Linda Ikechukwu Frontend developer. Writer. Community Strategist. Building web interfaces that connect products to their target users.

4 plugins to add comments to your Gatsby.js blog

5 min read 1588

The Gatsby Logo

There are so many benefits to having comments on your blog. It provides an opportunity to interact with your readers and receive feedback on your writing. It also improves SEO because of user-generated content.

While there are a lot of great paid commenting platforms out there, in this post we will be focusing on plugins that you can use for free.

In this article, we’ll cover how you can seamlessly and with little configuration, integrate comments into your Gatsby blog using any of the four plugins below:

  1. Disqus
  2. GitTalk
  3. CommentBox
  4. GraphComment

1. Disqus

Disqus is a popular third-party comment plugin that makes it easy to add, manage, and moderate comments on a blog with little configuration.

Pros

  • Robust authentication options using Disqus account or social logins
  • Easily customizable and adapts to your site’s theme
  • Manage comments straight from your blog page or on the admin dashboard
  • Automated spam moderation using machine learning
  • Media (images, videos, and gifs) can be embedded in comments

Cons

  • Sometimes slows down page load speed because it doesn’t load asynchronously and has a lot of dependencies

Disqus in action

To get started with Disqus on Gatsby, you first need to register an account and click on ‘I want to install Disqus on my site’. On the next page, enter a website name and note it as we’ll be using it in a future step.

Screenshot of Website Name Field

Next, install gatsby-plugin-disqus :

npm install gatsby-plugin-disqus --save

Or

yarn add gatsby-plugin-disqus

Then, add and configure the plugin in gatsby-config.js:

// gatsby-config.js
module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    {
      resolve: `gatsby-plugin-disqus`,
      options: {
        shortname: `codewithlinda`
      }
    },
  ]
}


The shortname option should correspond to the website name you provided in the previous step.

We made a custom demo for .
No really. Click here to check it out.

The next step is to add the Disqus comment component to your blog pages template file:

import Disqus from 'gatsby-plugin-disqus'

const PostTemplate = () => (
  <>
    /* Page Contents */
    <Disqus 
      identifier={post.id}
      title={post.title}
      url={`${config.siteUrl}${location.pathname}`}
    />
  </>
)

export default PostTemplate

Depending on how your GraphQL queries are structured, provide an ID, title, and path URL. These help to correctly associate comment threads to corresponding blog posts. Deploy and navigate to your site URL, you should now have Disqus comments enabled.

Example of Disqus Comments Activated

2. GitTalk

GitTalk is a comment component based on GitHub issues and Preact. User authentication is done via GitHub, so it’s ideal for tech blogs as most of your readers will already have a GitHub account.

Pros

  • No performance drawbacks. GitTalk is serverless, so comments load up quickly
  • All comments will be stored in your GitHub repo, so you’ll be in control of all data and can easily migrate whenever you want to
  • Supports multiple languages

Cons

  • Available to only users with a GitHub account
  • No built-in moderation. This means that you can’t remove or disable a comment from the blog page, you’ll have to manually delete it from the GitHub issue thread

GitTalk in action

To integrate GitTalk to a Gatsby blog, we’ll use the gatsby-plugin-gitalk.

First, install the plugin:

npm install --save gatsby-plugin-gitalk

Or

yarn add gatsby-plugin-gitalk

Then register a new GitHub Oauth application for your blog to enable authentication and authorization. Provide an application name which can be anything, a homepage URL which should be the URL of your blog, a description, and an authorization callback URL which should also be the URL of your blog.

Authorization Callback URL Field Screenshot

Click on ‘register application’ to generate a Client ID and Client Secret which we’ll be using in the next step.

Next, add and configure the plugin in gatsby-config.js:

plugins: [
    {
      resolve: `gatsby-plugin-gitalk`,
      options: {
        config: {
          clientID: 'f16d485a306b836cabd1',
          clientSecret: '6ee5e2a6c2a4992fc49aeab2740e6493bbc9cfae',
          repo: 'gatsby-demo-comments',
          owner: 'Linda-Ikechukwu',
          admin: ['Linda-Ikechukwu']
        }

      }
    },
  ]

In the config options, the clientID and clientSecret are values from the previous step. The repo is the name of your repo where you want comment issues to be submitted – preferably the repo that houses code for your blog. The owner config is your GitHub username, and the admin is an array of repo owners and collaborators. There are other optional config parameters that can be found here.

Finally, add the comment component to your blog posts template file:

//in template/blog-post.js
import Gitalk from 'gatsby-plugin-gitalk'
import '@suziwen/gitalk/dist/gitalk.css'

const PostTemplate = () => {
  let gitalkConfig = {
    id: post.slug || post.id,
    title:post.frontmatter.title,
  }
  return (
     <Gitalk options={gitalkConfig}/>
  )
}

export default PostTemplate

The CSS file contains styles for the plugin. You can modify the styles of the comment component by copying the content of node_modules/@suziwen/gitalk/dist/gitalk.css, modify it, and import it as a replacement. Depending on how your GraphQL query is structured, provide an ID and title for the comment component.

When the first comment for a particular article is submitted, GitTalk opens an issue with the provided title in the config as the title of the issue and attaches any comments made under that article to that issue. You can delete a comment from your page by deleting the comment on your GitHub issue.

