You are probably already familiar with avatars.
An avatar is an icon, or representation of a user in a shared virtual reality such as a forum, chat, website, or any other form of online community where the user(s) wish to distinguish themselves from other users.
(Source: WordPress Codex)
Using profile images has now become the standard across the web on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online forums and other web properties …
(Avatars are commonly used all over the web)
Using WordPress Gravatars
If you read other people’s WordPress blogs, you will see that WordPress also displays user profile photos (e.g. when visitors post comments or engage in online discussions) …
You may be wondering why some blog posts and comments show photos in some blog entries while some don’t, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your image didn’t show up …
This tutorial explains what Gravatars are, how they work and how to add avatars in WordPress.
What Is A Gravatar?
WordPress uses a special type of avatar called a Gravatar …
(A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar used in WordPress)
Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.
Gravatars make it possible for a person to have one avatar across the entire web. Avatars are usually an image that the user will create themselves. Unlike standard avatars, Gravatars follow you around the web and automatically appear whenever you post a comment on a WordPress site.
Gravatar was acquired in 2007 by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. As a result, Gravatars are now integrated into WordPress and millions of avatar images are served billions of times per day across the web. Gravatars are also supported on many technologies.
How Gravatars Work
Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your WordPress profile information to the email associated with your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to your entries, articles and (optionally) elsewhere on the WordPress site …
If a site does not have a Gravatar account set up, the default icon set by the site admin will appear next to their name (this is explained further below).
(Default avatar set by WP site administrator)
Typically, the default avatar most commonly used is called the “Mystery Man” …
(Mystery Man Avatar)
If you don’t want your entries to be associated with a generated icon, then the easiest thing to do is set up a gravatar with your own image.
Benefits Of Using Gravatars
A Gravatar is essentially the same thing as an avatar, but gravatars are hosted on a single server and are called up by encrypting the users’ email address using a special algorithm.
Instead of creating different avatars for every new site you belong to, you could display the same avatar on all of the sites that you visit.
Enabling gravatars on your WordPress site also simplifies the process for everyone involved:
Site Administrator Benefits
- Gravatars require very little effort to administer.
- Gravatars require no additional plugins.
- Gravatars are visually portable across the web. You don’t need to manage user accounts or their images, to allow visitors to use Gravatars on your site.
WordPress User Benefits
- Users don’t need to register on every site they visit just to use a Gravatar.
- Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites by uploading a single image inside their account.
The tutorial below shows you how to set up and use a WordPress Gravatar.
How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog – Tutorial
To start using Gravatars, first first you will need to create an account (it’s FREE): http://www.gravatar.com
Log in with your WordPress.com account details …
If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can easily register for one on the site …
Once you have verified and set up your account, follow the instructions to set up your profile, and select the email address and image you want associated with your Gravatar.
Upload your Gravatar image …
(Upload your Gravatar image)
After uploading your photo, crop and save it …
Select a rating for your Gravatar (G, PG, R, or X) …
(Rate your Gravatar picture)
You can access and edit your own account anytime …
You can edit your profile further by associating your Gravatar with an email, website, location and a brief description about yourself …
Once you are done editing your details and setting up your account, your Gravatar will begin following you around the web.
It will be displayed in blog comments, forums, etc …
Your Gravatar will also display inside your own WordPress dashboard, in your user profile …
And whenever you log back in …
How To Manage Gravatar Settings in WordPress
Although WordPress now automatically integrates with Gravatars, you can manage some of the settings:
- Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) show on your site or not.
- Avatar ratings filter.
To manage how your Gravatar is used, log in as an administrator and go to the Settings > Discussion administration panel …
(WordPress Discussion Settings)
Scroll down to the Avatars section …
The Avatars section presents you with a number of options:
- Avatar Display: Specify whether to display Gravatars on your site or not.
- Maximum Rating: When users create a profile on Gravatar, they are given the opportunity to give their Gravatar a rating (i.e. G, PG, R, X) based on its appropriateness. Here you can choose the maximum rating you will allow on your site.
- Default Avatar: WordPress allows you to select what type of image you would like to display when users do not have a Gravatar account. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar. Generated icons link the email of the post commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that same person posts a comment on your site, they will have the same image next to their name.
Remember to save your changes when done …
Using WordPress Gravatars – Useful Info
By default, Gravatars display at a fixed size. To change the default WordPress Gravatar size, you would need to edit code in your template files.
Also, a number of WordPress plugins have been developed to enhance the use of Gravatars. you can see which plugins are available inside your dashboard by typing in ”gravatar” inside the plugin search field …
(Search for gravatar-enhancing plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard)
For example, you can a feature called a Gravatar Hovercard to your blog using a WordPress plugin called Jetpack.
Gravatar Hovercards allow your profile to be made visible to others and makes it easier for people to find your blog or access your identity on services like Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin.
A Gravatar Hovercard is typically a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted website, however, if you install the versatile Jetpack WordPress plugin …
(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)
After installing the Jetpack plugin on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a Gravatar Hovercards item will appear on your Discussion Settings > Avatars section. This lets you display visitor profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar image …
(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)
If you activate this feature, then whenever someone hovers their mouse over your Gravatar …
(Hovering the mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard)
Your Gravatar Hovercard will display, allowing people to click through to your profile and learn more about you …
Add A Custom Gravatar To WordPress
You can replace the default user gravatar on your site for users that don’t have a gravatar set up. To learn how to add a custom gravatar to WordPress, see the tutorial below:
Hopefully this tutorial has helped you learn what Gravatars are and how to set them up in WordPress.
Gravatar logo source: simpleicons.org. Avatar movie references used for illustrative purposes only. All copyright belongs to their respective owners.
"I was absolutely amazed at the scope and breadth of these tutorials! The most in-depth training I have ever received on any subject!" - Myke O'Neill, DailyGreenPost.com