The “Comments are closed” message tends to appear on WordPress websites occasionally. Though we frequently suggest you turn off comments in WordPress, we have no complaints with owners that don’t. Turning comments on will become a far more frequent activity among webmasters in the future. It’s predicted that filtering and spam prevention tools that employ AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be a game-changer. Until then, you must rely on available means and moderate yourself if you enable comments. But what if your visitors are unable to leave a message? Don’t fret. Here’s how to fix “Comments are closed” in WordPress.
Before you start, know this
Though our instructions will help you re-enable commenting, do not go into it unprepared. You will experience an overwhelming wave of spam and witness the power of bots in today’s online world. An incredibly high number of low-quality links, unless you disabled URL auto-linking, will flood your comments and will tear down your reputation with visitors.
Even worse, any search engine ranking you’ve attained until that point may disappear and browsers may block access to your website. You may get the warning to disappear, but your renown will inevitably take a blow, perhaps irreparably. Thus, proceed cautiously. We propose you either:
- Allow comments, but ensure they must be approved manually (Inferior and laborious, but safer)
- Permit all comments to be posted immediately, but employ anti-spamming plugins, a proprietary solution, or third-party tools (Low-effort, but dangerous comments may slip through)
1. Resolve conflicts with installed themes or plugins
Before you make any changes to the functionality of your WordPress website, ensure you cannot fix the “Comments are closed” message in other ways. In other words, the message could be a fluke or caused by an incompatibility with the WordPress plugin or theme you might have installed recently or had for a long time. Ergo, go through this checklist:
- Check the list of installed plugins, and see if there are any errors or if they are enabled when they should be disabled and vice versa.
- Ensure your active WordPress theme supports comments. Depending on the template, comments may not have been intended or require an add-on.
- Double-check your theme and/or plugins are compatible with your version of WordPress. If necessary, update WordPress or the other way around.
- Disable all plugins that affect comments in any way. If you don’t find the culprit, disable plugins one by one until you, hopefully, identify which one is to blame.
- If you identify the culprit, contact its developers or reach out to the WordPress community on forums. You may also seek an alternative.
2. Fix “Comments are closed” for all new posts in WordPress
Now that you presumably concluded the comments are truly turned off, it’s much easier to determine what to do. You will essentially perform the technique for disabling comments in reverse. Here’s how enabling new comments within the WordPress Admin’s Discussion section works:
- Log in to your WordPress Admin section.
- In the sidebar on the left-hand side, click on Settings.
- When it expands, select Discussion.
- Under “Discussion Settings” → “Default article settings”, tick the box in front of Allow people to post comments on new articles.
- Recommended. Put a checkmark in front of, Automatically close comments on articles older than _ days. Enter a number such as 14 (2 weeks).
- Click the Save Changes button.
3. Permit comments on an existing post in WordPress
You allowed people to post new comments, which is great. Unfortunately, you still didn’t manage to fix the “Comments are closed” error message on an existing WordPress post that brought you here. Therefore, follow these steps to turn on comments on an already published post in WordPress:
- Expand the sidebar from step 2 above.
- Go to Posts → All Posts.
- Find the problematic post on the list, and click on Edit below its name.
Here’s how to proceed, depending on the editor you’re using:
Though we suggest slowly phasing away from Classic Editor, at least to Classic Block if not Gutenberg Editor, that’s a story for another day. This is the procedure for allowing comments on a WordPress post in Classic Editor:
- Look in the upper right corner for an option titled Screen Options and select it.
- When the list of “Screen elements” appears, put a checkmark in front of Discussion.
- Look at the sides or the bottom of the editor page for a new meta box titled Discussion.
- Tick the box in front of Allow comments.
- Click the Update button in the “Publish” meta box.
If you are using WordPress Block Editor, the process of enabling comments on a single post looks like this:
- Expand the list of Settings on the right-hand side (cogwheel icon).
- Scroll down until you find the section titled Discussion and click on it.
- When it expands, place a checkmark into the empty box in front of Allow comments.
Note. Just like with Screen Options, you may have to force the “Discussion” option to appear. You can do so by clicking the three-dot menu next to Settings. Go to Preferences → Panels tab → Toggle the switch in front of Discussion. Repeat the 3 steps above.
4. Fix “Comments are closed” for existing WordPress posts en masse
Did you check the post in question? Does the usual “Leave a reply” section exists at the bottom when you’re signed out of the administrator account? If so, congratulations! However, if you discovered the “Comments are closed” message on other posts, it would be time-consuming to fix the problem one post at a time. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Follow these instructions to enable comments on WordPress posts in bulk:
For one page
Go back to the Posts → All Posts section of the WordPress Admin dashboard. Now:
- Click the checkbox in front of posts you want to turn on comments for.
- Click on Bulk Actions in the upper left corner.
- Select Edit from the drop-down list.
- Once the mass editing section opens above, find the Comments entry below “Author”. Select Allow from the drop-down list.
- Click Update.
- Repeat this for all pages in the “All Posts” section.
On all posts at once
If you have a few pages with 20 posts visible on each (by default), the method above makes sense. However, websites with hundreds of posts will find this inadequate. Those website owners can do this:
- Click on Screen Options in the top right corner of the “All Pages” window.
- Once it expands, enter a number under Pagination → Number of items per page _. We suggest a number of around 50 to prevent memory-related hang-ups.