Assuming you have successfully installed Isso, here’s a quickstart guide that covers the most common setup. Sections covered:


You must provide a custom configuration to set dbpath (your database location) and host (a list of websites for CORS). All other options have sane defaults.

; database location, check permissions, automatically created if it
; does not exist
dbpath = /var/lib/isso/comments.db
; for docker image: dbpath = /db/comments.db
; your website or blog (not the location of Isso!)
host = http://example.tld/
; you can add multiple hosts for local development
; or SSL connections. There is no wildcard to allow
; any domain.
host =

Note, that multiple, different websites are not supported in a single configuration. To serve comments for different websites, refer to Multiple Sites.

The moderation is done with signed URLs sent by email or logged to stdout. By default, comments are accepted and immediately shown to other users. To enable moderation queue, add:

enabled = true

To moderate comments, either use the activation or deletion URL in the logs or use SMTP to get notified of new comments, including the URLs for activation and deletion:

notify = smtp
; SMTP settings

For more options, see server and client configuration.


Isso provides a tool for importing comments from Disqus or WordPress. You can also import comments from any other comment system, but this topic is more complex and is covered in advanced migration.

To export your comments from Disqus, log into Disqus, go to your website, click on Discussions and select the Export tab. You’ll receive an email with your comments. Unfortunately, Disqus does not export up- and downvotes.

To export comments from your previous WordPress installation, go to Tools, export your data. It has been reported that WordPress may generate broken XML. Try to repair the file using xmllint before you continue with the import.

Now import the XML dump:

(.venv) $ isso -c /path/to/isso.cfg import -t [disqus|wordpress] disqus-or-wordpress.xml
[100%]  53 threads, 192 comments

Running Isso

To run Isso, simply execute:

(.venv) $ isso -c /path/to/isso.cfg run
2013-11-25 15:31:34,773 INFO: connected to HTTP server

Next, we configure Nginx to proxy Isso. Do not run Isso on a public interface! A popular but often error-prone (because of CORS) setup to host Isso uses a dedicated domain such as comments.example.tld.

Assuming both, your website and Isso are on the same server, the nginx configuration looks like this:

  server {
      listen [::]:80 default;
      server_name example.tld;
      root ...;

  server {
      listen [::]:80;
      server_name comments.example.tld;

      location / {
          proxy_pass http://localhost:8080;
          proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
          proxy_set_header Host $host;
          proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;


Now, you embed Isso to your website:

<script data-isso="//comments.example.tld/"

<section id="isso-thread">
    <noscript>Javascript needs to be activated to view comments.</noscript>

Note, that data-isso is optional, but when a website includes a script using async it is no longer possible to determine the script’s external URL.

That’s it. When you open your website, you should see a commenting form. Leave a comment to see if the setup works. If not, see Troubleshooting.

Going Further

There are several server and client configuration options not covered in this quickstart, check out Server Configuration and Client Configuration for more information. For further website integration, see Advanced integration.

To launch Isso automatically, check the Init scripts section from the installation guide. A different approach to deploy a web application is written here: Deployment of Isso.