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)

The use of profile images has now become standard across the web on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums 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 visit other WordPress sites, you will see that WordPress sometimes also displays user avatars (e.g. when visitors post comments or engage in online discussions) …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

You may have wondered why a number of users display their photos or images with their blog posts and discussions, while with others, all you see is a greyed out image or some weird icon with weird icon, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your avatar didn’t show up …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Gravatar – What Is It?

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 type of avatar for use in WordPress)

Gravatar is short for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow web users to have one avatar 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.

Gravatar.com was acquired in 2007 by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. 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 by many web technologies.

How Does A Gravatar Work?

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Default icon set by site admin

(Default icon set by WP site admin)

Typically, the default avatar most commonly used is called the “Mystery Man” …

Mystery Man Avatar

(Mystery Man 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 with your own image.

Why Use 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 display on a blog that you are a registered member of, 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:

WP Admin Benefits

  • Adding user Gravatars requires very little effort.
  • Gravatars require no additional plugins.
  • Gravatars are portable across the web. You don’t have to manage user accounts or edit user images, to allow visitors to use Gravatars on your site.

WordPress User Benefits

  • Users don’t have to set up an avatar on every site they join or service they register for.
  • Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites by uploading a single image inside a central location.

Complete the step-by-step tutorial below to learn how to set up and use a WordPress Gravatar.

How To Add A Gravatar To WordPress – A Step-By-Step Tutorial

To use Gravatars, you will first need to create an account here: http://www.gravatar.com

Gravatar

(Gravatar)

Log in with your WordPress.com account details …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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 associated with your Gravatar.

Upload your Gravatar image …

Upload your Gravatar image

(Upload your Gravatar image)

After uploading your photo, crop and save it …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

Choose one of the available ratings for your Gravatar (G, PG, R, or X) …

Gravatar ratings

(Gravatar image ratings)

You can access and update your own account settings …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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 Blog

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

And whenever you log back in …

Using WordPress Gravatars

Managing Gravatar Settings in WordPress

Although WordPress now automatically integrates with Gravatars, you can change some of the settings:

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed on your site or not.
  • Avatar ratings filter.

To control how your Gravatar is used, log into your WP dashboard and go to the Settings > Discussion area …

WordPress Discussion Settings

(Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

The Avatars section provides you with the following options:

  1. Avatar Display: This section lets you toggle Gravatars on and off.
  2. 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 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 without requiring them to have their own Gravatar account. Generated icons link the email of the post commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that user posts on your site, the same image will display next to their name.

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

Save WordPress Changes

Using WordPress Gravatars – Useful Tips

By default, Gravatars display at a fixed size. To change the default image size, you would need to edit code in your template files.

Also, several WordPress plugins have been developed to enhance the use of Gravatars. you can see which plugins are available inside your dashboard by searching for the keyword “gravatar” …

Search for gravatar-related 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 blog using a plugin called Jetpack.

Gravatar Hovercards

A Gravatar Hovercard allows your information 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.

Gravatar Hovercards are a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted site by installing the versatile, feature-rich Jetpack WordPress plugin …

Jetpack Plugin - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack Plugin – Gravatar Hovercards)

After installing Jetpack on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a Gravatar Hovercards entry will be added to your Discussion Settings > Avatars screen. This allows you to enable the display of user profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar with their mouse …

WordPress Discussion Settings Screen - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings – Gravatar Hovercards)

If you activate this feature, then whenever visitors hover their mouse over your Gravatar …

Hovering the mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard

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

Your Gravatar Hovercard will pop up, giving people an opportunity to see your profile …

Gravatar Hovercard

(Gravatar Hovercards)

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 use them in WordPress.

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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 owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.