Like many blogs out there I used Disqus for exchanging highly qualified comments. In my opinion a blog without a commenting system is a bit odd, especially for a tech blog - when writing guides there may remain some questions which perfectly fit into a commenting system. Since neither my previously used Ghost blog nor my current static site built with Gatsby come with a commenting system itself I've always relied on a third-party solution which led to Disqus in the first place.
But let's be real here: Disqus sucks. Let's talk about why Disqus is a bad choice and why I've switched to Commento!
Last year during my vacation in Croatia I opened my blog on my phone to check if everything was working. While checking a single post I was literally shocked: there has been an ad right above my comments. At that time I didn't display any ads at all - which left my pretty confused: where the fuck do these ads come from?
After some research I've found out that since the beginning of the year Disqus shows ads by default and charges a fee to remove them. The worst thing about that: nobody told me that. No mail, no notification, nothing. My blog has shown ads for months without me knowing it. At this time I didn't earn one cent from my blog - but Disqus did!
After I returned from my vacation I subscribed to some premium plan which allowed me to turn off ads - for 10 bucks per month. It's not that I went broke on that 10 bucks - but suddenly I paid more money for turning off ads within my comments than for my hosting, which is kinda weird.
The premium plan includes something called "Direct Support". Sadly the "direct" part is missing the "you need to be an US citizen for it to really be direct". As a European using Disqus time zones cause some serious troubles, resulting in exchanging around one message per day with the support. Some of my discussions were broken after releasing a new version of my blog (most likely due to my own fault) and it only took two weeks to explain my problem to the support and get it fixed.
Disqus follows a pretty aggressive form of tracking. I disabled all tracking relevant stuff I could find in the admin - but I'm not really sure if this means no tracking was done at all.
As of now, with Disqus gone, I can assure that there's no tracking done anymore.
Disqus adds an insane amount of files to your site;
I've searched for an alternative for quite some time - and even wanted to write one myself. But commenting systems are an iceberg problem which forced me to look for an existing solution.
The most interesting solutions I've found were Commento, Schnack, Isso and Remark42. Discourse has never been an option due to the 1 GB RAM requirement which is pretty impossible to get on shared hosting.
I ultimately went for Commento because of the provided OAuth providers; everyone should have a GitHub, Google or Twitter account. Remark42 also has social login functionality but is missing Twitter - and I really wanted to have a Twitter login.
Commento provides an importer to migrate from Disqus which works really well. Sadly avatars are gone - but you could even fix this with following a guide from remysharp.com (which is generally a great guide for migrating from Disqus to Commento).
I'm curious about how well Commento will do in the future - but as of now I'm just happy to finally getting rid of Disqus.
P.S. With this release I've also fixed the RSS feed!