Using WordPress Gravatars

Learn about WordPress Gravatars … what they are, how they work, and how to set up Gravatars in WordPress.

Using Gravatars In WordPress

No doubt, you’re 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)

Avatars have now become mainstream on social web sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online directories and loads of web properties …

Avatars are commonly used all over the web

(Avatars are commonly used across all user sites on the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

If you read other blogs, you will see that WordPress sometimes also displays user profile pictures (e.g. when visitors post comments or engage in online discussions) …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

You may have wondered why a number of users display their profile photos with their blog posts and discussions, while with others, all you see is a generic image or some weird icon with weird icon, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your pic appeared greyed out …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

This tutorial explains what Gravatars are, how they work and how to use them in WordPress.

What’s A Gravatar?

WordPress uses a specific kind of avatar called a Gravatar

A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar for use in WordPress

(A Gravatar is a special type of avatar used with WordPress)

Gravatar is short for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow web users to have one avatar used across the 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. was acquired in 2007 by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. As a result, Gravatars are now integrated into every WordPress site and millions of avatar images are served billions of times per day across the web. Gravatars are also supported on many technology platforms.

How Do Gravatars Work?

Once your Gravatar account has been configured, the service matches your WordPress profile information to the email registered in your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to comments, articles and (optionally) elsewhere across the WordPress universe …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

If a site has not set up their Gravatar account, the default avatar set by the site admin will be associated with their comments (we explain this further below).

Default avatar set by WP site admin

(Default icon set by site admin)

Typically, most images use a default avatar (called the “Mystery Man”) …

Mystery Man Avatar

(Default Avatar)

If you don’t want your WordPress entries to display with a generated icon, then the easiest thing to do is set up a gravatar.

Benefits Of Using A Gravatar

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 register an account with, you could have the same avatar display on all of the web properties that you visit.

Enabling gravatars on your WordPress site also simplifies the process for everyone involved:

Benefits for Site Administrators

  • Adding user Gravatars requires very little effort.
  • There is no need to maintain additional plugins.
  • Gravatars are carried across the web. You don’t have to manage user accounts or their images, to allow blog commenters 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 a central location.

Complete the tutorial below to learn more about setting up and using Gravatars.

How To Add Gravatars To Your WordPress Site – A Step-By-Step Tutorial

To start using Gravatars, you will first need to create an account here:


Log in with your account details …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

If you don’t have a account, you can easily sign up for one on the Gravatar site …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Once you have verified and set up your account, follow the instructions to complete your profile, and select the email address and image you want to associate with your Gravatar.

You will need to upload an image …

Gravatar offers you several image uploading options

(Upload your Gravatar image)

After uploading your image, crop and save it …

Using WordPress Gravatars

Choose one of the available ratings for your Gravatar …

Rate your Gravatar picture

(Gravatar ratings)

You can access and change your own account settings …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

You can further edit your profile by associating your Gravatar with an email, website, location and a brief bio …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

Once you have finished editing your details and setting up your account, your Gravatar will be integrated with your WordPress account and follow you around the web.

It will be displayed in your post comments, web forums, etc …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Your Gravatar will also appear inside your own dashboard, in your user profile …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

And every time you log back into your site …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

How To Manage Gravatar Settings in WordPress

Although WordPress sites now automatically integrate with Gravatars, you can manage some of the settings:

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) show on your site or not.
  • Which rating of Avatars are displayed.

To manage how your Gravatar is used, log into your dashboard and go to the Settings > Discussion screen …

Discussion Settings

(Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …

Using WordPress Gravatars

You will be presented with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: Here you can toggle Gravatars on and off for your site.
  2. Maximum Rating: When users create a profile on Gravatar, they are given the opportunity to rate their image (i.e. G, PG, R, X) based on its appropriateness. Here you can select the maximum rating you will allow on your site.
  3. Default Avatar: WordPress lets you select what type of image you would like to display when users do not have a Gravatar. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar. Generated icons link the email of the commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that same person posts on your site, they will have the same image next to their name.

Remember to click the Save Changes button when finished to save your new settings …

Save WordPress Changes

WordPress Gravatars – Useful Info

By default, WordPress displays Gravatar images at a fixed size. To change the default WordPress Gravatar size, code editing would be required.

Also, many additional WordPress plugins have been developed to extend the use of Gravatars. These are available inside your dashboard by searching for the keyword “gravatar” …

Search for gravatar-related plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard

(Search for gravatar-enhancing plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard)

For example, you can a feature called a Gravatar Hovercard to your WordPress blog using a plugin called Jetpack.

Gravatar Hovercards

A Gravatar Hovercard allows 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 Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

A Gravatar Hovercard is a feature of (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add Gravatar Hovercards to your self-hosted website by installing the powerful Jetpack plugin …

Jetpack WordPress Plugin - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After installing Jetpack on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a new entry will appear on your Discussion Settings > Avatars screen. This allows you to display people’s profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar with their mouse …

WordPress Discussion Settings Screen - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings – Gravatar Hovercards)

If this feature has been activated, then if someone hovers over your Gravatar …

Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display a Gravatar Hovercard

(Hover the mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards)

Your Gravatar Hovercard will pop up, allowing people to click through to your profile and learn more about you …

Gravatar Hovercards

(Gravatar Hovercard)

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 article has helped you learn what a Gravatar is and how to get your WordPress avatar to appear next to your post comments, blog discussions and more.

Using Gravatars In WordPress

Gravatar logo source: Avatar movie references used for illustrative purposes only. All copyright belongs to their respective owners.

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as Using WordPress Gravatars.