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)

Avatars have now become mainstream on social web sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online forums and many other web properties …

Avatars are now used across all user sites on the web

(Avatars are commonly used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

If you read other people’s WordPress blogs, you will see that WordPress sometimes also displays avatars (e.g. when users post comments or engage in online discussions) …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

You may be wondering why a number of users display their photos next to their blog posts and discussions, while with others, all you see is a nondescript image or some weird icon with weird icon, or perhaps you’ve posted something online and wondered why your picture didn’t show up …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

In this tutorial you will learn what Gravatars are, how they work and how to set up avatars in WordPress.

Gravatar – What Is It?

WordPress uses a specific 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 for use with WordPress)

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

How Gravatars Work

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

If a site chooses not to sign up with Gravatar, the default avatar set by the WP site admin will be associated with their comments (see further below).

Default icon set by site admin

(Default icon set by site administrator)

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

Default 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.

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 creating different avatars for every new site you create 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:

Site Administrator Benefits

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

WordPress User Benefits

  • 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 a central location.

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

How To Add A Gravatar To Your Blog – Tutorial

To use Gravatars, first create an account here (it’s FREE): http://www.gravatar.com

Gravatar

(Gravatar.com)

Log in with your WordPress.com account details …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can easily 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 complete your profile, and choose the email address and image you want to associate with your Gravatar.

You will need to upload an image …

Gravatar offers you various image uploading options

(Upload your Gravatar image)

After uploading your photo, crop and save it …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Rate your Gravatar image

(Rate your Gravatar image)

You can access and update your own account anytime …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

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

It will be displayed in your post comments, forums, etc …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

And whenever you login …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

How To Manage Gravatar Settings

Although WordPress sites now automatically integrate using Gravatars, you can change the following settings:

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) show 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 screen …

WordPress Discussion Settings

(WordPress Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the screen to the Avatars section …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

The Avatars section presents you with a number of options:

  1. Avatar Display: Select whether to display Gravatars 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 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 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 user to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that commenter posts a comment 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 – Tips

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

Also, several WordPress plugins have been developed to enhance the use 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-enhancing 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 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 add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted WordPress site, however, if you install a versatile (and free) WordPress plugin called Jetpack

Jetpack WordPress Plugin - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

Once Jetpack is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a Gravatar Hovercards entry will be added to your Discussion Settings > Avatars admin area. This lets you enable the display of people’s 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 if visitors hover over your Gravatar …

Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard

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

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

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 about Gravatars and how to get your picture 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 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.