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)
The use of profile images has now become mainstream on social web sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, online forums and loads of web properties …
(Avatars are used all over the web)
Using WordPress Gravatars
If you visit other WordPress sites, you will see that WordPress sometimes also displays avatars (e.g. when users post comments or engage in online discussions) …
You may have wondered why some users get to display their photos or images with their blog posts and comments and some don’t, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your image displayed as a grey blob …
This tutorial explains what Gravatars are, how they work and how to set them up in WordPress.
What’s A Gravatar?
WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar …
(A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar used in WordPress)
Gravatar is short for Globally Recognized Avatar.
Gravatars make it possible for a person to have one avatar used 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.
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 used by many WordPress users supported by many technologies.
How Does A Gravatar Work?
Once your Gravatar account has been configured, the service matches your profile information to the email address in your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to your comments, articles and (optionally) elsewhere across the WordPress universe …
If a site is not registered with Gravatar, the default avatar set by the site administrator will be associated with their comments (we explain this further below).
(Default avatar set by site administrator)
Typically, the default image most commonly used is called the “Mystery Man” …
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.
Benefits Of Using Gravatars
A Gravatar is basically 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, gravatars allow you to 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
- Gravatars require very little effort to manage.
- 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 blog commenters to use Gravatars on your site.
Benefits For WordPress Users
- Having a Gravatar account saves you having to upload a new avatar on every site you join or service you register for.
- Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites from their account.
Complete the tutorial below to learn how to set up and use Gravatars.
How To Add A Gravatar To WordPress – Tutorial
To use Gravatars, you will first need to create an account here: http://www.gravatar.com
Log in with your WordPress.com account details …
If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can create one on the site …
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 you several image uploading options)
After uploading your image, crop and save it …
Select one of the available ratings for your Gravatar (G, PG, R, or X) …
(Rate your Gravatar image)
You can access and manage your own account settings …
You can edit your profile further by associating your Gravatar with an email, website, location and a brief description about yourself …
Once you have finished setting up your account, your Gravatar will begin following you around the web.
It will be displayed in your post comments, forums, etc …
Your Gravatar will also display inside your own WordPress dashboard, in your user account …
And whenever you login …
Managing Gravatar Settings
Although WordPress sites now automatically integrate with Gravatars, you can change the following settings:
- Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed on your site or not.
- Which rating of Avatars are displayed.
To manage how your Gravatar is used, log in as an administrator and go to the Settings > Discussion area …
Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …
You will be presented with a number of options:
- Avatar Display: This section lets you toggle Gravatars on and off for your site.
- 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. This section lets you select the maximum rating you will allow on your site.
- Default Avatar: WordPress lets you 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 same person 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 …
Using Gravatars – Useful Info
By default, Gravatar images display 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 the keyword gravatar inside the plugin search field …
(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.
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 typically a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted WordPress site by installing a powerful, feature-rich WordPress plugin called Jetpack …
(Jetpack Plugin – Gravatar Hovercards)
After installing the Jetpack plugin on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a new entry will appear on your Discussion Settings > Avatars screen. This lets you enable the display of people’s profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar with their mouse …
(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)
If you activate this feature, then if visitors hover over your Gravatar …
(Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards)
Your Gravatar Hovercard will pop up, giving people an opportunity to click through to your profile and learn a little more about you …
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 set them up in WordPress.
Gravatar logo source: simpleicons.org. Avatar movie references used for illustrative purposes only. All copyright belongs to their respective owners.
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)
Disclaimer: WordPress and its related trademarks are registered trademarks of Automattic, Inc. This site is not affiliated with nor sponsored by Automattic, Inc. or the WordPress Open Source project. This site and the products and services offered on this site are not affiliated, associated, sponsored, or endorsed by WordPress, nor have they been reviewed, certified, or tested by WordPress. The owner, contributors and/or advertisers may derive financial benefit from sales of items advertised, linked to, or reviewed on this site.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? If so, please consider sharing this article with others who could benefit from WordPress using the share buttons below.