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

You are probably 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 standard across the web on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online forums and loads of other places …

Avatars are commonly used all over the web

(Avatars are used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

You may be wondering why some users display their photos or images alongside their posts and blog comments, while other users only show a generic silhouette image, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your profile image displayed as a grey blob next to your WordPress posts, …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

What Are Gravatars?

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 for use in WordPress)

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow WordPress users 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. 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 by many web platforms.

How Gravatars Work

Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your WordPress profile information to the email registered in your account and displays your custom gravatar image next to your post comments, articles and (optionally) elsewhere across the WordPress universe …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

If a site does not have a Gravatar account set up, the default icon set by the site admin 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, the default avatar most commonly used is called the “Mystery Man” …

Mystery Man Avatar

(Default Avatar)

If you don’t want your entries to display with a generated icon, then set up a gravatar with your own image.

Why Use A Gravatar

A Gravatar is essentially 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 register an account with, 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

  • Gravatars require very little effort to manage.
  • 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 visitors to use Gravatars on your site.

Benefits For WordPress Users

  • Having a Gravatar account saves you creating an 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 their account.

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 – A Step-By-Step Tutorial

To start using 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 …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can register 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

(Upload your Gravatar image)

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) …

Rate your Gravatar image

(Gravatar ratings)

You can access and change your own account anytime …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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 are done setting up your account, your Gravatar will follow you around the web.

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

And whenever you log back in …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

Managing Gravatar Settings

Although WordPress now automatically integrates with Gravatars, you can manage the following settings:

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed 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 …

WordPress Discussion Settings Menu

(Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

The Avatars section provides you with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: Here you can toggle Gravatars on and off.
  2. Maximum Rating: When users create a profile on Gravatar, they are given the opportunity to rate their image (i.e. G, PG, R, X) based on appropriateness. This section lets you 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 user posts a comment on your site, the same image will display 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 image size, code editing would be required.

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 the keyword gravatar inside the plugin search field …

Search for gravatar-enhancing 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.

Gravatar Hovercards are normally a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can add Gravatar Hovercards to a self-hosted WordPress installation, however, if you install the versatile (and free) Jetpack WordPress plugin …

Jetpack - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Plugin: Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After Jetpack is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a new item will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars management panel. 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 Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

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

Hovering the mouse over a Gravatar displays Gravatar Hovercards

(Hovering the mouse over a Gravatar displays a Gravatar Hovercard)

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

Gravatar Hovercards

(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 tutorial has helped you learn what Gravatars are and how to use them in WordPress.

How To Use 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.