Disqus and IntenseDebate are both feature rich plugins for WordPress that really amp up the commenting experience on your blog. They both simply and dynamically replacing the normal WordPress comments template with their souped up version, which you are then able to make some customizations to.

Disqus Timeout Issues

Recently, I was working on a client site and they wanted to make sure that users could log in with their Facebook account to leave comments on the blog. We started out with Disqus, and it was a breeze to get going. Then we noticed that the site would periodically timeout. We contacted Rackspace, and tried several different fixes, and finally I decided to deactivate Disqus. Now, I’m no expert in this area, but to me, if I turn off a plugin, and the problem goes away, then there’s an error somewhere in the pipeline. Unfortunately, neither Rackspace, Disqus, or I could figure out why this was happening. It would have been nice to have gotten down to the bottom of the issue, but we really just needed to get things moving along so we could get closer to launch. So we decided to try IntenseDebate.

So far, we haven’t had the timeout issue at all, but we did just so happen to choose them in the middle of them experiencing a strange error that wasn’t letting users change their settings. We contacted them and they let us know they were already on it. We also asked them about how well the comments would sync to our WordPress database. Their email response was more than satisfactory, and I felt like sharing it.

Email Support from IntenseDebate

This has been corrected. It was related to a recent code and feature update that we just released: a new moderator role. Please feel free to check it out at http://wp.me/plsX6-GX.

Every single comment submitted via IntenseDebate is automatically synced to your database and WordPress comments.

ID runs parallel to your WP comments so if one of your readers has JavaScript disabled in their browser then they’ll still see all of the comments (since we sync back to WP) and be able to leave their own. Any comment posted in WP is automatically imported into ID (including all of your old comments) so they won’t miss a beat.

We’ve also got a really cool feature called SyncRepair which runs in the background to clear-up any discrepancies between the number of comments in ID vs. WP (just in case sync is interrupted). All of this makes our “Graceful Fail” system possible – if there’s a load delay then ID will revert to your default WP comments so your site doesn’t get hosed. Any comments left in WP during that time will be imported into ID.

IntenseDebate is an Automattic invention so our plugin is built and maintained by WordPress core developers.

Sorry for the trouble. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Thanks for your patience,

This isn’t to say that Disqus has lost the debate, and their support team was there to try to help us in our peculiar situation, but in this case, we were very happy to have found a good solution for us that came with the support we needed as well. And as Michael pointed out, IntenseDebate is an Automattic plugin, and that’s an extra brownie point from me.

I know there are many folks that take sides with either plugin, but this is my first time to ever deal with either, so I would love to hear your opinion on them both.

20 thoughts on "Disqus vs. IntenseDebate – Easy to discuss, or an intense debate?"

  1. I had a great experience with them, too. I needed help trying to figure out if ID could be used in a non-blog Web site. Michael came through with an answer within six hours of me posting my e-mail. Implementation was easy. Also, major props for allowing CSS styling!

  2. I currently use the standard WordPress comment template for my blog. I haven’t tried either Disqus or IntenseDebate (this is actually the first time I have heard of IntenseDebate). I have commented on other blogs which have used Disqus, and have not had any problems.

    After reading your article I am considering using Disqus or IntenseDebate as I feel I may be missing out on something. Ordinarily I minimize my use of plug-ins for the sort of integration problems that you discuss in your article.

    What are your thoughts? Is it worth the effort to use Disqus or IntenseDebate?

  3. Tammy Hart says:


    both plugins give you a really nice interface to manage and moderate your comments, and they also allow extra log in features through facebook, OpenID, twitter, and their own user bases as well. This makes it nice to link back to yourself, stay logged in through their proprietary systems from one site to the other, and create a profile that is geared straight towards what other readers might want to know about you as a commenter.

    They also both have features for rating and voting on comments and commenters. I personally don’t use them on my blogs because I don’t have a lot of commenting and as a designer I prefer to have full customization control over the comments and comment form.

  4. Ariel Nieto says:

    Hello!! I’am usid Disqus on my blog, but i tried the last day to add other blog at disqus, But comes “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page.” 404 Error. I am working from Germany. Now I’ve noticed that some blogs (good blogs) with Disqus before now migrate to Intense Debate!! Soy Today I will test it too.
    Thanks, (sorry for my English)

  5. Kojack says:

    that is a good review,
    I just planned to use Disqus but after read your review,
    I also considering ID as alternative.
    Thanks for review

  6. Thanks for the review… i’ve used disqus on a previous site and had a few glitches with it. Been thinking about ID and after reading this review am installing it on one of my site

  7. Derek Murphy says:

    Great thanks – what are you using for comments on this site? Looks good.

  8. dean L says:

    I use Disqus on http://www.greensupercar.com
    and yes some things may not be perfect, but module is very good and easy to use. Faster than tweaking with 10 different modules to make your comments work in the similar way

  9. I like Disqus. Mainly for its friendly user interface and lovely “Reactions” part.

  10. Owen Marcus says:

    I generally don’t use these plugins. I started using Disqus because it seemed more popular.

  11. nxtjv says:

    I recently installed disqus on one of my sites and noticed on a couple blog posts my adsense banners were only appearing black. Prior to installing disqus this was not an issue. I’m thinking of switching to ID, but hate to keep changing the comments on the viewers. Looks like ID gives you more features for free than disqus so I’m kinda wishing I tried ID first.
    Thanks for the review and everyone else’s comments!

  12. afad says:

    test adn test again 😉

  13. Villa Holiday says:

    I had to use both of them. At first I was only trying each of them and then I just left them there. One year later I have a bunch of comments so I decided to leave them in place so I won’t ruin my blogs. ID has some issues with comments disappearing though.

  14. platonic says:

    disqus ,intensedebate all have their prons and cons but
    i am using intensedebate it work.

  15. Martin says:

    I was just doing a web search to discover who’s using IntenseDebate or other systems and stumbled across yours.

    Personally, I’ve just installed ID on my 3 blogs as it looks like it’s come a long way in polish, features and stability from what I’ve previously read.

    Nice post too and thanks for sharing your experiences with the world.

  16. Roomi says:

    I am using Blogger and their simple default commenting system it is good actually I heard a lot that using Disqus and IntenseDebate may slow down your blog speed that’s why I keep my blog away from these services.

  17. 2lessons says:

    I just installed Discus. Its has got a really nice user interactivity and matches my sites looks. It integrates into blogger in 1 click. But still i’m searching something similar to CommentLUV

  18. This is honestlyone of the best site on the internet to peruse in the afternoon while drinking some coffee . We think what is posted here is really interesting.

  19. Allison says:

    Intense Debate is my go to commenting system on my sites…although I like using Facebook comments too so I can get some demographic info on my audience

  20. bloggerwits says:

    I personally like intensedebate over disqas, because of dofollow links

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