Disqus (/dɪsˈkʌs/) is a worldwide blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities that use a networked platform. The company's platform includes various features, such as social integration, social networking, user profiles, spam and moderation tools, analytics, email notifications, and mobile commenting. It was founded in 2007 by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan as a Y Combinator startup.

Disqus, Inc.
Type of businessPrivate
Available inMultilingual
FoundedOctober 30, 2007 (2007-10-30)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Daniel Ha
Jason Yan
Key peopleDaniel Ha (CEO)
Jason Yan (CTO)
Employees61 (2014)[1]
ParentZeta Global
Alexa rank 1,359 (As of 19 March 2019)[2]
LaunchedOctober 30, 2007
Current statusActive

In 2011, Disqus ranked #1 in Quantcast's U.S. networks with 144 million monthly unique U.S. visits.[3] Disqus has been featured on many major publications, such as CNN, The Daily Telegraph, and IGN, and about 750,000 blogs and web sites.[4]

On December 5, 2017, Disqus was acquired by Zeta Global. The news of the acquisition was announced in a blog post by Disqus.[5]


Disqus was first developed in the summer of 2007 as a Y Combinator startup headed by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan, who were undergraduates at the University of California, Davis.[6] Disqus was launched on October 30, 2007.[7]

In early 2011, Disqus raised $10 million in funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.[8]

According to a study by Lijit, Disqus was used by 75% of websites in March 2011 who used a third-party commenting or discussion system.[9]

On December 5, 2017, Zeta Global announced that it had acquired Disqus for an undisclosed amount.[10][11] In a blog post, Disqus stated that it plans to continue operations as normal.[12]


The Disqus comment widget is written in JavaScript and is powered by a back end primarily written in Python using the Django framework.

Business model

Disqus operates on the freemium financial model similar to Dropbox and Evernote. The service is free to use for both commenters and web sites. Web sites can pay fees to unlock additional features.

In November 2010, Disqus began officially offering three add-on packages for web sites:

Starting July 2012, Disqus offered just two premium packages, the VIP package and a single-sign-on-only package for $99/month.

Premium packages were phased out starting in March 2013.

On January 4, 2017, Disqus announced new premium packages rolling out in March 2017.[13] A later blog post clarified that over 95% of sites using Disqus, mostly personal blogs and non-commercial sites, will be unaffected by the new premium model.[14] Pricing is as follows:[15]

  • Basic – Free, ad supported.
  • Plus – $10/month – For sites with < 50,000 daily pageviews.
  • Pro – $99/month – For sites with < 250,000 daily pageviews.
  • Business – Sites with > 250,000 daily pageviews will be contacted by Disqus directly with pricing.


Disqus Plans

As of 2017, Disqus offers several subscription plans:[16][17][18]


Disqus Basic is a free, ads-supported plan. It includes access to the core functionality of Disqus, including:

  • Comments plug-in
  • Spam filtering
  • Moderation tools
  • Basic analytics
  • Configurable ads
  • Real-time discussions
  • Photo and video support


Disqus Plus includes all the features of Basic, plus the ability to turn off ads.


Disqus Pro includes all features from Plus including:[19]


Disqus Business is an enterprise plan that is configurable to a site's needs.

Language support

Both the Disqus site and comment system were translated into more than sixty languages in 2011. With the introduction of the new Disqus in 2012, language support dropped to seven languages[20] and even though Disqus accepts applications for new languages,[21] only one has been added since bringing the current number of supported languages to eight as of 2013.

As of 2017,[22] Disqus is translated in 36 languages including Spanish, French, Japanese, and Chinese using crowd-sourced translation on Transifex.[23]

Criticism, privacy, and security concerns

Privacy issues have been noted as inherent in the use of services like Disqus, which serve their content through third-party JavaScript widgets.[24][25][26]

As with other embedded web widgets, such as like buttons, the Disqus widget acts as a web bug which tracks a user's activities, even when they are not logged in, across different sites that use the Disqus commenting system. Information tracked by Disqus, which may be disclosed to third parties, includes pseudonymous analytics data, such as a user's IP address, their web browser version and installed add-ons, and their referring pages and exit links.[27] Although these data are referred to by Disqus as "Non-Personally Identifiable Information", such data, when aggregated, has been shown to be usable for de-anonymizing users.[25]

Disqus has also been criticized for publishing its registered users' entire commenting histories, along with a list of connected blogs and services, on the publicly viewable user profile pages.[28] The option to keep profile activity private was later added.

Disqus does moderate communities which use its service, by treating some comments as spam, when clearly they are not, in other words, it censors political comment, possibly by key word detection, leading to controversial moderation in some communities. Disqus not only intervenes when the Terms of Service have been violated, leading to criticisms that Disqus allows racist and otherwise offensive content to be created on the platform.