Example of Deleting Comment on GitHub Issue

To test, deploy, and visit your site URL, click on initialize comments and now you should have commenting enabled on your site.

An Example of Commenting Activated

3. CommentBox

CommentBox is a privacy-focused third-party commenting solution with a free tier of 100 comments per month.

Pros

  • Authentication through social or email login
  • Anonymous comments available
  • Manage comments straight from your blog page or on the admin dashboard
  • Import and migrate comments from Disqus

Cons

  • Limited free tier of 100 comments per month, after which you’ll be required to pay $15

CommentBox in action

To get started with CommentBox, you need to create an account. Enter your website domain without https and www. After that a project ID will be generated for you. Take note of that as it will be used in a future step.

Basic Info Fields on CommentBox

Next, install CommentBox via npm:

npm install commentbox.io --save

Then, add the comment component to your blog pages template file:

import commentBox from 'commentbox.io';
const BlogPostTemplate = ()=>{
  useEffect(() =>{
    commentBox('5632596591509504-proj')
  },[])

  return(
     <div className="commentbox" />
  )

}

The argument supplied to the commentBox function should be your project ID generated from the previous step. By default, comments are automatically approved but you can also choose to manually approve them from your dashboard.

If you wish to change the theme of the comment plugin, supply an object with the following parameters to the commentBox function:

commentBox('5632596591509504-proj', {
   backgroundColor: null,  // default transparent
   textColor: null,  // default black
    subtextColor: null,  // default grey
})

A Comment With a Different Theme

4. GraphComments

GraphComments is more than just a commenting platform. It’s a community system embedded right into your blog.

Pros

  • Authentication through social or email login
  • Anonymous commenting. Approved from the admin dashboard
  • Push notifications enabled. Users are alerted if they receive a response or upvotes on their comments
  • Media (images, videos, and GIFs) can be embedded in comments
  • Manage comments straight from your blog page or on the admin dashboard
  • Users can edit comments

Cons

  • Limited free tier of up to 1,000,000 data loads per month. This means that the total number of page views per month on your site will be limited to one million, after which GraphComments will be automatically disabled for the rest of the month. For sites with minimal traffic, this is really nothing to worry about.

GraphComments in action

To get started, first, sign up and add a new site on your dashboard. Note your unique ID as it will be used in a future step.

Unique ID Field Screenshot

After that, you’ll be redirected to your dashboard. Click on My sites > your site name > setup to find your setup script.

You can add the script to your blog posts template file using either react-inline-script or useEffect:

import Script from "react-inline-script"

<div id="graphcomment"></div>
      <Script>
        {`
          window.gc_params = {
              graphcomment_id: 'codewithlinda',
              fixed_header_height: 0,
          };

          (function() {
            var gc = document.createElement('script'); gc.type = 'text/javascript'; gc.async = true;
            gc.src = 'https://graphcomment.com/js/integration.js?' + Math.round(Math.random() * 1e8);
            (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(gc);
          })();
        `}
      </Script>

Or

useEffect(() => {
    window.gc_params = {
      graphcomment_id: 'codewithlinda',
      fixed_header_height: 0,
   };

  (function() {
    var gc = document.createElement('script'); gc.type = 'text/javascript'; gc.async = true;
    gc.src = 'https://graphcomment.com/js/integration.js?' + Math.round(Math.random() * 1e8);
    (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(gc);
  })();
 }, [])

Make sure the graphcomment_id value matches the one you gave in the previous step. That’s it. GraphComments should now be embedded on your blog pages.

GraphComments Enabled Example

Conclusion

In this article, I discussed and walked you through how to set up comments for a Gatsby blog, using any of the four plugins, Disqus, CommentBox, GitTalk, and GraphComments.

If you love being in control and want to manage everything about your blog, code, articles, and comments inclusive from one GitHub account, then go with GitTalk. If you don’t mind third-party tools (they’ll likely own your comment content) and want to stick with something that most web users are used to and will probably already have an account on, use Disqus. If you don’t want to be bothered with the performance drawbacks with Disqus then GraphComments and CommentBox both have neat interfaces with cool free tier offerings.

In the end, the choice of which commenting plugin to use totally depends on you. While the four plugins mentioned above are all great, there are other options available. Explore, find what works for you, and use it.

So, which commenting plugin do you prefer? Feel free to drop a comment.

: Full visibility into your web apps

LogRocket is a frontend application monitoring solution that lets you replay problems as if they happened in your own browser. Instead of guessing why errors happen, or asking users for screenshots and log dumps, LogRocket lets you replay the session to quickly understand what went wrong. It works perfectly with any app, regardless of framework, and has plugins to log additional context from Redux, Vuex, and @ngrx/store.

In addition to logging Redux actions and state, LogRocket records console logs, JavaScript errors, stacktraces, network requests/responses with headers + bodies, browser metadata, and custom logs. It also instruments the DOM to record the HTML and CSS on the page, recreating pixel-perfect videos of even the most complex single-page apps.

.
Linda Ikechukwu Frontend developer. Writer. Community Strategist. Building web interfaces that connect products to their target users.

4 Replies to “4 plugins to add comments to your Gatsby.js blog”

  1. Yea true. I use disqus on my own site because it was the only option I knew about then.

  2. Amazing details I got from your blog, Good content! I am just reaching out because I keep up the good work & so do you

Leave a Reply