What is Disqus and How does Disqus work? All You Need To Know 2019

Disqus is a networked community platform used by hundreds of thousands of sites all over the web. With Disqus, your website gains a feature-rich comment system complete with social network integration, advanced administration and moderation options, and other extensive community functions. Most importantly, by utilizing Disqus, you are instantly plugging into our web-wide community network, connecting millions of global users to your small blog or large media hub.

Disqus works on just about any type of website or blog and can be installed either with a drop-in code snippet or by using one of the plugins available on our Install page. You can also customize and tweak Disqus for your website with extensive APIs and JavaScript hooks. Check out the Quick Start Guide or visit our homepage for more information and a demo of Disqus.

Engage

Spark engagement with comments! Engage, by Disqus, is the world’s most trusted comments plugin. It makes communities easier for publishers to manage, and readers love using it.

What is Disqus and How does Disqus work? Disqus is a networked community platform used by hundreds of thousands of sites all over the web. With Disqus, yo
  • Looks good. Automatically adapts to your sites design and colors, or you can set it to your own liking.
  • Works everywhere. Supports devices from desktop to mobile.
  • Used across the world. 70 languages supported and counting.

Get started with Engage over at the Engage Launchpad!

Reveal

Earn money with native ads! Native advertising made simple. Reveal, by Disqus, helps eligible publishers generate revenue from your growing audience.

What is Disqus and How does Disqus work? Disqus is a networked community platform used by hundreds of thousands of sites all over the web. With Disqus, yo
  • Flexible options. Native ad units are placed around comments. Pick the type of ad most suited to your site. You’re in complete control.
  • Adapts to your page. Reveal ads are responsive — they adapt to the look of your site and change layout based on device and width.
  • Revenue analytics. Understand how your website’s traffic and audience engagement affect the revenue you’re generating.
What is Disqus and How does Disqus work? Disqus is a networked community platform used by hundreds of thousands of sites all over the web. With Disqus, yo

How does Disqus work?

Disqus is a networked community platform for your website. To learn more about Disqus, read What is Disqus or visit the the Disqus website.

Get Started as a commenter Get Started as a publisher.

This page intends to provide a deeper understanding of how Disqus works, both from a conceptual and a technical level. This page is written for our advanced users who are curious about the inner-workings of Disqus — it’s absolutely not required reading in order to use the service.

At its core, Disqus is a third party system that provides commenting and other community features. The Disqus service also acts as an intrinsic network that connects each of these enabled websites together. Disqus uses JavaScript to embed, or display, the system onto the page.

Data architecture

We use some terminology that may be unfamiliar or used differently from other services.

Comments in the Disqus backend are called posts (and will be described as such in our API documentation). Because Disqus is used with blogs and other content management systems, using “posts” leads to ambiguity, so they are called comments in the frontend or when describing to end-users.

Threads contain comments. A thread is associated with a page which has Disqus embedded. For example, a page located at http://example.com/my-blog-post.html will have one unique thread associated with that page. This thread will contain all of the comments on the page, as well as everything else that is relevant to that instance of Disqus (such as likes, participating users, and other metadata). Threads are uniquely identified by either a page-provided identifier or a URL.

forum is a website’s account on Disqus. Note that this is not the same as the user account which registered the website. A forum indicates the website’s community on Disqus and is identified by the forum’s shortname. Take this example if your website is located at http://example.com. Your website’s name may be called My Example Website. Your forum shortname on Disqus may be myexamplewebsite.

For more terminology definitions, please read List of Terminology.

Loading Disqus

Whether websites use Disqus plugins or just manually embed the script, the system is loaded onto the page in generally the same way.

When a user visits a webpage that includes Disqus (for example, a blog post), the page makes a request to Disqus. Disqus uses the information defined on the page, called configuration variables, to locate the correct thread. Disqus will look up the associated thread and, if found, embed the correct threads with all the right comments onto the page. If an associated thread was not found, Disqus will create a new page with the data provided (again, in the configuration variables), and environment metadata such as page URL, page title, and current datetime.

When a thread is located or created, the Disqus script continues and generates the appropriate HTML, JavaScript, and CSS for your page and embeds it in the right location.