Disqus also was criticized for not giving users control over who follows them. Prior to 2014, any user could follow any other user, but a user being followed could not control or block who was following them, which led to harassment among some users.[29]

If Disqus shuts down, hundreds of millions of comments would be wiped away from a wide range of sites, since by the very nature of the service, comment content is not being managed locally by sites implementing the service. However, it is possible for site administrators to export all of their comments as an XML document which can then be ported into other commenting systems.[30]

In September 2014, it announced an update to its privacy policy: "Disqus will be using anonymous interest data for content personalization and ad targeting."[31]

2013 security breach

In 2013 a Swedish group called Researchgruppen obtained and exposed a large number of anonymous Disqus identities through the application programming interface (API).[32] The group cooperated with the Bonnier tabloid Expressen, who subsequently visited some of the commentators in their homes, confronting them with allegedly racist, misogynic, and derogatory sentiments. Researchgruppen said their database contained millions of comments from Disqus users around the world who are at risk of de-anonymization.[33][34][35] In March 2014, Expressen and Researchgruppen won the investigative reporting award Guldspaden.[36]

October 2017 security breach

On October 6, 2017, Disqus announced that a snapshot of its database from 2012, containing 17.5 million users' email addresses, login names and sign-up dates from between 2007-2012, had been exposed.[37] The data dump also included, for about a third of the affected accounts, passwords that had been salted and hashed with SHA1.[37][38][39][40]

Issues with delete button

Previously, if a user attempted to delete their comment, Disqus "anonymized" their comment by changing the author to a Guest user, without removing the content of the body itself.[41] The only recourse at that time was to flag the comment, contact the site moderator to delete the anonymized Guest comment, or to remember to edit out the body of the comment before deleting a comment.

In April 2015, Disqus revised their Delete button to completely delete a comment from the website.[42][43]

Disqus has been found to automatically add their affiliate referral code to links on the containing webpage, even converting plain text into links in order to add affiliate codes.[44] Disqus also injects untrusted and potentially dangerous third party advertising code into containing webpages.[45]

See also


  1. "Disqus team member tweets current headcount". Twitter. Matt Robenolt. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. "Disqus.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  3. "Disqus Network Traffic and Demographic Statistics by Quantcast" Archived June 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  4. "The Numbers of Disqus". May 4, 2011. Blog.disqus.com, Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  5. "Disqus and Zeta". Disqus Blog. Disqus. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  6. "Disqus lays off 11 as it plans a deeper focus on data". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  7. Stamatiou, Paul (2007-10-30). "Disqus Officially Launches". paulstamatiou.com. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  8. "Commenting startups Disqus celebrates its birthday with $10M more - VentureBeat". venturebeat.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  9. "Lijit Study Shows Publisher Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80%". Web.archive.org. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  10. "Zeta Global Acquires Disqus". prnewswire.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  11. Lardinois, Frederic. "Zeta Global acquires commenting service Disqus". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  12. "Disqus and Zeta". disqus.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  13. Ha, Daniel. "Our Plans for 2017". Disqus.com. Disqus. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  14. Paganini, Mario. "Advertising will remain optional for over 95% of sites on Disqus". Disqus.com. Disqus. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  15. "Pricing". Disqus. Disqus. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  16. "Pricing". Disqus. Disqus. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  17. "Powerful publisher tools, all for free". Disqus. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  18. Paganini, Mario. "Announcing Disqus Pro and Disqus Plus: New plans, more options for publishers". The Disqus Blog. Disqus. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  19. Disqus. "Disqus Pro - Audience development, supercharged". about.disqus.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  20. "What's New for the New Disqus - Disqus: The Official Blog". Blog.disqus.com. 30 June 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  21. "Translating Disqus". Help.disqus.com. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  22. "How We're Making Disqus Available in New Languages". Disqus Blog. Disqus. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  23. "Translating Disqus". Disqus Knowledge Base. Disqus. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  24. "#5667 (Is DISQUS a solution for spam-free comments?) : Support". support.mayfirst.org. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  25. "There is no such thing as anonymous online tracking", Stanford Center for Internet and Society. July 28, 2011. Retrieved Jun, 10, 2012
  26. "Disqus Spies On You!". citizensteven.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  27. "Privacy Policy" Disqus.com Retrieved June 10, 2012
  28. Thomas Baekdal, "The First Rule of Privacy", February 25, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2012
  29. "Following other users". Help.disqus.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  30. "Comments Export". DISQUS.
  31. https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/1670950 (Archive: https://archiveDOTtoday/ZosDE%5B%5D)
  32. "Statement in Response to a Report of 'Cracking Disqus'", Disqus, December 10, 2013
  33. Landes, David (12 December 2013). "Swedes uncover Disqus user security breach". The Local. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  34. "'I hope they starve' post fells Sweden Democrat". The Local. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  35. "Expressen-artiklar får Disqus att uppdatera" (in Swedish). Computer Sweden. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  36. Byttner, Karl-Johan (24 March 2014). "Expressen-grävaren om Guldspaden-vinsten" (in Swedish). Resumé. Archived from the original on 14 October 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  37. "Security Alert: User Info Breach". 6 October 2017.
  38. "Learning from the Disqus data breach". Nakedsecurity.sophos.com. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  39. "Disqus Breach: 17.5 Million Emails Exposed By Login Hack". Ibtimes.com. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  40. "Disqus reveals it suffered a security breach in 2012". Engadget.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  41. "Why when I delete a comment from sites does it then come back as a guest comment?". Disqus knowledge base. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  42. "Disqus - You can now delete your own comments". Disqus.
  43. "Remove and edit your comments". Disqus knowledge base.
  44. https://disqus.com/home/discussion/channel-discussdisqus/disqus_reveal_affiliate_links_on_by_default_bad_for_seo/
  45. https://www.troyhunt.com/disqus-mixed-content-problem-and-fixing-it-with-a-csp/
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