Thrive Comments vs. Disqus

Should you use Disqus or Thrive Comments on your WordPress website? What are the main differences between the two?

Thrive Comments is the newest alternative to the native WP comments. It’s a WordPress plugin that will bring a whole array of previously unavailable features to your WordPress comments.

Disqus is a universal comments platform that displays blog comments on your website. It’s available on almost any website platform, not just WordPress, and the comments are linked to Disqus’s online forum site.

So which one is best for your WordPress website?

We’ll go through the pros and cons of each, so you can choose the right solution for your particular situation.

Key Differences: Thrive Comments vs. Disqus

The main difference between Thrive Comments and Disqus is the scope of the programs. Since Disqus is part of a universal, multi platform network, it adds some interesting functionality, as well as a few constraints.

The Disqus system outsources comments to their network, so while the comments appear on your website, everything is controlled and hosted on the Disqus network.

The main benefits of this are:

  • Since comments are hosted on another network, people can discover your site from the Disqus network. This creates another traffic source for your website.
  • Since Disqus is a universal network, if a commenter on your site has a Disqus profile already they can use that to comment. No need to sign in again. 

The main downsides of this are:

  • You run the risk of losing visitors. The Disqus comments panel on your website has prompts to draw users back to the Disqus site, distracting a new visitor that’s just expressed interest in your site.
  • The comments are not on your WordPress website, they're on Disqus's site. While you can set them to import back to WordPress, it means your comments and WordPress site are reliant on an outside platform.
  • In order to moderate comments you need to navigate away from your WordPress dashboard to ‘Disqus Moderation’

Thrive Comments integrates with the Native WordPress comments system, meaning you keep the comments on your site, and all traffic on your site. It serves to upgrade the existing WordPress comments platform, keeping everything within your WordPress website.

One-Off Payments vs. Monthly vs. (Not So) Free

Thrive Comments is a one-off payment, while Disqus runs on a monthly fee structure. Disqus does offer a free plan, but this comes at the cost of Disqus putting advertisements on your site. 


1 Licence

$39

5 Licence Pack

$47

15 Licence Pack

$97

Includes:

  • For use on one, five or fifteen sites
  • Unlimited daily pageviews
  • Includes all features
  • One year of support
  • One-off payment

Disqus Basic

Free

  • Basic Features
  • Disqus will display their Ads on your site

Disqus Plus

$10/Month

  • Equates to $120 / year recurring
  • Under 50,000 total daily pageviews
  • Ability to turn Disqus Ads Off

Disqus Pro

$99/Month

  • Equates to $1188 / year recurring
  • Everything in Disqus Plus
  • Automated pre-moderation, shadow banning, audience analytics and other advanced features.

For this review we’ll be looking at how these programs improve the general comment functionality of your WordPress website. For that reason, we’ll be comparing Thrive Comments and Disqus Plus.

If you're after more in depth functionality, such as running ads for revenue within your site, the premium Disqus plan is more suited to you.

Note: Disqus won't run their ads on small, non-commercial websites. So if you just have a personal blog that you don't plan to monetize in anyway, you may be able to take advantage of Disqus Basic (free) plan without ads. If you’re planning on making any money what so ever from your site, expect ads with the free plan.

From the Visitor's Eyes - Front-end Feature Comparison

When it comes to the visitor experience on your website, Thrive Comments and Disqus Plus offer a very similar experience. The main differentiation is the Thrive Comments 'post-comment actions'.


With Thrive Comments, you can choose what happens after a visitor leaves a comment. It can be anything from giving a custom thank you message with a coupon code for your product, to redirecting a commenter to a specifc URL.


You can also set different actions for a first time commenters on your website, to really take advantage of a new possible lead putting their hand up on your website. Disqus doesn't offer any features that focus on conversions within your comments.

Feature

Thrive Comments

Disqus Plus

Up-Votes & Down-Votes

Award Badges

Add Custom Badges

Feature Comments

Nested Replies

Social Login

Social Sharing on Individual Comments

Commenters Get Email Notifications of Replies

Visitors Can Comment with Their Website Account

(Pro Only)

Supports Comments with Images

Visitors Can Subscribe to a Post (Email Notifications)

Show Commenters Related Posts

Post-Comment Social Sharing Prompts

Post-Comment Message

Post-Comment Page Re-Direct

Different Actions for First Time Commenters

Real Time Comments (Updating Without Reload)

Workflow & Moderation - Back-end Feature Comparison


Thrive Comments takes advantage of the existing WP comments moderation features. This means your existing moderation settings will remain in place when you install Thrive Comments.


All the existing WordPress moderation functions, such as blacklisting terms, manual approval for all or certain comments, and link checking, are available with Thrive Comments.


One strong suit over Disqus is the comment moderation dashboard with the WordPress dashboard. It's build for ease of processing, especially for bigger blogs with multiple contributors.


Comments are sorted by author, as well as whether or not they need a reply, so you can answer all comments that need you attention from a single tab. You can even assign comments to other site contributors.


While on the surface Disqus looks like it has an array of moderation features, the Disqus Plus plan actually has less moderation features than Thrive Comments.


All of the slightly more advanced moderation features, such as shadow banning and automated pre-moderation, are only part of the Disqus Pro plan ($99/month). 


Disqus does have a pretty handy email moderation feature for those who like to immediately handle comments. As a reply to the new comment notification email, you can type either Approve, Delete, Spam, or send in a reply comment.


In order to access comment moderation for your Disqus comments you need to navigate out of your WordPress dashboard and onto the Disqus site.


The actually moderation window is very basic, but does have some interesting filter options, including 'contains link' and 'low reputation users'.

Feature

Thrive Comments

Disqus Plus

Spam Filter Included

Moderation Directly On-Page/Post

Support Included

Email Notifications For New Comments

Auto-Close Comment Threads on Old Posts

Visitors Can Flag Comments

User Reputation Management

Restricted Words Filter

Auto-Retains Existing WP Comments

Comment Moderation Within WordPress Navigation

Moderate via Email

No Click Workflow for Comment Replying / Sorting

Delegate Comments to Other Site Contributors

Auto-Link Keywords in Reply

Double ‘Leave a Comment’ Prompts on Longer Comment Feeds

Sort Into Pages After X Number of Comments

Lazy Load for Site Speed

Customization & Settings Comparison

Feature

Thrive Comments

Disqus Plus

Change Custom Color

(2 Colors Only)

Translatable

Change Default Avatar

Turn Off Avatars

Change Default Sorting Order

Custom Author Badge

Add Comments Anywhere on Pages

Mobile Friendly

Change Date Format

Remove Dates

Reporting & Analytics Feature Comparison

While Disqus claims a whole suite of advanced reporting on their sales page, most of those features aren't available with the Plus membership. That means to see anything other than comment and vote rates over time, you'd need to fork out $99/month. Thrive Comments offers most of what's available in Disqus Pro's advanced reporting.

Feature

Thrive Comments

Disqus Plus

Total Comment Activity Over Time

Number of Votes Over Time

Comment Engagement Rates

(Pro Only)

Most Active Commenters

(Pro Only)

Most Popular Posts

(Pro Only)

Conclusion

With the low one-off payment, conversion focus and customization options, Thrive Comments offers much more functionality than Disqus Plus, at a cheaper long term price. For this reason, if you're after an upgrade for your general blog comments, Thrive Comments is the way to go. The only major benefit Disqus offers over Thrive Comments is the universal commenting network, but as mentioned above this is just as much a downside as it is a positive.


On the other hand, if you're looking at adding paid ads to your site, then it makes sense to look into Disqus as your comment solution because they add a simple method of integrating paid ads on your website.

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