How to Completely, Totally Turn off WordPress Comments for Good

How to Completely, Totally Turn off WordPress Comments for Good

For some of the websites you create, comments are completely unnecessary. Sometimes it’s a matter of not wanting people to comment on your pages.

Posts are fine, but why does WordPress even think that pages would need comments? Then there’s the fact that some comments present a security risk if they contain suspicious links that visitors unknowingly click on.

So, let’s keep this short and sweet. You want to get rid of comment functionality on your WordPress site? Here’s how to do it.

Editor’s note: This post was first published in 2013 but we’ve updated the content so it’s now current for 2017. Enjoy!

8 Ways to Disable Comments in WordPress

There are different reasons why you’d want to disable comments in WordPress and not every reason is going to lead you to the same solution. So, whether you want to disable comments for certain posts, disable comments on all pages, create tighter controls over who can comment, or just get rid of that pesky comment spam, there is a fix for you:

Method #1. Individual Page Controls

There may come a time when you want to block (or allow) comments on a specific page or post of your website. I’d say this is a pretty rare use case, but it’s still good to know that you have the option to control comments within each page.

Step 1
Navigate to the Page or Post in WordPress that you want to update this setting for.

Step 2
Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see a box labeled Discussion. If you do not see that box, scroll back up to the top of the page and drop open the Screen Options in the top-right corner. Click Discussion and then scroll down again. It should be there now.

Step 3
To disable comments on this page, unclick the Allow comments box. You can also disable trackbacks and pingbacks here as well. (More on that in option #5 below.)

Discussion box in the Dashboard

Step 4
Save your changes.

If you want to disable comments for all pages on your site, scroll down to option #7.

Method #2. Disable All Future Post Comments

Now, if you decide that you want to shut off comments on your posts, you can set a universal control from the Settings within WordPress.

Step 1
In WordPress, go down to the Settings tab and select Discussion.

Step 2
At the top of this page, you’ll see a section called Default article settings. Uncheck Allow people to post comments on new articles if you want to disable this functionality.

Default article settings

As is noted beneath that checkbox, you can override that setting by changing the settings on individual posts. Just follow option #1’s steps above.

Step 3
Save your changes.

Take note that this setting only applies to new posts that you create on your WordPress site. You’ll need to enable #3 if you want to disable comments on older posts.

Method #3. Set Auto-Close on Comment Sections

Let’s say you’ve taken care of #2, but you want to remove comments from previous posts. You can do this through the same discussion settings in WordPress.

Step 1
In WordPress, go down to the Settings tab and select Discussion.

Step 2
In the Other comments settings section, check the Automatically close comments on articles older than [0] days. This will effectively remove the comment form and thread on all posts previously created.

Other comment settings

Step 3
Save your changes.

Method #4. Implement Stricter Comment Controls

If the issue you have is that you like some of the comments coming through but want better control over which ones actually publish to your site, you can set up those restrictions within WordPress’s settings as well.

Step 1
In WordPress, go down to the Settings tab and select Discussion.

Step 2
The amount of control you put over how comments are submitted, reviewed, and approved is up to you.

Comment settings

This page will allow you to do a number of things like:

  • Only allow registered users to submit a comment.
  • Receive an email whenever a comment comes through.
  • Require manual approval of all comments.
  • Give frequent commenters a free pass to comment without approval.
  • Put comments into a queue if they contain suspicious links.
  • Blacklist comments that contain certain words, links, etc.

Step 3
Save your changes.

Method #5. Kick out Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Trackbacks and pingbacks are comments that appear on your posts after someone has linked to your content on their own website. Since many of these are just spam, many WordPress users choose to disable them entirely.

Step 1
In WordPress, go down to the Settings tab and select Discussion.

Step 2
Under default article settings, uncheck Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.

Trackbacks

You can also disable this on individual pages or posts by following option #1.

Step 3
Save your changes.

Method #6. Use the Akismet Plugin

The Akismet plugin is one of the most popular and well-reviewed WordPress plugins available, and for good reason. It sifts through all the comments that come into your site, instantly detecting whether or not they look like spam. The best thing about this plugin is that it’s pretty hands-off. You shouldn’t need to go into your Comments folder to clean out bad or other suspicious-looking comments. Akismet will put them aside for you.

Method #7. Use the Disable Comments Plugin

This is the WordPress plugin you’ll need if you want to completely disable comment functionality. This means that there will be no comments on pages or posts on your site. The Disable Comments also disables comments fields and sections throughout the WordPress admin so that users can’t override the universal settings. So, if you need a one-and-done comment disabler, this is it.

Method #8. Use the No Page Comment Plugin

As you can see from the other options here, there’s a lot you can do to control comments on posts in WordPress. When it comes to pages, however, it seems like you either have to disable comments on individual pages (option #1) or disable comments on every single page and post on your website (option #7). While you could use option #1 to go through and disable comments on each page, that’s time-consuming and downright annoying. That’s why you’ll need No Page Comment so you can set comment controls for pages all at once without affecting your posts.

Wrapping Up

Well, there you have it: eight simple ways to enable, disable, and get a better handle on comments on your WordPress site. It might seem like overkill, but every WordPress site has different needs when it comes to comments and thus different solutions are required.

Brenda Barron
Over to you: What is your reasoning for disabling comments on your site? Does it apply site-wide or is it just on pages or posts?