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.