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Intro to WordPress Comment Settings

Turn Comments On/Off & Adjust Comment Settings

If your website includes frequently published content in the form of posts (like the blog you’re reading right now), it’s important to consider whether or not you want to allow site visitors to leave comments on those posts. By default, WordPress has comments automatically turned on for posts, but it’s up to you to decide if open commenting best suits your vision – and if it’s worth the time and energy it may require to moderate it. 

Comments are a great way to engage with users and build a sense of community within your online space. Of course, if you’ve ever scrolled through the comments section on a popular blog, you’ll know that they can also open you up to some not so nice things as well. Unwanted commentary like spam, virtual arguments between users, and unsavory language or content is an unfortunate reality of letting anyone with a smartphone or computer reply to your posts. But if engaging with your visitors is important to you and you’re willing to spend a little extra time monitoring the comments section, WordPress can meet you halfway with the helpful option to review any comments before they’re published on your website. We’ll show you how to explore all of that feature and more below.

How to turn comments on and off for all new posts:

  • From the admin area, hover over “Settings” and click “Discussion.”
  • On the Discussion page, uncheck the box next to “Allow people to submit comments on new posts.”
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Save Changes” button.

Note: This will automatically turn off comments for all posts you create after adjusting the setting. However, any comments made prior to you changing this setting will remain and users can still add comments to posts made prior to that change. On the other hand, you can override this setting on individual posts, so you can allow comments on any individual new posts if you update the settings on that specific post. Read on to learn how.

How to turn comments on and off for individual posts:

  • Navigate to the edit page of the post you want to adjust comment settings on.
  • In the sidebar on the right, click “Discussion” to expand the options.
  • Check the “Allow Comments” box to permit comments on the post, or uncheck it to prevent commenting.

Note: Settings made on individual posts will override any settings made in the Settings > Discussion area. To turn comments on or off from multiple posts at once, check out this helpful post

How to require approval for comments to appear on your site:

  • Hover over Settings on the admin menu and click “Discussion.”
  • Check the box next to “Comment must be manually approved.”
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Save Changes” button.

Note: Just below the box to require approval, there’s an option to allow comments to show without approval if their author has already had a comment approved. If you approve of your users’ manners after a first interaction, you can let them continue commenting freely once their first comment has been approved.

How to delete existing comments:

Screenshot showing comment features.

  • Click “Comments” from the admin area.
  • Locate the comment you want to delete. You can search the comments with the search bar on the right to find what you’re looking for. To sort your search results by the post’s title, click “In response to.” You can also sort by clicking any of the other headings (see the screenshot above).
  • Hover over the comment and click “Trash” (screenshot).
  • You can delete multiple comments at once by checking the box next to each and then selecting “Move to trash” from the “Bulk actions” dropdown.

Comments are much more commonly used on posts, but if there’s a specific page or pages where you think commenting would be a good addition, there’s a way to turn them on.

Turning comments on/off for pages:

  • By default comments are turned off for all pages. To allow them, hover over “Pages” and click “All Pages.”
  • Find the page you want to allow comments on in the list, and click on it.
  • In the sidebar on the right, click “Discussion” to expand the options.
  • Check the “Allow Comments” box to permit comments on the post or uncheck it to prevent commenting.

Additional Comment Settings & Options

When it comes to comment settings and options, we’ve only scratched the surface in this post. WordPress has lots to offer when it comes to fine tuning your comments section. If moderating a large volume of comments becomes a priority, you can turn on email notifications to alert you to new comments. For an environment that feels more personal, you can require users to include a name and email with their comments. You can even have WordPress automatically close commenting on older posts to streamline your moderating workload. 

There are even more settings that you can use to tailor your comments section to your needs, and if you’re interested in exploring the rest, you can check them out by hovering over “Settings” and clicking “Discussion.” We hope this was a good introduction to the basic ins and outs of comment settings to get you started – and if you haven’t already, check out our essential tips for WordPress beginners for even more helpful hints on mastering the basics.

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