Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

You are probably 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 the standard across the web on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums and other web properties …

Avatars are now used all over the web

(Avatars are commonly used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

You may have wondered why some people display their profile pics or images next to their blog posts and comments, while others only show a generic image, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your picture appeared all greyed out …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Gravatars – What Are They?

WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar

A Gravatar is a special type of avatar for use with WordPress

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

Gravatar stands 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.

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 web technologies.

How Gravatars Work

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Default avatar set by WP site admin

(Default avatar set by site administrator)

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

Default Avatar

(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 your own gravatar.

Why Use 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 have the same avatar display on all of the sites that you visit.

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

Benefits for Site Administrators

  • Gravatars require very little effort to administer.
  • Gravatars require no additional plugins.
  • Gravatars are carried across the web. You don’t need to manage user accounts or edit user images, to allow people to use Gravatars on your site.

WP User Benefits

  • Having a Gravatar account saves users from having to register 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 their account.

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

How To Add Gravatars To Your WordPress Blog – Step-By-Step Tutorial

To start using Gravatars, first first you will need to create an account (it’s FREE): http://www.gravatar.com

Gravatar.com

(Gravatar.com)

Log in with your WordPress.com account details …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

You will need to upload an image …

Upload your Gravatar image

(Gravatar offers you several image uploading options)

Add your photo, then crop and save it …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

Choose a rating for your Gravatar …

Gravatar ratings

(Gravatar image ratings)

You can access and edit your own account anytime …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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, forums, etc …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

And whenever you login …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

How To Manage Gravatars On Your WordPress Site

Although WordPress now automatically integrates the use of Gravatars, you can change the following settings:

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

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

WordPress Discussion Settings

(Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the screen to the Avatars section …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

You will be presented with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: Specify whether to show Avatars on your site or not.
  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 its appropriateness. Here you can select the maximum rating you will allow on your site.
  3. 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 without requiring them to have their own Gravatar account. Generated icons link the email of the commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that same person posts on your site, the same image will display next to their name.

Remember to save your changes when finished …

Save WordPress Changes

WordPress Gravatars – Tips

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

Also, several WordPress plugins have been developed to extend the functionality 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-enhancing plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard)

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

Gravatar Hovercards

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, however, add a Gravatar Hovercard to a self-hosted website or blog if you install a versatile, feature-rich (and free) WordPress plugin called Jetpack

Jetpack by WordPress.com - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Plugin: Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

Once the Jetpack plugin is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a new entry will appear on your Discussion Settings > Avatars management panel. This allows you to enable the display of visitor profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar …

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

If you activate this feature, then if someone hovers over your Gravatar …

Hover the mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards

(Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard)

Your Gravatar Hovercard will pop up, giving people an opportunity to visit 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 WordPress Gravatars

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.