Can’t Like Or Comment On WordPress Sites? Try This.

For those fortunate enough not to know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. Recently, clicking ‘Like’ on a blogger’s post has often had no effect. It took some experimentation to work out why. 

Likes would work if I was signed on in The Reader, but once I’d clicked through to visit a blogger’s website, clicking the ‘Like’ button did not work. An empty white box would briefly flash up then disappear, but my like was not registered. If I tried to leave a comment instead, I’d be asked to fill in all my details, as if I wasn’t signed in.

It got worse. Sometimes I could not even like or reply to comments on my own site, which was both irritating and baffling. If I happened to be answering comments via The Reader, or was using my notifications panel, all was well, but once I’d clicked the tempting ‘View Site’ button in the control panel, and tried to answer a comment from my blog, I might as well have been a complete stranger: I seemed to have been logged out.

I discovered various work-arounds that helped, but they were awkward (if you’ve missed me interacting with you recently, now you know why). For me, reading and interacting is as much a part of blogging as writing and I found I didn’t enjoy the one without the other.

I left a request for help on WordPress.com’s forum, but the timing was bad. Everyone was away at a meeting and I didn’t get an answer. It was tempting to blame WordPress, even though I knew in my heart of hearts that this kind of bug could not be happening site-wide. Liking and commenting are such essential parts of blogging that site-wide problems were sure to be highlighted and resolved if it was under their control. Luckily, I figured it out.

Why Likes and Comments stopped working

Turns out it’s a side effect of one of Safari’s default privacy settings. An update to my MacBook’s software (I’m on MacOS Mojave) had at some stage silently altered my browser settings. For those unfamiliar with the term browser – it’s the thing you click on to access (or browse) the internet. In my case it’s Safari, but you could be using Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera, etc.

The recent (and justified) furore over Facebook privacy concerns led to Safari blocking our ability to move from a site we had logged in on to another site and remain logged in. And that’s the issue. While we might think of WordPress.com as a single site, it is a fellowship of many millions of individual sites. (That’s why instead of clicking on just one ‘Accept cookies’ banner to comply with European law, we have to click on a hundred or so).

When using the latest version of Safari on its default setting, even though we have signed in at one place (for example in The Reader or on our own site), we’ll become anonymous when we click through to visit our blogging buddies. The only way our personal picture or logo can appear when we click Like is if the system knows who it is from. By allowing Safari the power to track us across sites, it will remember who we are and the fact we are signed in on WordPress blog A when we visit blogs B,C and D.

How to re-enable likes and comments while using safari

If you’re a Safari user and have been unable to like or comment on some WordPress posts, try the following steps:

1. Click on the word ‘Safari’ at the top of your screen as shown below:

Shows the Safari menu activated on a Mac

2. Click on ‘Preferences…’. A menu pane will appear.

3. Click on Privacy, as shown below:

Shows the Privacy menu on Safari on a mac

4. If the box to the left of ‘Prevent cross-site tracking’ is ticked, untick it to allow cross-site tracking.

Note: I haven’t experimented with any of the other settings on this menu, but with all these options unticked, as they are shown above, my powers to like posts and comment on them have been restored. Yipee!

5. You should now be able to like and comment on posts across sites if you are signed in on any WordPress site.

Warning: Be aware that this setting will enable or disable ALL cross-site tracking, which might include some tracking you would prefer not to enable such as by Facebook or advertisers. At least you have the choice. If you know an easy way to allow cross-site tracking only by WordPress sites, please let me know. 

How to enable likes and comments Using other browsers

I’m not sure this will be a problem yet on other browsers unless you’ve prevented sites from setting cookies or tracking you across sites, in which case you’ll be able to reverse the setting if you choose to. If you are experiencing problems, search for ‘allow cross-site tracking on’ plus the name of the browser you are using, for example: allow cross-site tracking on Google Chrome.

The exact wording will vary depending on the browser, and unfortunately may include working your way through double negatives (e.g. disable ‘Send a Do Not Track request’). I’m not familiar with all browsers, but I hope this may be a pointer in the right direction. Good luck!

Can’t like or comment because you don’t have a WordPress.com account?

