Code Vamping

Comment Systems for Static Websites

Static websites are fast and tend to be simple to maintain. But the lack of processing on the server side means that comments (and other interaction) is a bit of a hassle.

Below is a list - by no means complete - of the systems for doing comments on a static website. In the end, they all amount to the same thing; using a server to serve comments. The differences are all around whose server are you using.

For each system, I try to give a neutral description. Afterwards, in italics, I’ve given my very subjective opinions. Those should be taken with a grain of salt.

I expect to continue to add to this list as I have time. Please the References at the end for other lists.

Note: the below list is in alphabetical order.

Commento CommentBox Closed Source. Free plan only allows 100 comments per month (but unlimited views). Page to comment linkage can be specified in the Javascript.
Disqus Probably the best known of the services. Free, but ad-based. Comment data resides in their servers. User authentication is done. The user can sign-up using a Google account, A Facebook account, or an email and password. The user's identity will follow to all sites using Disqus.
[Lots of privacy concerns. And the types of ads are also concerning.]
Discourse The software is open-source hosted on Github. Login can be integrated with most social sites. There is a really comprehensive api for automating tasks or keeping stats. Your hosting choices are
  • Host it yourself
  • Pay Discourse to install it on Digital Ocean - no support after the install
  • Pay Discourse to host it
Gitment Stores comments as github issues similar to utterances. You have to initialize each page as it is pulished.
[Utterances wears it better]
GraphComment Free up to a million page views. Integrates login with social sites. Has support to do sharing without redirection to the GraphComment servers. The free tier spam filtering is all manual.
IntenseDebate By Automattic - the company behind Wordpress.Com (not org) and Akismet.
[Sorry can't take that name seriously. Also, nothing on the site about pricing.]
isso Do-it-yourself to the max. Written in python. Comments stored in SQLite. You figure out the hosting.
[I love the hacker mentality.]
Muut Closed Source. No free plan.
StaticMan Stores comments as text files in your github repository. Has integration to Akismet and reCaptcha. It can be used for any interaction with the user. This is just a backend. You get to code the submission form and figure out how to display the comments. Code is hosted on GitHub. Good information on configuring with hugo is here.
[I don't mind the set up work - it only needs to be done once. But the actual work binarymist goes through for each post (see comments on the post) is a bit much. Can it be automated a bit? Also, GitHub limits]
Talk by the Coral Project Founded by Mozilla, democracy fund, and others. Open Source. For a small blog, this would definitely be a DYI process.
TalkYard OPen Source so you could host yourself. Hosted option is free for less than 24 posts per *year*
Utterances Stores the comments as comments against github issues. Each issue will represent the comments for a particular page. You can control association. The workflow is one by calling GitHub API in javascript directly from your page.
[Does require that the commenter be a GitHub user. This is what I am currently using on this wesite.]