Using WordPress Gravatars

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

Using WordPress Gravatars

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)

Using profile images has now become the norm across the web on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums and loads of other places …

Avatars are now used across all user sites on the web

(Avatars are now used all over the web)

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

You may have wondered why many blog posts and comments show pics in some blog entries and others don’t, or perhaps you’ve posted something online and wondered why your avatar appeared all greyed out …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

In this tutorial you will learn about Gravatars, how they work and how to set them up in WordPress.

What Is A Gravatar?

WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar

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

(A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar used 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 was acquired in 2007 by Automattic, the company behind 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 used by a growing number of WordPress users supported on many technologies.

How Do 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 …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Default avatar set by WP site administrator

(Default avatar set by WP site administrator)

Typically, most images use a default avatar (often called the “Mystery Man”) …

Default Avatar

(Default Avatar)

If you don’t want your WordPress entries to display with a default icon, then 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 creating different avatars for every new site you register an account with, 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:

WP Admin 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 have to manage user accounts or their images, to allow people to use Gravatars on your site.

WordPress User Benefits

  • Having a Gravatar account saves users having to create 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.

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

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

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



Log in with your account details …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

If you don’t have a account, you can sign up for 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 associated with your Gravatar.

Upload your Gravatar image …

Gravatar offers a number of image uploading options

(Gravatar offers you various image uploading options)

Add your photo, then crop and save it …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Gravatar image ratings

(Rate your Gravatar image)

You can access and change your own account anytime …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

Once you are done 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 blog comments, web forums, etc …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

And whenever you log back in …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

Managing Gravatar Settings in WordPress

Although WordPress now automatically integrates with Gravatars, you can manage some of the 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 WP admin area and go to the Settings > Discussion area …

Discussion Settings

(WordPress Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the screen to the Avatars section …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

The Avatars section provides you with a number of options:

  1. Avatar Display: Here you can toggle Gravatars on and off for your site.
  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 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 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 save your changes when done …

Save WordPress Changes

WordPress Gravatars – Useful Tips

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

Also, a number of WordPress plugins have been developed to extend the functionality of Gravatars. These are available inside your dashboard by typing in gravatar inside the plugin search field …

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 WordPress 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.

A Gravatar Hovercard is a feature of (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add Gravatar Hovercards to a self-hosted site if you install a versatile, feature-rich (and free) plugin called Jetpack

Jetpack by - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack Plugin – Gravatar Hovercards)

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

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings – Gravatar Hovercards)

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

Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard

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

Your Gravatar Hovercard will appear, giving people an opportunity to see your profile and learn a little more about you …

Gravatar Hovercards

(Gravatar Hovercards)

Hopefully this article has helped you learn what a Gravatar is and how to use them in WordPress.

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Gravatar logo source: 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 and has authored hundreds of FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies and beginners. provides detailed step-by-step tutorials that will teach you how to use WordPress with no coding skills required and grow your business online at minimal cost!

Originally published as Using WordPress Gravatars.