What are WordPress Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Trackbacks and pingbacks are two great idea which gone wrong due to everybody internet favorite the spam.

If you use WordPress, I’m sure you run into trackback or pingback at one point, and there is a big chance this was because you got referral spam through it.

The main goal of these two technologies was to notify other sites about interesting or related content. In theory, this is a good idea, but in practice, we have to turn it off.

What are Trackbacks and Pingbacks?

The trackback is a notification which is sent by the WordPress if you link any site which is capable of receiving trackback. It is a ping which your website sends to other websites. Using it, we can automatically notify the other site’s owner, and if he/she think it is useful, he/she can accept it. An accepted trackback will be displayed in the site comment section with a backlink of course.

If I publish a link collection about Vue.js tutorials and add links to it our site is capable of sending a trackback to the other sites messages about so they will know about our content.

Pickback is an improved trackback. The goal was to automate more and to avoid the spam. From the previous example, our site also will send a message, but the other site will automatically approve it. Unfortunately, the spammers can trick it.

For more information, please visit the documentation!

Use Them or Not?

The main benefit of using them is our site SEO. We can get a lot of relevant backlinks and share content, which is useful to our readers. As a site owner, it is always helpful if you know who is referencing your site.

The most significant disadvantage is a lot of spam. Spam moderation is not worth your time. We can get traffic in a lot of ways; focus on that. Here we have to note that in WordPress there is a lot of 3rd party comment system which doesn’t display these links but protects us from spams (like Disqus). You never want to risk that you give a link to a spammer site.

How to Disable Them

If you want to disable them – and you want – navigate to Settings -> Discussion and turn of the first two option named:

  • Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article,
  • Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.

From now your site doesn’t notify other websites and can’t receive any trackbacks or pingbacks.

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