Posting to Disqus

The core of Disqus is posting comments and we strive to handle this in a smooth and secure way. Nearly all of Disqus is dynamically rendered HTML through JavaScript. However, the system makes use of iframes to directly communicate back to the Disqus servers when users post content. We use iframes to ensure security and to protect users against websites maliciously posting comments on their behalf.

When a user posts his or her comment, it is done within an iframe and sent directly to the Disqus servers. To the user, this entire experience is seamless and feels native to the website.

Further reading

This page describes how the core Disqus system works. If you’d like to learn about how comment counts are calculated and displayed, read How do comment counts work?.

Disqus Glossary

Disqus has its own vocabulary that we use to describe our different tools and features. Here’s a list of a few of our need-to-know terms and definitions for Engage and Reveal.

Engage Terms

API – The API enables developers to communicate with Disqus data from within their own applications. Our documentation provides further explanation on how to use our API, specifically. You can find more information on APIs, in general, on Wikipedia and Quora.

Ban User – The “Ban User” setting lets you block a user, IP address, or email address to prevent certain people from posting comments on your site. 

Comment Count – The number of comments per post. You can add a comment count link to display the number of comments below the title of each post. Get the how-to.

Community Guidelines – Rules of engagement for commenters on your site. Guidelines can cover topics like privacy, etiquette, expectations, and moderation settings. Learn more.

Configuration Variables – These are parameters for Disqus’s behaviors and settings. Configuration variables must be defined on each page that Disqus is loaded on, so be sure to include configuration variables in your dynamic templates that render pages.

Display name – A full name is the name carried across the Disqus network on your profile and is the name displayed with your comments. Your full name does not have to be unique and can contain spaces.

Full names are optional, though highly recommended. For added security, we recommend choosing a full name different from your username.

Embed – The discussion thread powered by Disqus—this is the comments section that Disqus adds to your site.

Engage – Disqus’s commenting and moderation tool.

Engagement – Engagement indicates how active your commenters and readers are. Engagement is measured by number of comments and votes.

Forum – A forum is your website community on the Disqus network. When you register your website on Disqus, you are creating a forum with a unique shortname. Your shortname is different than your username.

Every website using Disqus has a unique forum which is moderated by their respective administrators. A forum consists of the comments and comment threads posted by other users. Users, a.k.a. community profiles, are not unique to forums since people can belong to any number of communities on Disqus.

Import & Export Tools – Let you upload comments from another system into Disqus or download your Disqus comments onto your computer.

IP Address – A unique identifier for each computer connected to the network. You can ban an IP address to ensure that no commenters using that IP can post on your site.

Migration Tools – Let you update or move discussion threads on your site to a new thread. Migration tools are useful when you update your domain name, change your blogging system, or want to merge discussion threads. 

Moderation Panel – Site owners moderate the comments posted to their site (approve, mark as spam, delete) from the moderation panel. A forums’ moderation panel can be accessed with the following link: http://yourshortnamehere.disqus.com

Moderator – A moderator is responsible for managing a site’s community. Moderators delete and approve comments, mark spam, block or unblock commenters, and handle disputes between commenters. There are several different moderator types, including: Site Founder (primary moderator who can edit settings or comments), Site Admin (can edit settings or comments), and Site Moderator (can edit comments).

Pre-moderation – Turn on pre-moderation controls to require moderator approval for all comments.

Shortname – A unique identifier for your site that appears in your account URL. Access your site’s Disqus account by visiting yoursitesshortname.disqus.com/admin

Thread – The string of comments that readers post on your site. Disqus creates comment threads for your site so that your readers can have discussions about your content.

Trust User – Mark a user, IP address, or email address as “trusted” so those users can bypass certain moderation filters (such as spam).

Trusted Domains – Domains set by websites to specify which domains are allowed to create and load new threads with the Disqus javascript embed. We recommend that you add a trusted domain to ensure that your comments thread is hosted exclusively on your site.

Username – The name you use to login to Disqus. A username must be unique, and cannot be in use by more than one commenter at a time. A username cannot contain any spaces or special characters.

Usernames are used mostly for two purposes: logging into Disqus, and moderation (for site owners).

Word Filters – Use word filters to create a list of restricted words that automatically get queued for your review. Comments containing restricted words will not appear in the discussion until they’ve been approved by a moderator.

Reveal Terms

Ad Revenue – The amount of money you earn from Reveal ads.

Below-the-fold – The area of a webpage that is only visible after a reader scrolls down the page.

