What Is a Pingback: Understanding WordPress Interactions

What Is a Pingback: Understanding WordPress Interactions

Think of a tag or mention on Instagram and Facebook. Pingback notifies you whenever your post is, well, tagged or mentioned. Pingback’s main function resembles both, but with a little twist. So, what is a pingback?

WordPress defines a pingback as a form of automated comments that are created when you link to another blog post, as long as the other blog enables the feature. I know, it’s still quite a mouthful. Take a look at how it works to better understand what a pingback is.

A pingback is a notification WordPress sends to other blog owners when linking to their content. It will appear in a comment and only bloggers who activate the pingback feature will receive the notification.

How Does a Pingback Work?

Bear in mind that a pingback is an automated link notification. This illustration about two bloggers explains the way it works for you – assuming that both WordPress sites are pingback enabled.

  1. A writes a post and links to another post on B’s website.
  2. A publishes the post.
  3. WordPress will send a pingback to B’s website.
  4. The pingback will then appear under the comment section of the linked post. This is how a pingback looks:

pingback example

It’s as if you said: “Hey, I just linked this page on my post”. That’s all!

Please be aware that a pingback is native to WordPress platform. If you want to perform such an operation with another platform like Blogger, you should use a trackback. However, unlike a pingback, trackback doesn’t work automatically when blogs link to your content. Take a look at this illustration:

  1. A (WordPress user) writes a post and wants to link to one specific post on B’s website (Blogger).
  2. A visits B’s post and look for the trackback URL around the comment section. It will generally look like this:trackback URL
  3. A copies the trackback URL and inserts that to the WordPress visual editor.
  4. A publishes the article and triggers the pingback to appear on B’s post. It will generally look like this:trackback example

Trackback’s physical appearance is slightly different, as it contains an excerpt of the content. You also need to use a specific URL for trackback, not the URL from the address bar. Other than that, pingbacks and trackbacks are practically the same.

Configure WordPress Pingbacks

You don’t need any technical skills to use pingbacks. In fact, you might have sent pingbacks to many blogs without even knowing. It could happen if both your blog and the other blogs you have linked to allow this feature. If you want to get better control over this, use the settings below:

Disable or Enable Pingbacks

Go to Setting > Discussion and check or uncheck the activation box, depending on your need to enable or disable pingbacks.

WordPress discussion settings to allow pingbacks

WordPress will send you a one-time request of approval when another blogger wants to send you a pingback. To manage this, you just need to scroll down within the Discussion Settings and find Comment Moderation > Moderation queue. You can either approve or deny any pingbacks. Once approved, the blogger no longer needs your approval if they want to send more pingbacks. Everything is automated.

Disable Self-Pingbacks

Oddly enough, you will get the request of approval every single time you are linking to your own posts – called self-ping. If you are an avid writer who refers to your previous posts a lot, this is indeed bothersome. No need to get worked up though, this is very easy to solve by disabling self-pingbacks.

You just need to replace the full URL with your post’s slug. Let’s say that we want to link to our own article titled What Is WordPress.

Instead of using the full URL:


Please use only the slug:


This stops the need of sending the request all over again. Sometimes your visual editor will automatically re-write the full URL for you. However, switching to HTML editor will simply solve the problem.

You can also use certain plugins like No Self Pings and Disabler to prevent this. Or, if you are familiar with PHP, copy this code to your functions.php file.

{code type=php}//remove pings to self
function no_self_ping( &$links ) {
$home = get_option( ‘home’ );
foreach ( $links as $l => $link )
if ( 0 === strpos( $link, $home ) )
add_action( ‘pre_ping’, ‘no_self_ping’ );{/code}

Do You Need the Pingback Feature?

Pingbacks could be a powerful tool for growing your website. It may lead readers of the blogs linked to clicking on your pingback – bringing in a lot of new traffic. The automated comment can also enhance your engagement within the blogger community.

However, the downside is your site could be a target of malicious attacks and spam. Deactivate the pingback feature to avoid such attacks, or provide extra protections by installing related plugins like Cloudflare and Disable XML-RPC.

Whether you use pingback or not, please play it safe!

The author

Domantas G.

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.