where comments on pages is useful. In fact, allowing comments on pages can be confusing for you AND your visitors. I recommend you always, always turn comments off on pages. To do so, go to Screen Options at the top-right of your Edit Page page (or Add New Page if you are creating a new page) and make sure the Discussion check box is checked.

how to turn off comments in wordpress

How to turn off comments in WordPress?

If you choose to turn comments off in WordPress, there are several ways to accomplish it.

1. Turn comments off site-wide. To turn off comments on your entire site,

  • Log in to your WordPress Dashboard
  • Go to ‘Settings > Discussion’
  • UNcheck the checkbox labeled ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’
  • Check the checkbox labeled ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment’
  • For extra measure, click the checkbox labeled Automatically close comments on articles older than… and set the number of days to -0- (Zero)
  • For added measures, click the checkbox labeled ‘Comment must be manually approved’ (This is mostly to ensure comments don’t get posted to your site without your knowledge)

2. Turn comments off page-by-page. You can allow/disallow comments on an individual basis. Use the instructions given above for turning off Page comments, they are the same for turning comments off in Posts.

3. Use your theme’s preferences. Some themes allow you to turn off comments site-wide with the simple click of a button. This is the simplest method, but note that 1) not all themes have this options, and 2) if you switch from a theme that has the option to one that doesn’t, the settings don’t carry over. You still need to use the process described in #1 to turn off comments. We recommend #1 as your best way to turn off comments in WordPress.

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