Impressions – An impression is counted every time a reader views a page on your site.

Reveal – Disqus’s monetization tool that lets eligible publishers earn revenue through ads powered by Disqus. Find out if your site is eligible for Reveal.

RPMv – Revenue per a thousand viewable impressions. This is the revenue you’ll receive every one thousand times your readers scroll down to view the Reveal ads in your Disqus forum.

Sponsored Links – Ads for popular articles from around the web.

Sponsored Story – The default ad type. These are cost-per-impression ads informed by reader engagement.

Viewable Impressions – How often a reader scrolls down to the Disqus forum below-the-fold to see Reveal ads. Your Reveal earnings are based in part on Viewable Impressions.

Viewability Percent – How often a reader scrolls down to view Reveal ads as a percentage of total pageviews. In other words, the percentage of viewable impressions per total impressions on your page.

Common Questions About Disqus

Still have a few questions before getting started with Disqus? We’ve put

together a list of some of the more common questions new users have. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for here, or on our website, please visit our Knowledge Base where you can search our documentation, or contact us with questions via the link at the bottom of any help article.

How much does it cost to use Disqus?

Disqus is free to use for most sites (small, non-commercial, non-profits, education). In addition, we offer several paid packages including Plus, Pro, and a Business tier. Visit the Pricing and Plans page for more detailed information.

Publishers looking for custom solutions should contact us to learn more.

Do you offer Single Sign-On (SSO)?

Single Sign-On (SSO) is currently available as an add-on for users with a Disqus Pro subscription. If you would like to subscribe to Pro, you can do so in your subscription settings at Admin > Settings > Subscription and Billing.

We’re a huge site. Do we need special support?

No — Disqus can uniquely say that we have the proven scale for any site and any amount of peak traffic.

The size of the Disqus network has never been bigger. We’re growing fast and just hit the 1 billion monthly unique user milestone. As of May 2013, Disqus handles more than 7 billion monthly pageviews. Put another way, a site with 100 million monthly pageviews represents a little over 1% of total Disqus traffic.

With millions of sites on our network, Disqus is constantly monitoring the health of our network and publicly documents this at status.disqus.com.

How do I get help?

Our support team has meticulously documented everything about Disqus, from installation to the Disqus API.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our Knowledge Base, feel free to contact us directly.

Does Disqus support translations?

Disqus supports dozens of languages. If we don’t yet offer your language, you can help us get there by providing your own translations! Our help doc provides everything you need to know about language options with Disqus.

How is spam filtered?

Disqus has an incredibly effective built-in spam filter which is executed right after a comment is posted. If you want to be extra cautious, you can help protect your site from spam with a few extra steps.

What effect does Disqus have on my site’s performance?

Disqus loads asynchronously (after the rest of your site has finished loading), so it won’t affect the rest of your page performance. For more detail, please see our help doc about page load performance.

Can Disqus help with SEO?

While better SEO is never the goal of an active commenting community, it is a nice side effect. Disqus has demonstrated that people spend more time on pages where Disqus is installed. This translates into more page views and more comments, which keep pages fresh and give search engines more data to crawl.

Disqus has worked closely with search engines, including Google, to ensure Disqus is crawlable, though ultimately, indexing is out of Disqus’ hands. That being said, there is always the option to sync comments locally to be rendered in the HTML of the page. Please see our help doc on indexing and syncronization for more information.

With which certifications does Disqus comply?

From government agencies to NGOs, the Disqus network is filled with sites that have particular needs. Our Support team is happy to answer any specific questions, but some of the more common standards that Disqus complies with are as follow:

  • Section 508 (screen reader accessible)
  • US Government approved social application
  • TRUSTe/EU Safe Harbor Compliant
  • SSAE 16 (formerly SAS 70) certified data center

Other related questions can often be addressed by our Terms & Policies documentation.

What about data ownership — do I own the comments posted through Disqus?

You own your data, period. Further, Disqus makes it easy both to import and export data.

If you’re just getting started, you can bring all of your old comments into Disqus through an easy import process.

Of course, you can always export your existing Disqus comments if you decide at any time to leave Disqus, or need a backup copy of your comments.

This FAQ is awesome and all my questions are answered! How do I get started?

Great news! Glad to have you on board with the web’s community of communities.

Our Publisher Quick Start Guide should get you up-and-running in no time.