Often representing the social life of a blog or website, the built-in commenting system in WordPress allows your visitors to interact with you and others based on the content that you publish. This comment form has gradually evolved with WordPress and, as of WordPress 3.0, it is pre-formatted and called by a simple tag within your code, making the act of customizing it a little less intuitive than it used to be.

Never fear, another WordPress tutorial is here!

Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, you should never hack the WordPress core itself. Editing WordPress core files such as comment-template.php means that they will simply be overwritten during a WordPress update, causing endless headaches down the road.
Focusing your attention instead on your WordPress theme's comment template allows you to make alterations without fear of trouble within WordPress itself, making it much easier to revert and lowering the chance of any critical problems with your WordPress installation.

Backup!

Always your first step when editing code, be sure to back up any files that you'll be editing just in case reverting proves necessary at a later time.
Now, we'll cover two examples of commonly customized aspects of a WordPress comments form: the HTML elements text and the comments header text. First, you'll need to locate the theme file that contains the call to the comments form; this is usually called comments.php.

How to Customize the HTML Elements Text

By default, WordPress makes a point of giving your visitors an overview of the HTML elements that can be used when commenting. While sometimes helpful, the prevalance of WordPress around the web means that most potential commenters are always well-aware of the elements that they can use, making this helpful hint more of a waste of space. Use this code to remove that text altogether.

How to Customize the Comments Header Text

WordPress' default comment title gets right to the point, prompting your readers to "Leave a Reply." While that title is as functional as possible, sometimes it's fun to spice things up a little. Using the code below in your theme's comments.php file, we'll change that text to "Express Yourself".