Is It Time to Uninstall the Disqus WordPress Plugin?

Is It Time to Uninstall the Disqus WordPress Plugin?

In August 2015, I recommended the Disqus Comment System as one of the plugins that should be installed in every WordPress website. Over the last five months, my opinion of this popular plugin has changed, not only based on the experience using it on Koffee-O-Matic, but seeing it in use on other sites as well.

Disqus has been one of the most popular commenting systems and WordPress plugins, It is intended to make commenting on blogs easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a large discussion community. The plugin integrates using the Disqus API,  and syncing with WordPress comments.

Identifying The Problem

The issues being experienced were either the website was taking a long time to completely load, or the Disqus Comment System simply would not load at all. Was the issue caused by a plugin conflict?  Could it be an issue of internet speed?  Is it an issue with Disqus?

It is extremely important that your website have the fastest load and rendering time possible.  A common perception is that it takes less than 2 seconds for a visitor to judge a website, deciding whether to stick around or move on. The longer your website loads, the more that 2 seconds is used waiting, the more likely your visitor will leave.

Disqus Not Loading

The Disqus Comment System slow to load issue was extremely noticeable, commonly giving an error message, asking the visitor to refresh the page. This drag on a website discourages commenting, and increases the bounce rate.

It is not like Disqus is a fly-by-night plugin. It is integrated into some big league websites like CNBC, Rolling Stone, and TheStreet. However, noticeably, even major media sites seem to have problems loading Disqus comments, or even loading pages altogether. Pick an article from one of these sites, and try a Pingdom Website Speed Test yourself.

Granted, many large media websites have issues greater than just the Disqus Comment System. They are heavy with advertisements, sponsored content, and 3rd party cookies dragging these sites down. They get away with slow website response, to a point, because visitors consider them extremely authoritative and simply tolerate it.

Solutions Provided by  Disqus

Disqus provides some solutions for frustrated users: (1) Clear both your browser’s cache and cookies, and (2) Temporarily disable all plugins, extensions, and add-ons in your browser. Their site also states that Disqus is designed for Internet Explorer 10, and if all else fails, switch browsers. I have found none of these to completely resolve the issues.

Moreover, to resolve the issue, it requires a highly motivated visitor, who wants to comment on your site so badly that they do an internet search to troubleshoot the problem, and then are willing to go through the suggested steps, including switching browsers. Does any of this sound likely?

Is It Time to Uninstall the Disqus?

Despite all the nifty features, Disqus seems to be more trouble than it is worth. The potential problem using any 3rd party service is that your site can be negatively effected by their poor performance.

This is the issue with Disqus, which can even be felt at times interacting through their own site. They are a popular system, and there are times when it seems either their code or servers just can’t handle the overall volume from the many sites using them.

If Disqus is slowing down your WordPress website, the added load and rendering time is not worth any supposed benefit. Uninstall the plugin.

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Brian Jackson

You can lazy load disqus on scroll or on click. Get’s rid of all those HTTP requests 🙂

Timothy Alexander

Thanks for the information. The plugin recommended in the article may help the initial page loading, but does the load on scroll or load on click options actually resolve the overall issue with Disqus?

Brian Jackson
Well in my opinion there really isn’t a perfect solution. Because if you use native WordPress comments then you need to make sure you are lazy loading all of your images otherwise each gravatar makes an individual HTTP request which in turn is slower than lazy loading disqus. But as you referred to above. I think a lot of heavy volume sites have issues because of all the other 3rd party content mixed in as well. Also, I know from experience on heavy volume sites it is advised to disable AJAX sync in the background on Disqus. That could be… Read more »
Timothy Alexander

Thank you for the very insightful comments. I agree. The solution will most likely be site specific.