If you’d like to interact with WordPress blogs, it’s easy to register. You don’t have to blog unless you want to, and you’ll find support to help guide you through the steps. Just search for Create an account on WordPress.com and follow the instructions.

Finally…

I share what I can because I know how frustrating it is when things go wrong, but I don’t claim to be an expert. If you have corrections or can usefully add to anything I’ve written here, please let me know.

53 thoughts on “Can’t Like Or Comment On WordPress Sites? Try This.

  1. margaret21 says:

    I’m going to look at this carefully, as last week, a new post of mine refused comments from my readers. I waded through WP Help to no avail, but by the time I posted again, comments was up and running – though still not for my previous post. I use neither Safari, nor a Mac, so not sure how relevant your very thorough info. will be for me. You appear to be a lot more tech-savvy than me. I’m impressed!

  2. Heyjude says:

    I have come to the conclusion that these things happen. I use a PC and Chrome but sometimes I find that I have to log in to WP to comment even though I am already logged in and been editing my own posts. I always visit the actual blog too. One problem I do have is on my mobile phone which won’t let me comment on the Notifications. Since I hardly use the phone it’s not a big issue, only slightly annoying. Technology eh!

    • susurrus says:

      I started to understand writing this why WordPress might be dragging us away from the blogs and into The Reader, but I’m like you, visiting the blogger’s own site is the way to go if you like the post you’ve been reading and want to find out more.

      It does sound as if Chrome might be blocking cross-site tracking for you. Most of us do want to block the tracking that allows advertisers to jiggle a picture of the shoes we decided not to buy before us whenever we try to read online as if we are indecisive or weak-willed… perhaps one day they’ll give us the ability to fine tune our settings and clear instructions on how to do it!

      • Heyjude says:

        I hate all the adverts! Drives me crazy that when you look for something or buy something you are bombarded with the same! Like I want or need to buy a television when I have just bought one!

        • susurrus says:

          Exactly. If I try to read the BBC news on my iPhone when I’m overseas, it is completely obliterated by car adverts etc, but for a sliver.

          Yet when we would be very open to hear of nearby gardens at their peak of flower, or local sources of dried peaches, nobody ever advertises that!

  3. Vicki says:

    Thanks for sharing Susan. My older Mac software OS El Capitan has very slightly different wording under Safari preferences.

    I’ve noticed (only) one blog I follow has just suddenly started requesting I fill in my name and email address before allowing comments. I assumed that blogger had changed her ‘settings options’ menu?

    In general, it can be hard to work out why some WordPress templates allow some options and some don’t, but I never would have thought of looking at my Safari preferences if I’d updated to OS Mojave.

    I find to the best way to learn anything in old(er) age, now that I’m more than a little technology challenged, is to always go through every menu and sub-menu step by step for new WordPress templates, new Computer software or……acquiring a new computer itself (which I can’t afford and probably need).

    • susurrus says:

      I have a way of regularly clearing cookies which probably made me suffer more. I started off noticing just the odd blog here and there, then it steadily got worse.

      That’s good advice. The older macs can remain very serviceable. Provided they are regularly backed up and you have the patience to pause for a moment while they do whatever you’ve told them to, I can see no reason not to run them until they finally grind to a halt.

  4. surreyfarms.net says:

    Thanks for sharing, I use safari and noticed this issue when trying to like on other wordpress bloggers sites. Now I now what’s happening, I thought is was a glitch on the blog itself. Thanks again.

  5. Old Herbaceous says:

    Thanks for the info! I haven’t had this issue but I mostly use Chrome. I’ve had various weird issues on my work laptop since updating to Mojave, so I haven’t done that on my own laptop.

    • susurrus says:

      Updating always seems a slightly rash leap of faith, doesn’t it? Often the first release has a few problems they later correct, so I never aim to be an early adopter, provided things are running fine. I’ve found Mojave OK so far other than this, although Photos has always seemed a little more flaky than whatever it was we had before.

    • susurrus says:

      I suppose a Google list of Google Chrome reviews is bound to be good! Only teasing. That’s good advice and I’ll try it out if I have any more issues. I also use Firefox which is also well-reviewed.

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