WordPress has established itself as the most popular CMS available today! Used by fortune 500 companies, celebrities, municipalities, major news organizations and the little guy or gal, it offers robust features, versatility and social media integration. But it has it’s vulnerabilities also and one must be diligent to prevent WordPress from becoming a hackers dream.
When it comes to comments, unless you are running a Blog and are willing to moderate and manage the numerous comments and maintain a good level of security against comment spam, you’ll want to disable comments on your pages and posts. This is accomplished easily by going to the Discussion settings under the Dashboard label of Settings, and de-selecting the first 3 check boxes. Typically this works pretty good, but you may not be done!
If you do this after the fact, there could be pages and posts in your site or Blog that may have already been created that have comments enabled. This setting located in each individual page or post as you create it, overrides the settings under the Discussion menu. to see this option as create a new page pr post, click on the screen options tab at the top of the page or post editor and check the box for “Discussion”. This will show options at the bottom of your posts to either allow Comments or not. You can now make sure that comments are turned off for that particular post.
There is a quick way to do this, especially if you have a lot of pages. Click on “Pages” in your Dashboard, this will bring up a list of all of your pages (the same applies to posts), click the top check box above the list next to the word Title to select all, click the bulk actions box and choose Edit from the drop down, then click apply. A new window will open allowing you to select options for the entire page list you selected at once. Disable comment, and Trackbacks and Pingbacks if desired and save your settings. you just disabled comments on all pages you selected with one click.
Go to the next page, select all again and do the same thing until you have disabled all comments on all pages and posts in your list. Now you have absolutely turned off comments and no individual page will override the main settings. Looking good so far, but wait theres more! Few people know or notice, that WordPress, by default enables comments on all of your Media files you upload to WordPress. Thats right, after all we’ve done so far to disable them, there is still a “Back Door” vulnerability in WordPress to receive comments.
Unfortunately, there is no bulk actions option when dealing with media files. Why they didn’t put this ability or option in the newest version I’ll never know. But you will have to manually edit each media file to turn off comments. A tedious task if you have a lot of images. I recently discovered this back door vulnerability and experienced some comment spam on my site. Now I have truly disabled ALL comments on my site for pages, posts and media files and the comments have finally stopped. Of course there are some plugins out there to help but I wanted to make sure they were all turned off myself.
Be aware that when you create a new page (or post) or add new media files, you’ll have to double check to make sure there are no options set to allow comments. there are ways to edit the core files and turn them off from the core, but that is an extreme measure if you are not sure you won’t want comments at a future date. I didn’t haver to go that route and I am happy with the results from doing it the way I described above.
WordPress will never be free of hackers, spammers and the like, so again, if you don’t want to deal with comments because you are just too busy (like me) or you are not running a blog or discussion site, use the methods described to put a stop to it, once and for all, but with the option of turning them back on if you desire later on.