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How to Disable WordPress Comments on Posts & Pages

The WordPress comment system is way more complex than you might expect. For this reason, it ends up confusing a lot of WP users.

The Discussion settings can only be used to disable comments (and pingbacks and trackbacks) for future posts you publish. For existing posts (and pages), you can disable comments via the post editor.

If you visit the Posts menu in your dashboard, you can use the bulk actions dropdown to turn off comments on many posts all at once. The other benefit of this method is that you can still display comments that you’ve already approved while removing the comment form.

And, the Disable Comments plugin is an excellent alternative if you want to quickly remove all comments and the comment form from all of your posts and pages.

Transcript

In this video, you'll learn how to completely disable comments in WordPress. Now disabling comments is actually a confusing topic. It's kind of annoying and people ask me about this a lot and sometimes you disable your comments just to find out that you haven't actually disabled them. So this system is a bit more complex than you might initially suspect. So let's go ahead and take a look at exactly how you can disable comments completely on your WordPress website. So here I have a sample website set up using the Startup Blog theme and we'll use two of these posts as our examples. So this first post, it has three comments on it and I've just opened that in a new tab. And then we'll use this post which has zero comments. So if I scroll to the bottom of this post, you'll see it has the comment form and no comments and the other post has three comments on it and the comment form displayed.

Now if I visit my dashboard, which I'm opening up in a new tab right now under the Settings menu, I can find a Discussion Settings menu. If I visit this, I'll see all of the different controls I have, um, for deciding exactly how comments work on my site. Now there's an option up at the default article settings section where I can allow people to post comments on new articles. If I uncheck this comments will be disabled on all new articles. So it's important to understand this distinction. Now that I've globally disabled comments, I haven't disabled them on existing posts. So this post that has zero comments and still has the comment form the post that has three comments still has it. If I were to add a new post and title it, whatever, it doesn't matter and I publish it and now I visit it and we'll see comments are closed.

So when you're in the discussion settings and you uncheck this box, you're only disabling comments on new articles. And what actually happened here, if I view this post again in the editor, is that in the Discussion Box right here, "Allow comments" has been unchecked and you'll also see pingbacks and track backs. That is not a common thing that people do on the web anymore. But you can uncheck this box and save as well and you'll see that within the editor right now, ping backs is still going to be checked off because remember this is all new posts, but if I were to disable both of these options and publish a new post, you would see them both unchecked here. So most people do not understand this, but these two settings are going to uncheck these two boxes in new posts that you publish.

So that is a convenient way to disable comments if you have a brand new WordPress site. But if you already have 10, 20, 50 posts, it's really, really tedious to disable them for each post because I could click edit posts on this one that has three comments and the comment form displayed. And if I go to edit post and I open up this discussion section and I make sure both of these are unchecked and then I visit the post. I'll see I still have three comments and in the comments section I have three comments and then the comment form is no longer available because I have disabled it. So this works well on an individual basis and it does allow you to preserve your existing comments. However, if you just want comments to be completely disabled, especially if you have thousands of posts published already, this is a huge pain to go into the editor and disabled them for each and every single post.

So one other option you have is to visit the Posts menu, click this checkbox at the top, and then use the Bulk Actions selector to choose Edit, and then press Apply. Once you press Apply, you're now editing every single post that was checked off. Now you can choose comments, do not allow, pings, do not allow, and update. So now both of the posts that I had, including the one that had no comments, now no longer accepts comments. So the reason that you would want to disable comments in this way is because you still want comments to display below the posts. In other words, if you already have, let's say 50 posts and they all have comments but you don't want new comments to be submitted, you can use this method to keep all of the existing comments published, but remove the comment form from every single post and before I move on to the last method, there's one more thing I want to show you.

My sample site here, it has nine posts published, so it's very easy to do them all at once. If you have 200 posts, you can still do this all at once. All you need to do is click on the Screen Options tab at the top right of the screen and then you'll find the number of items per page and you can increase this to 200 let's say once the page refreshes, you'll see up to 200 posts listed here all at once. Then you can check off this box, choose edit, apply, and turn off comments for all 200 all at once. So that will work for most sites, especially if you already have it disabled. Now for all future posts, that's all you need to do and you'll be done. One other method, if you want to hide all existing comments and disabled comments on all existing and future posts, um, if you want to do that, you can add this new plugin called disabled. Excuse me, Disable Comments.

It's this one or two called disabled comments. It's the first one right here with 200 5-star reviews. So we'll click install. Once it's installed, we'll click activate and it adds this notice at the top, which will go away in just a moment. But I'm going to use that link to go to the configuration page, which you can also find right here underneath Settings. And now if you want to disable comments on your posts, your pages, or media individually, you can do that. You can also choose this disable comments everywhere option. And this will disable comments on all of these different post types. It will also remove this Discussion menu from your site and it will remove the Comments menu. So if you really don't want comments at all, um, you can use this option. And after saving changes and refreshing if I go to a different page, you'll see comments are now gone.

Discussion is now gone. Um, just to show you the one other effect this has had, if I visit this post, which has three comments, you'll see that the disable comments plugin has not only removed the comment form, it's also removed all three comments. So just to summarize, so you can be completely sure what your options are. You can visit the Discussion Settings to disable ping backs, track backs and comments on all future articles. You can use the discussion box to turn off comments and ping backs and track backs on existing posts. You can visit the posts menu and use the bulk actions dropdown to disable comments, ping backs and track backs on all existing posts at once. And you can also install the Disable Comments plugin in order to completely disable comments everywhere across the site. So I know this is a point of confusion for a lot of WordPress users. I hope that this video helped you to completely understand how disabling comments works and WordPress once and for all. If you're still confused or stuck on something, just post a comment in the section below and if you want to see future videos, please remember to subscribe. Thanks for watching.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley

After using WordPress for the last 9 years, I've made dozens of websites, designed and developed 20 themes that have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, and personally helped thousands of WP users with their sites.

Now I'm sharing everything I know to help make WordPress an easier and more rewarding choice for building a website. If you have a question you want answered, submit your question here.