"As your WordPress site starts growing, you might start to see notifications called "pingbacks" showing up in your WordPress dashboard. You might not know what a pingback is, but you do know that they’re a bit annoying.
So, what is a WordPress pingback, and what should you do about them?
In this post, we'll cover everything that you need to know about WordPress pingbacks:
- What WordPress pingbacks are
- How WordPress pingbacks work
- How to disable WordPress pingbacks (fully or partially)
Let’s get started.
What is a WordPress pingback?
A WordPress pingback is a notification that WordPress sends to other WordPress blogs when linking to their content. This notification shows up in the WordPress comments section of the post that was linked to. On other words, it’s WordPress’s version of a trackback.
In a way, you can think of pingbacks like @ mentions or tags on social media — they let the other WordPress blog know that you mentioned them in your own blog post (and vice versa).
Here's an example of what a WordPress pingback looks like when it shows up in the comment moderation area of your dashboard:
And here's an example of what that same pingback might look like on the front end of your site using the popular WordPress theme Astra:
The exact design of the pingback will depend on the WordPress theme you're using. Some themes only display the URL of the post (as you see in the example above), while other themes will also show a short excerpt of the portion of the text that includes the link to your post.
Pingbacks can also happen within your own site — they aren't limited to separate WordPress blogs.
For example, if you write a blog post that links to another blog post on your site via internal linking, WordPress will send a pingback to that other post by default (though you can disable this if you find it annoying).
How do WordPress pingbacks work?
Unless you disable them (which we'll discuss next), WordPress pingbacks happen automatically.
You will experience pingbacks in two different ways, depending on if someone else linked to your WordPress site or you linked to someone else's WordPress site (or another post on your own site).
Here's how pingbacks work in both situations:
How Pingbacks Work When Someone Else Links to Your Site
When someone else links to a blog post on your site, that’s good for your SEO. But, it also creates pingbacks:
- Someone else publishes a blog post on their WordPress site that includes a link to one of your blog posts.
- Their WordPress site sends a pingback to your WordPress site.
- The pingback will show up in the comments section of the blog post that the other site linked to. If you require approval for comments, you'll need to approve the pingback via the normal WordPress comment moderation queue.
- If you approve the pingback, it will show up on the frontend of your site for that post, normally at the bottom of the comments section (below user comments).
How Pingbacks Work When You Link to Someone Else's WordPress Site
If you link to someone else's WordPress site, the process above essentially happens in reverse:
- You write a blog post that includes a link to another WordPress site.
- If that site also has pingbacks enabled, your WordPress site will automatically send a pingback to the specific blog post that you linked to.
- If the admin of the other WordPress site approves that pingback, it will show up in the comments section of the post that you linked to.
It's important to note that, by default, WordPress will also send pingbacks when you link to one of your own posts. These are called "self-pingbacks."
How to Disable WordPress Pingbacks
Because WordPress pingbacks can be a little annoying at best (and abused for spam at worst), a lot of webmasters choose to disable WordPress pingbacks.
Depending on your preferences, you can fully disable all aspects of WordPress pingbacks. Or, you can only disable certain aspects, such as turning off self-pingbacks but leaving them on for other sites.
How to Disable All WordPress Pingbacks
If you want to fully disable all pingbacks on your site, WordPress includes a built-in setting to do this:
- Open your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to Settings > Discussion.
- Uncheck the box for Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.
If you want to also stop your site from sending pingbacks to other blogs, you can also uncheck the box for Attempt to notify any blogs linked from the article.
How to Disable Pingbacks on a Specific Post
In some situations, you might want to disable pingbacks on a specific WordPress post while leaving them enabled on the rest of your site. You can do this from the post editor:
- Open the editor for the piece of content for which you want to disable pingbacks.
- Expand the Discussion settings in the Post sidebar.
- Uncheck the box for Allow pingbacks & trackbacks.
How to Disable Self-Pingbacks
By default, WordPress will send pingbacks even within your own site. For example, if you have an internal link from "Blog Post A" to "Blog Post B," WordPress will send a pingback to "Blog Post B" even though it's still on your own site. If you include a lot of internal links, this can be inconvenient, to say the least.
If you use the method above to disable WordPress pingbacks, these self-pingbacks will stop, too.
However, you might have situations where you want to leave pingbacks enabled for other sites but stop just the self-pingbacks.
To do this, you can install the free No Self Pings plugin. In addition to stopping self-pingbacks, this plugin also lets you manually block specific URLs from pingbacks.
WordPress Pingbacks: Sometimes useful, but not always.
To recap, WordPress pingbacks are automatic notifications sent between WordPress sites when one site links to another. They function in a similar way to @ mentions on social media platforms.
Pingbacks show up in the comment moderation queue and, if approved, display in the frontend comments section using special formatting.
If you don't want to use pingbacks, you can fully or partially disable WordPress pingbacks according to your preferences.