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

Most internet users are 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)

The use of profile images has now become mainstream on social web channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online directories and loads of web properties …

Avatars are commonly used all over the web

(Avatars are commonly used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

You may have wondered why some people display their avatars with posts and blog comments, while other users only show a nondescript image, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your profile image didn’t show up …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

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

What Is A Gravatar?

WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar

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

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

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow WordPress users 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.com 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 used by a growing number of WordPress users supported by many technology platforms.

How Gravatars Work

Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your WordPress profile information to the email address in your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to your post discussions, articles and (optionally) elsewhere on the WordPress site …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

If a site chooses not to sign up with Gravatar, the default avatar set by the WP site admin will appear for their entries (we explain this further below).

Default icon set by site administrator

(Default avatar set by site administrator)

Typically, the default image most commonly used is 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 your own gravatar.

Benefits Of Using Gravatars

A Gravatar is essentially the same thing as an avatar, but the images are hosted on a single server and are called up by encrypting the users’ email address using a special algorithm.

Instead of having one avatar display on a forum that you often drop into and another avatar displaying on a blog that you are a registered member of, 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:

WP Admin Benefits

  • Adding user Gravatars requires very little effort.
  • There is no need to maintain additional plugins.
  • Gravatars are visually portable across the web. You don’t have to manage user accounts or their images, to allow post commenters to use Gravatars on your site.

WordPress User Benefits

  • You don’t have to set up an avatar on every site you join or service you register for.
  • Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites from a central location.

The step-by-step tutorial below shows you how to set up and use a WordPress Gravatar.

How To Add A Gravatar To WordPress – Tutorial

To use Gravatars, first go here to create an account (it’s FREE): http://www.gravatar.com

Gravatar

(Gravatar.com)

Sign in with your WordPress.com account details …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can create one on the Gravatar site …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Upload your Gravatar image …

Gravatar offers a number of image uploading options

(Upload your Gravatar image)

After uploading your image, crop and save it …

Using WordPress Gravatars

Select a rating for your Gravatar …

Rate your Gravatar picture

(Rate your Gravatar image)

You can access and manage your own account anytime …

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Your Gravatar will also show up inside your own WordPress dashboard, in your user profile …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

And every time you log back into your site …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

How To Manage Gravatar Settings

Although WordPress sites now automatically integrate using Gravatars, you can manage the following 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 WP dashboard and go to the Settings > Discussion screen …

Discussion Settings Menu

(WordPress Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …

Using WordPress Gravatars

You will be presented with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: In this section you can specify whether to display Avatars on your site or not.
  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 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 account. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar without requiring them to have a Gravatar account. Generated icons link the email of the commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that 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

Using WordPress Gravatars – Additional Tips

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

Search for gravatar-enhancing plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard

(Search for gravatar-related 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 typically a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted WordPress installation, however, if you install a versatile, feature-rich (and free) plugin called Jetpack

Jetpack WordPress Plugin - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

Once the Jetpack plugin is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a Gravatar Hovercards entry will be added to your Discussion Settings > Avatars management screen. This allows you to display user profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar with their mouse …

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings – Gravatar Hovercards)

If this feature has been activated, then whenever a visitor hovers over your Gravatar …

Hover the mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards

(Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display a Gravatar Hovercard)

Your Gravatar Hovercard will appear, allowing people to see your profile …

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 Gravatars are and how to get your WordPress avatar to show up next to your post comments, discussions and more.

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

Gravatar logo source: simpleicons.org. 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 WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org 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.