What is Commento? | The Open Source Disqus Alternative
Published 7 months ago | Last update 6 months ago
It also means "comment" in Italian, but we aren't talking about that
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Commento is an open-source commenting platform developed by a programmer named Adhityaa Chandrasekar. The self-hosted version was launched in April 2017 and hosted service was released in February 2019. Commento is intended to offer a lightweight and private alternative to Disqus, Facebook Comments, and other commenting platforms.
Like most commenting platforms, Commento can be embedded into your blog or website for readers to use. It includes many standard features, such as the ability to sticky comments to the top of the thread, upvote and downvote comments, nest threads and responses, markdown support for formatting text, and spam detection and other moderation tools.
Here is a live Commento demo that allows potential new users to interact with the interface.
Now that we know what features Commento has in common with other platforms, what does it do differently?
Commento is Extremely Lightweight and Fast
Commento is lighter and faster than pretty much any comparable platform.
Adhityaa Chandrasekar, who goes by “adtac” online, said the following in a Reddit thread promoting Commento:
Every embedded Disqus frame makes about 90 network requests, injecting so many third-party tracking scripts. Facebook comments is equally worse with 1.5+ MB of data download.
Commento is pretty lightweight and fast. The total payload is ~15 kB (and I'm working on reducing that to under 7 kB). The demo server is running on 240k of RAM. Benchmarking on a server 15,000 km away (behind nginx) with wrk: it was able to handle 2k+ requests/second. It's dockerized too! :)
This thread was made on November 27, 2017. Since then, adtac has succeeded in reducing download to just 11 kB and isn’t done yet.
What About Other Open Source Options?
Even compared to other open source Disqus alternatives, such as Isso and Schnack, Commento is much faster and requires less download data and RAM.
adtac provided the following comparisons in the aforementioned Reddit thread. As Commeto has only gotten smaller since then, it’s probable that this data has changed slightly:
Commento is Privacy-Focused
The Commento website makes the following promise:
“Commento has not, does not, and will not gather your personal information to sell to advertisers, third-party trackers, or other organisations.”
Although many platforms rely on advertisements and selling personal to make revenue, Commento does not. Commento operates under the belief that once your private information is released, there is no way to undo this. Because of that, it is important to begin prioritizing privacy and safety before it becomes an issue.
Commento Can be Self-Hosted for Free
Because Commento is free and open-source, anyone can download the software from and host it on their own server. This can be a great option for people who are familiar with basic coding and server upkeep.
There is also a paid version of Commento which has very flexible payment options. People who purchase the service will have server hosting, updates, and security all taken care of for them. This is perfect for people that do not have the expertise or time to manage the server themselves. All plans (paid and self-hosted) have the same features included.
Why It’s Worth it to Pay for Commento’s Hosted Service
Larger and more corporate services like Disqus typically have basic plans which are completely free and in which they host it on their servers. Why then, does Commento charge for theirs?
adtac has explained that because servers take money to host and maintain, it is not sustainable to offer this service completely for free. Platforms like Disqus can afford to offer basic plans for free because they are making money from advertisements regardless. Again, Commento does not run ads or sell user info, so a small subscription fee is required to cover basic costs.
Depending on your personal views, paying $5 per month for the hosted service could be very worth it, considering the better speed, increased privacy, and knowledge that you are supporting open source software.
- Commento Documentation
- Commento Download via GitHub
- Adhityaa Chandrasekar’s Blog
- Reddit Thread
- Hacker News Thread (April 26, 2017)
- Hacker News Thread (February 21, 2019)
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