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WordPress Discussion Settings: Enhance Security, Performance

Introduction to WordPress Discussion Settings

Navigating the world of WordPress Discussion Settings can seem alarming, especially if you’re new to the SEO landscape. However, understanding these settings is crucial for effectively managing your website’s interactions. This guide covers this page’s options and how to utilize them to your advantage.

The current article is "5.10. Discussion Settings" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
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Understanding WordPress Discussion Settings

You’ll find the Discussion Settings under the ‘Settings’ tab when logging into your WordPress dashboard. This page is your control center for customizing how your website communicates with your audience. It’s divided into several sections, each with its own set of controls.

Default Post Settings: The Basics

The Default Post Settings section is where you set the ground rules for new posts. Here, you can notify blogs you link to in your articles, receive notifications from other blogs linking to you (Trackbacks and Pingbacks), and allow or disallow comments on new posts. These WordPress Discussion Settings are essential for fostering community around your content.

Other Comment Settings: Fine-Tuning Your Interactions

The Other Comment Settings section offers more detailed control over your comments. You can require commenters to provide their name and email, restrict comments to registered users, automatically close comments on older posts, and enable threaded comments. With these WordPress Discussion Settings, you can create a more structured and manageable commenting environment.

Email Notifications: Staying Informed

The ‘Email Me Whenever’ section of the WordPress Discussion Settings allows you to receive email alerts for specific actions. You can be notified of a new comment or when a comment is held for moderation. This keeps you in the loop and lets you respond promptly to your audience’s feedback.

Before a Comment Appears: Maintaining Control

The ‘Before a Comment Appears’ section lets you decide when a comment is published on your site. You can require manual approval for all comments or only those from authors who haven’t had a comment approved before. These WordPress Discussion Settings ensure that you maintain control over the content that appears on your site.

Comment Moderation and Disallowed Comment Keys: Preventing Spam

Finally, the Comment Moderation and Disallowed Comment Keys sections allow you to set up automatic moderation rules and blocklist specific words, names, URLs, emails, or IP addresses. These WordPress Discussion Settings are your first defense against spam and unwanted comments.

Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
On the left side menu bar, hover with your mouse cursor over [Settings], then click on [Discussion] in the drop-down menu.

“Default post settings” section

[ ] Attempt to notify any blogs…
[ ] Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts
[V] Allow people to submit comments on new posts
These are the settings that will apply to new posts only. If you already post anything, you can change this behavior on a post basis.

The first two options are responsible for pingbacks and trackbacks. We should disable them since they do more harm than good. This means that WordPress will use less the “xmlrpc.php” and your site will be slightly more secure.
You want to enable the third option since you want people to engage on your site.

“Other comment settings” section of the WordPress Discussion Settings

[ ] Comment author must fill…
The comment section on each post has three fields: Name, Email, and Website. When you enable this feature, the “Name” and “Email” fields will be mandatory. Turning off this feature will make the “Name” and “Email” fields not mandatory, but the comments section will still show them. We don’t like to collect information about our users. Hence, we don’t need to state in the Privacy Policy that we collect this information. The problem is that these fields still appear in the comments section. Later in the Complete SEO Guide Box, we will use “functions.php” of the child theme to remove these fields visually so no one can leave their information unintentionally on our site.

In addition, some spammers write their site URL in the “Name” field or use the site domain in the “Email” field. Bad outbound external links from our site are bad for SEO rankings.

[ ] Users must be registered and logged…
The option is off by default. Since it is a content-only site, we don’t want users to register on our site, so there is no need to enable this option.

[ ] Automatically close comments on articles older than
This option of the WordPress Discussion settings is off by default. There is no need to close comments when time passes. You want to let the users comment any time they want doesn’t matter how old the post is.

[V] Show comments cookies opt-in checkbox, allowing comment author cookies to be set
This option is on by default. This is important. WordPress, by default, doesn’t save many cookies on the user’s computer. When a user comments, WordPress saves a cookie on the user’s computer browser to remember his Name and Email for future comments. This type of cookie is a Necessary Cookie. This means you don’t need a Cookie Consent banner for it. But still, you can disable WordPress setting a cookie for comments by enabling this option. It will show an empty checkbox with the comments section, asking the user if he wants to save the cookie, making him opt-in. This will be the comments section message following:
“[ ] Save my name, email, […] in this browser…”

[ ] Enable threaded (nested) comments
You should turn off this option. While it looks nice when there is a user’s comment and your responses under it go into threaded view. It adds more code to CSS, making our site heavier.

[ ] Break comments into pages with…
By default, this feature is off. SEO doesn’t like multiple pages for comments.

“Email me whenever” section of the WordPress Discussion Settings

[V] Anyone posts a comment
[V] A comment is held for moderation
You want to get emails when a new comment appears. This makes you respond faster to user’s comments, which makes you look more engaged with users and shows them that you’re committed to the site.

“Before a comment appears” section of the WordPress Discussion Settings

[V] Comment must be manually approved
You want to check each comment that gets onto your site. While we will install the Akismet Anti-spam plugin, it will not always get all the problematic comments, but it will do its best. You will want to check manually for the comments that escape Akismet. Sometimes, users post URLs to their site, which might not relate to your content, or their site is not quality content. This is considered bad SEO for your site. Think twice before letting users post links.

Avatar Display: [ ] Show Avatars
You should disable Avatars (Gravatars) in your comment section. While they look nice, they load slowly and add one more HTTP request to your site. It is not worth it.

Check if you need to set any other settings.

Click [Save Changes].

Read More

You can read more about WordPress Discussion Settings in the WordPress Docs.


Mastering the WordPress Discussion Settings is vital to creating a vibrant, engaging community around your content. By using these settings effectively, you can encourage meaningful interactions while minimizing spam and maintaining a respectful environment. Remember, the key to successful community management is balancing fostering engagement and ensuring a positive experience for your audience.

The current article is "5.10. Discussion Settings" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 5.9. Trackbacks/Pingbacks. Next Article: 5.11. Permalinks Settings


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