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)

Avatars have now become mainstream on social web accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online directories and loads of other places …

Avatars are 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 user avatars (e.g. when visitors post comments or engage in online discussions) …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

You may have wondered why some users get to display their profile photos with their blog posts and comments and some don’t, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your picture displayed as a grey blob while others got to show their pictures …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

What’s A Gravatar?

WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar

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

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

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow WordPress users 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.

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 technology platforms.

How Does A Gravatar 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 discussions, articles and (optionally) elsewhere on the WordPress site …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

If a site chooses not to sign up with Gravatar, the default avatar set by the WP site administrator will be associated with their entries (we explain this further below).

Default icon set by WP site administrator

(Default icon set by site administrator)

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

Mystery Man Avatar

(Mystery Man 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 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

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

Benefits For WordPress Users

  • Having a Gravatar account saves you from uploading a new avatar on every site you join or service you register for.
  • Users can update their Gravatar across multiple sites by uploading a single image inside a central location.

Complete the tutorial below to learn how to set up and use Gravatars.

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

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

Gravatar

(Gravatar)

Sign in with your WordPress.com account details …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

If you don’t have a WordPress.com 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 select the email address and image you want to associate with your Gravatar.

Upload your Gravatar image …

Upload your Gravatar image

(Gravatar offers a number of image uploading options)

Add your image, then crop and save it …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Gravatar image ratings

(Gravatar ratings)

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 Blog

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

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

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

And every time you log back in …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

Managing Gravatar Settings in WordPress

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 Menu)

Scroll down to the Avatars section …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

You will be presented with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: In this section you can specify whether to display Gravatars 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 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 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 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

WordPress Gravatars – Tips

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

Also, a number of 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 blog using a WordPress 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 Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

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

Jetpack by WordPress.com - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After Jetpack is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a new item will be added to your Discussion Settings > Avatars admin area. This lets you display user profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar image with their mouse …

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

If you activate this feature, then if someone hovers their mouse over your Gravatar …

Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards

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

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

Gravatar Hovercard

(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 WordPress avatar to appear next to your posts, comments, blog discussions and more.

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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"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

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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.