I am looking for a free as in freedom alternative to Disqus. Disqus is a third-party comment system for any website.

Feature requested:

  • Shouldn't require me to host it
  • Integrate on any page in my website
  • Be free as in freedom

It would be preferable that:

  • It would be easy to use
  • It be coded in an exotic language (i.e. no Python, no PHP, no Node.js)
  • I could choose where to store comments
  • It includes a sophisticated up/downvote system
  • 1
    What specifically do you mean by "exotic?" Are you referring to a Domain-Specific Language? Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:35
  • This kind of thing. I agree it might be a bit subjective, but as it is only some side-requirement, I decided to keep it.
    – VicAche
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:44
  • That seems like kind of a specious software requirement. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:45
  • TSC is way worse.
    – VicAche
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


How about Discourse? enter image description here

I'm a touch biased, as it was created by our co-founder Coding Horror, (without whom I'd probably still be working as a finance exec, grinding orphans into money burgers for the rich to feed their pets,) but it seems to nail most of your criteria:

  • It's open-source
  • They offer (paid) hosting if you don't want to do it yourself
  • It's a JavaScript application that runs in your web browser, using the Ember.js JavaScript framework. The server side of Discourse is written in Ruby on Rails with a Postgres database, and Redis server cache.

At a glance, it looks more like a tool for stand-alone discussion forums, but seems to also be a much improved way to discuss "parent" pieces of content, instead of other commenting systems - that's just what boingboing did.

  • Ruby on rails - that's a fun language :). I'll give it a try.
    – VicAche
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 16:39
  • What about a voting system tho? And I get a "kindle" icon following me on every page on boingboing, is it linked to discourse? I would hate this.
    – VicAche
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:22
  • @VicAche, I think discourse has a "top posts" feature where the most "starred" posts in a dialogue are displayed at the top, but it's not a pure, fully-integrated vote-ranking. I'm not sure about that kindle thing, but I'd be very surprised if it were a mandatory component of Discourses; I suspect it's a boingboing choice.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:26
  • OK. My main concern with isso is the poor voting system, it's easier to delete/edit a post than to come back on a cast vote, and it seems that Discourse isn't really doing better.
    – VicAche
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 17:28
  • This feels like more of a reframing of the question, than an answer for it. I get that BoingBoing talked up their then-recent switch from Disqus to Discourse forums as if that was somehow a new idea. Even though Ars Technica, for one, have operated their article comments like that since time immemorial — except at Ars, the comment posts hosted in each article's discussion forum are also integrated directly into the article page as on-site comments. BoingBoing claimed that "At Boing Boing itself, the best comments will often appear under the posts" which is hardly the same thing at all.
    – FeRD
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:41

An interesting alternative I found is isso.

  • It can be hosted away from my static pages
  • It integrates well
  • It is free as in freedom.

As for the other requirements:

  • It is pretty easy to use
  • It is coded in a well-known language, Python, which is a bit boring - not fine
  • It stores comments in a sqlite database by default - not fine
  • It does include a voting system, but votes cannot be updated even after comments are edited.

Talkyard is a new alternative this year 2018. It's similar to Disqus: threaded, and best comments shown first.

Your requested features:

  • Shouldn't require me to host it: Yes, fine. There's serverless hosting, see the link above. (It costs money.)

  • Free as in freedom: Yes, Talkyard is free and open source under the AGPL licence; you can install on your own server.

  • Integrate on any page in my website: Yes. Copy-paste a bit <html> into your page (or page templates). Or follow the instructions for Jekyll, Hugo or Gatsby.

Other features:

  • Easy to use: I think the hosted serverless version is easy to use. If, though, you want to install yourself, then you need to get a server, sign up for some send-email-service, configure Google and Facebook OpenAuth login apps, configure DNS settings, which takes some time. This is not specific to Talkyard though.

  • An exotic language: Why? :- ) Anyway, it's written in Scala and React.js.

  • I could choose where to store comments: The comments are stored in a PostreSQL database.

  • Up/downvote system: Yes. Best comments shown first, as with Disqus. And you can see what stuff people disagree about.

I'm developing Talkyard. Screenshot:

enter image description here

Bonus feature: Talkyard is community software too. You can create a discussion forum at forum.yourwebsite.com with StackExchange question-answers features, and Slack like chat features, that integrates with the embedded comments.

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