Using WordPress Gravatars

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

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Using WordPress Gravatars

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)

Using profile images has now become the standard across the web on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums and loads of web properties …

Avatars are commonly used all over the web

(Avatars are now 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 avatar images (e.g. when users post comments or engage in online discussions) …

Using WordPress Gravatars

You may be wondering why many blog posts and discussions show avatars in some entries while some don’t, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your pic didn’t show up …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Gravatar – What Is It?

WordPress uses a specific type of avatar called a Gravatar

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

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

Gravatar is short for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow you 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. 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 by many technology platforms.

How Do Gravatars Work?

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Default icon set by WP site administrator

(Default icon set by WP site admin)

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

Mystery Man Avatar

(Default Avatar)

If you don’t want your entries to be associated with a default icon, then the easiest thing to do is set up your own 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 create 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

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

Benefits For WordPress Users

  • You don’t have to create a new avatar on every site you join or service you register for.
  • Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites from their account.

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

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

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



Sign in with your account details …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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.

Upload your Gravatar image …

Gravatar offers you a number of image uploading options

(Gravatar offers various image uploading options)

After uploading your image, crop and save it …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Select one of the available ratings for your Gravatar …

Rate your Gravatar image

(Rate your Gravatar picture)

You can access and change your own account anytime …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Once you are done setting up your account, your Gravatar will follow you around the web.

It will be displayed in blog comments, forums, etc …

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

And every time you login …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

Managing Gravatar Settings in WordPress

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

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed 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 area …

WordPress Discussion Settings Menu

(Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down to the Avatars section …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

You will be presented 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 choose 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. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar. Generated icons link the email of the user 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 – Tips

By default, WordPress displays Gravatar images at a fixed size. To customize the default image size, you would need to edit code in your template files.

Also, many additional 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 site using a WordPress 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.

Gravatar Hovercards are a feature of (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add Gravatar Hovercards to a self-hosted WordPress site if you install the powerful Jetpack plugin …

Jetpack WordPress Plugin - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After Jetpack is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a new entry will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars section. This allows you to enable the display of people’s profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar …

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

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

Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display a Gravatar Hovercard

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

Your Gravatar Hovercard will display, allowing people to click through to your profile and learn a little more about you …

Gravatar Hovercards

(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 tutorial has helped you learn what Gravatars are and how to get your picture to display next to your posts, comments, blog discussions, forums and more.

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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


"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

For a white label version of this tutorial visit
Originally published as Using WordPress Gravatars.