If you’re new to blogging, you might have heard terms such as Pingbacks, Trackbacks and Pings – without knowing what they mean, and how to tell one from the other. You are not alone. These terms can get confusing, especially since a lot of people using them are not sure of the differences themselves. Let’s figure out the basics.
First of all, all three terms – used in a blogging related environment – refer to a way for blogs to send and receive notifications. What separates them from each other is how, and why, this is being done.
Let’s say Jane reads a great post in John’s blog. Jane has so much to say about John’s post that she doesn’t feel like the comment field on John’s blog is enough. She decides to post a reply in her own blog, and then manually sends a notification to John letting him know that she has done so. This notification is called a Trackback.
In WordPress, the place to send a trackback when you’re writing a post can be found below the main text edit area. Incoming trackbacks (meaning links from other blogs) can be found in the Comments area of the Dashboard.
A Pingback is pretty much the same thing as a trackback, but with the difference that pingbacks are automatically sent as soon as one blog post links to another. So in the example above, all Jane needs to do to notify John about her reply is to simply add a link to John’s post somewhere in her own text.
Both trackbacks and pingbacks will show up as comments in the comment field of John’s post, with a link back to Jane’s reply – assuming John’s blog is set up to allow trackbacks and pingbacks. This is a great way for both John and Jane to reach new readers, since both their respective readers will have access to both posts.
A ping is the way one computer software notifies another software of some sort of update. So when Jane’s blog sends a trackback or pingback to John’s blog, this is a ping. Pinging can also be done through a service that keeps track of new blog updates, such as Ping-O-Matic, to notify different types of search engines that your blog has been updated.