Trackbacks and pingbacks are methods for alerting blogs that you have linked to them. The difference between them is:

  • Trackbacks – must be created manually, and send an excerpt of the content.
  • Pingbacks – are automated and don’t send any content.

Check out the article on the WordPress Codex for a more detailed explanation.

Pingbacks Pingbacks

A pingback is a type of comment that’s created when you link to another blog post where pingbacks are enabled. The best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments:

  • Person A posts something on his blog.
  • Person B posts on her own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
  • Person A’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.

To create a pingback, just link to another blog post. If that post has pingbacks enabled, the blog owner will see a pingback appear in their comments section that they can approve.

Comments are styled differently for each theme. Here is an example of how a pingback appears:

pingback-example

Can I stop self-pings? Can I stop self-pings?

Yes.

Self-pings (pings within your own blog) are found useful by some, annoying by others. Those who find them useful feel that if someone finds the old post that they will see the link to the new post. But some still disagree.

Normally when you create a link, the entire URL including http:// is used. That will cause a self-ping.

To prevent self-pings, shorten the URL from this:

http://example.com/2012/03/26/twitter-widget

to this:

/2012/03/26/twitter-widget

Note: The visual editor may add the domain information back into the link. To check that, you must switch to the HTML editor and make sure the link is displayed correctly in the href attribute for the link before publishing.

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How do I send out update pings? How do I send out update pings?

Many services like Technorati, Feedster, Icerocket, Google Blog Search, and others want a “ping” from you to know you’ve updated so they can index your content. WordPress automatically notifies various update services. When you post, a ping is sent using Ping-o-Matic! which is a service that pings several different search providers all at once including Technorati, My Yahoo!, Google Blog Search.

Pings are automatically sent if you have selected to make your website visible to everyone on the Settings > Privacy page. If your website is private or if you block search engines, pings will not be sent.

To turn off update services, or to add more, adjust your settings at Settings -> Writing.

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Disabling Pingbacks Disabling Pingbacks

You can easily disable pingbacks on individual posts via the Discussion metabox on your Add New or Edit Post page:

If you don’t see the Discussion metabox, please make sure that it’s enabled in your <a href="http://en.support.wordpress.com/screen-options/“>Screen Options.

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Trackbacks Trackbacks

Trackbacks are a way to notify legacy blog systems that you’ve linked to them. If you link to a WordPress blog they’ll be notified automatically using pingbacks, no other action necessary.

Think of trackbacks as the equivalent of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper or chapter in a text book.

To send a trackback, add the trackback URI from the other blog post to the Send Trackbacks module in your blog post before you publish it. A trackback URI from a WordPress blog will end with /trackback/.

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How do I send a Trackback How do I send a Trackback

Go to the post on the other person’s blog and look for the ‘Trackback URI’ or similar.

trackbacks0

Once you have that link you need to copy the URL of the link.

In Firefox, Right-click on the link and Copy Link Location.

trackbacks1

In Internet Explorer, Right-click on the link and Copy Shortcut.

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Back on your blog, scroll down from the editor to the Trackbacks module and paste the URL into that box. If the blog where it was copied from is a WordPress blog, the URL will end with /trackback/.

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Publish your post and the trackback will be sent. Please note that your trackback might be sent but the receiving site may choose not to display it.

#comments, #trackbacks