Improving performance: Removing Disqus Comments

Now that I’m writing her on a daily bais I want to make sure that I’m keeping this site as lean and fast as possible to increase the chances that people are going to be able to read the content.

One of the most important aspects being able to read content is seeing it in the first place, and a site that is fast to load is a sure fire way to make the reading part much more likely.

When I looked at the Network tab to see how the requests were being processed on this site I was horrified to see that there were 121 http requests resulting in 4MB of requests.

When I filtered the domain that was being requested, 53/121 and 2.8/4Mb were for Disqus.

Filtered view of network tab shoring 53 https requests for disqus

That’s a LOT of requests.

The site still loads within 2s and the first paint is around the 1s mark (if not faster), but still there’s a lot to work with.

Why Disqus in the first place

This is a WordPress blog and comments come bundled with WordPress, so it begs the question why is Disqus even on the site.

It goes back many years when spam commenting was a massive problem. We had tools within WordPress that would allow you to filter spam comments, but the load on the database was still there.

Also, and likely more to the point, it was a pain in the ass to deal with spammy comments so I took the Homer Simpson approach to being the Mayor of my website: Can’t somebody else do it?

Disqus itself was relatively new and created specifically for people like me. It provided a nice looking intuitive interface to take the pain away from having comments on your site, and that was good.

What happened to Disqus?

I’m sure that this was their plan all along, or it could have been a pivot, but Disqus went from being a commenting system you could drop in to a social network platform that allowed you to almost live and consume content within their eco-system.

To ensure they continued to run their own business they incorporated advertising into their embeds, which is fine by me when I’m not actually paying for their services.

I’m sure it’s the same with every codebase as well, you start of small and compact and over time you add just one more script to the frontend and before you know it you’re making 53 requests for every page load.

Removing Disqus

I’m currently going through this tutorial on how to migrate back to WordPress comments, hopefully you’ll see the difference and notice faster loading and improved performance on the site.

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