Farewell Disqus

You might notice a fresh look down below in the comments. That’s because I am no longer using Disqus to host comments on.

There’s probably been plenty written about the state of Disqus, and frankly I’m not all that pleased with Disqus as of late either. Somehow it changed from a comments system to a weird, forced social network that you need to log into before commenting. What’s more, Disqus has gotten some flak for tracking visitors for ad data, and I’d rather not subjugate you, dear reader, to that kind of tracking. And I’ve heard from more than one person that does not comment on sites using Disqus because of these problems.

I held off on removing Disqus so long because despite performance and tracking issues, at least I had comments. My site is custom code and I didn’t feel like implementing my own comments, but it took a while for me to find an open-source alternative that I liked.

The project I found is called Isso by Martin Zimmermann and is implemented as a standalone, self-hosted Python application. It is embeddable via JavaScript, and stores comments in a SQLite database on the server. It can run standalone using a built-in server, or as a WSGI module. Currently the built-in server satisfies my needs, but it would be easy to upgrade to a bigger setup if the traffic gets heavy.

Isso is also easy to customize since it injects semantic HTML right into the generated comments area. I’ve added a little CSS to the comments to blend in with my blog theme.

Since my server is an all-Docker system (a subject for a future post?), I implemented Isso on my site as a new Docker container. This was super easy to do since user Wonderfall already has an excellent Docker image based on Alpine Linux with Isso already installed and ready to go.

I haven’t done any benchmarking, but my pages all load much faster and look cleaner. If you’re looking for a lightweight, standalone comments system for your own site or application, mabye give Isso a try. What do you think of it?


Let me know what you think in the comments below. Remember to keep it civil!

Subscribe to this thread

Jacob Mischka

I saw Isso advertised a couple months ago and it seems nice. Disqus not requiring a backend is a big advantage though, if your site is just statically generated then it’s still a better option.

Plus, I think Disqus is in general a better experience when/if it works. I like being actually logged into something vs entering name and email every time.

Stephen Coakley

I agree, that is a big advantage to Disqus is that it is quick to log in with Facebook, Twitter, or what-have-you. At the same time though, there’s a surprisingly large group who prefer to comment more anonymously than Disqus allows.

I think it would be a fair compromise if Isso could “remember” your user info via a cookie, so that you would only need to fill out the parts of your profile you wanted once for each site.


But I think isso remembers me, I commented on your first post yesterday and it keeps the data I entered after that. It is pretty nice, I myself hate disqus but have to keep it since my site is Jekyll based SSG. I am thinking of removing comments altogether to get rid of disqus.