Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

You are probably already 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 accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums and other web properties …

Avatars are commonly used all over the web

(Avatars are commonly used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

You may be wondering why many blog posts and discussions show profile photos in some blog entries and some don’t, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your pic appeared all greyed out …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

In this tutorial you will learn what Gravatars are, how they work and how to add 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 with WordPress

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

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars make it possible for a person 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.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 many WordPress users supported by many web platforms.

How Do Gravatars Work?

Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your profile information to the email associated with your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to your post 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 avatar set by the WP site admin will be associated with their entries (this is explained further below).

Default avatar set by site admin

(Default avatar set by WP site admin)

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 default icon, then set up your own gravatar.

Benefits Of Using A Gravatar

A Gravatar is basically 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 having one avatar display on a forum that you frequently visit 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:

Site Administrator Benefits

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

Benefits For WordPress Users

  • Users don’t need to register on every site they visit just to use a Gravatar.
  • Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites from a central location.

Complete the step-by-step tutorial below to learn more about setting up and using a WordPress Gravatar.

How To Add Gravatars To Your Site – Tutorial

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

Gravatar.com

(Gravatar)

Log in with your WordPress.com account details …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

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 …

Upload your Gravatar image

(Gravatar offers several image uploading options)

Add your image, then crop and save it …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

Select a rating for your Gravatar (G, PG, R, or X) …

Rate your Gravatar image

(Gravatar image ratings)

You can access and update your own account anytime …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

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

Using 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 …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

And every time you login …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

Managing Gravatars On Your WordPress Site

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

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

To control how your Gravatar is used, log in as an administrator and go to the Settings > Discussion area …

WordPress Discussion Settings Menu

(Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the screen to the Avatars section …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

The Avatars section presents you with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: Select 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 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 post commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that user 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 – Useful Info

By default, WordPress displays Gravatars 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. you can see which plugins are available inside your dashboard by typing in ”gravatar” inside the plugin search field …

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 WordPress plugin called Jetpack.

Gravatar Hovercards

Gravatar Hovercards allow 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.

A Gravatar Hovercard is normally a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add Gravatar Hovercards to your self-hosted website or blog if you install a versatile WordPress plugin called Jetpack

Jetpack by WordPress.com - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack WordPress Plugin – Gravatar Hovercards)

After Jetpack is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a Gravatar Hovercards entry will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars management panel. This lets you display visitor 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 a visitor hovers over your Gravatar …

Hover the mouse over a Gravatar to display a Gravatar Hovercard

(Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays Gravatar Hovercards)

Your Gravatar Hovercard will appear, allowing people to learn more about you …

Gravatar Hovercard

(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 showing up all across the web.

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 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.