WordPress, originally a blogging platform, has a comments system that is less-than-intuitive in some aspects.

For example it is easy enough to turn off commenting altogether; however, if your site has been established for some time, with the comments turned on and you then want to turn off commenting the default control will only prevent comments from being added to new posts and not previous, historic posts.

So can we turn off comments for all posts, past and future?

Well, it’s not impossible, just a little tedious depending on the numbers of posts your site has. In order to switch off commenting for previous posts we need to turn off comments for each and every post.

To do this we can use WordPress’ batch editing feature in the admin dashboard:

  1. Click on the ‘Posts’ menu item to bring up the list of posts
  2. Click on the ‘Screen Options’ toggle in the top right to expand the options
  3. Increase the value for ‘Number of items per page’ e.g to 100
  4. Now on the list of posts, click on the topmost checkbox above the first row to select all the posts on the page
  5. In the ‘Bulk Actions’ drop-down select ‘Edit’ and then click the ‘Apply’ button
  6. From the options displayed select ‘Do not allow’ in the ‘Comments’ drop-down list
  7. Click on the ‘Update’ button

This will disable comments for all posts listed on the page. Do the same for all the pages in the list of posts.