FastComments is a live commenting system for WordPress which aims to address a common complaint among the platform’s dedicated user base:
The flaws and lackluster functionality of WordPress’ in-built commenting system.
Indeed, while the ability to make basic comments on posts and pages may be sufficient if you want to offer real-time interaction while running live webinars or other online events, WordPress’ basic comments just aren’t up to scratch.
That’s before we even mention the drain on your hosting server that can occur if you have countless comments across a large-scale website.
By focusing on speed, performance, and an emphasis on real-time moderation, FastComments promises to solve this problem and a whole lot more.
But how well does it actually do at keeping that promise? And is this really the best tool for the job when it comes to optimizing interaction on your WordPress site?
It’s these questions that we’ll answer in this comprehensive FastComments comments review.
FastComments is a relative newcomer to the WordPress plugins market, yet in a very short space of time, it’s already giving the likes of Thrive Comments and Discuss a serious run for their money as the best WordPress comments plugin to use in 2022.
The main reason for its success is that it combines the two things that truly separate the best from the rest in the world of plugins:
A wealth of advanced features with beginner-friendly simplicity.
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This combination, coupled with affordable pricing (more of which later) means that even small and medium website owners can enjoy the same kind of next-level commenting systems that used to be the exclusive reserve of large-scale brands.
Meanwhile, the addition of access to an API, webhooks, and extensions to bolster the plugin’s core functionality make it an attractive option for serious WordPress developers.
So far, so good then, but that leaves one big question:
The focus on instant commenting and moderation has made FastComments a popular choice for online communities and those looking to encourage live discussions around webinars, events, and live broadcasts.
If you’re launching a new product or service with a live stream, for example, FastComments makes it easy for viewers to interact with you instantly while a team of moderators ensures that everything runs smoothly.
Yet that’s not the only reason to use it.
The emphasis on lightning-fast performance also makes FastComments a solid choice for major websites who have thousands of pages with very active communities engaging in discussions around that content.
And if you’re a small-scale website owner? The improvements on WordPress’ standard commenting and comment moderating features alone make it a worthwhile investment.
Compared to other commenting tools, FastComments is incredibly feature-rich, with everything you could possibly need to build, manage, and support interactive communities around your content.
Some of these key features include:
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- Real-time live conversations
- Scalable solutions tailored to your site
- Single sign-on (SSO) integrations to make logging in easier for your users
- Web hooks
- Multiple moderators and moderator groups
- Bulk moderation actions
- Fast comment migration from other platforms, including:
- JustComments and others
- In-built spam protection
- Instant notifications when a new comment demands your attention
- Code and markdown support
- Choice of light or dark theme to better blend with your site design
- Anonymous commenting option
- Multi-language support
- In-built gif selector
- User profiles
- Direct user-to-user messaging
- Custom awards and badges for your community
- Detailed auditing.
That’s an awful lot of features that covers just about every possible aspect of community discussion on WordPress, but all of those features aren’t going to be worth much if the plugin is too complicated and cumbersome to set up.
The good news is that it’s neither. Here’s a quick, step-by-step look at just how easy it is to use.
1. Create an Account
First things first, head to the FastComments website to register an account by entering a username, email address, and your company name before adding the URL of your website.
The site will automatically detect that you’re running WordPress (FastComments is also available for other platforms) and direct you to download and install the plugin.
2. Download and Install the Plugin
With that done, click install and then activate.
Next, select “FastComments” from your dashboard menu and then click “yes” under the heading “Do you have a FastComments” account to sync the platform to your site.
Clicking this brings up a new page with a few options that are automatically pre-checked. To get the most out of FastComments, we recommend keeping these selected before picking “Start Sync.”
Once everything is synced and set up, you’ll be presented with several options for what to do next.
First, select the “Customize” button to configure the plugin so that it best suits your site.
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Here, you can create a new customization “rule” in which you can edit the look and feel of your commenting system, choose whether or not to allow avatars, and even set the maturity rating for the Gif Picker along with other options.
The thing we love the most about this is that you can tweak and fine-tune every minute detail of the way your commenting system looks and operates. While the sheer number of options may be overwhelming to some, it does mean that you can enjoy 100% control over how FastComments performs with your site.
When you’re done with that, you can check out any post on your website and find that FastComments is already up, running, and doing it’s thing.
Users can create rich comments with formatting options and the ability to include gifs and image files.
The whole layout is smooth, neat, and well-designed and enhances the overall aesthetic of your site while at the same time providing a quality commenting experience for your users.
When it comes time to moderate those comments, your first step is to return to the main FastComments page, where you’ll find an attractively-designed menu with large icons, which makes it a breeze to pick out the features you need.
In this case, you’ll need the moderate comments feature.
Select that from the menu, and once again, you’ll find a whole wealth of options that give you complete control over your comments.
Here, you can:
- Filter comments according to their status
- Review, approve, delete, or mark comments as spam
- Ban or shadow-ban problematic users
- Manage your ban list and reinstate users
- Edit comments
- Manage your moderation settings (such as profanity detection, automatic approvals, and notifications)
- Add new moderators.
Other Features and Functions
Elsewhere on the FastComments menu, you’ll be able to integrate with popular SSO services like Google, Facebook, and Discuss, manage your account, and access support.
This is all done with the same ease with which you set up your new commenting system, meaning not only is FastComments a powerful tool in its own right, it also makes managing large interactive communities much more efficient and effective than with the standard WordPress commenting system.
Another thing we really love about FastComments is the flexible pricing options.
Two standard plans are available.
The first plan costs $5.99 for a maximum of 10,00 users, 5,000 saved comments, and 500,000 page load limit a month across three sites which is ideal for small-scale site owners and newcomers.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the $399 per month Pro Plan allows for use on 15 sites with significantly increased user, comment, and page load restrictions.
If neither of those are quite suitable for you, FastComments offers a pay-as-you-go system where you pay a small nominal fee according to your needs, meaning that no matter how big or small your site may be, the plugin consistently proves to be cost-effective for you.
So, does FastComments keep its promise of improving the way you offer and manage interactive commentator communities on your website?
Not only does the flexible pricing make it a much more affordable option than other comment plugins out there, but the sheer wealth of features makes it exceptionally easy to take complete control over both the front-end comments system and the way you moderate it.
Add that to the fact that despite being quite an advanced plugin, FastComments is remarkably easy to use, and it’s hard to deny that, whether you want to improve live discussions or simply enjoy a smoother moderating experience for your large-scale site, this smart plugin will do the job perfectly.
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