Using WordPress Gravatars

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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)

The use of avatars has now become standard across the web on social web accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online directories and loads of other places …

Avatars are commonly used across all user sites on the web

(Avatars are used across all user sites on the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

If you read other blogs, you will see that WordPress also displays user profile pics (e.g. when visitors 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 or images on their blog posts and comments, while with others, all you see is a generic silhouette image or some weird icon with their post comments, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your avatar displayed as a grey blob while others got to show their pictures …

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

In this tutorial you are going to learn about Gravatars, how Gravatars work and how to use gravatars in WordPress.

What’s A Gravatar?

WordPress uses a special type of avatar called a Gravatar

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

(A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar used in WordPress)

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars make it possible for a person 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 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 used by many WordPress users supported by many web platforms.

How Do Gravatars 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 comments, articles and (optionally) elsewhere across the WordPress universe …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Default avatar set by WP site administrator

(Default avatar set by site administrator)

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

Default Avatar

(Default Avatar)

If you don’t want your entries to be associated with a default icon, then 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 having one avatar display on a forum that you often drop into and another avatar display on a blog that you are a registered member of, gravatars allow you to 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:

Benefits for Site Administrators

  • Gravatars require very little effort to manage.
  • Gravatars require no 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

  • You don’t have to create 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 a central location.

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

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

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

Gravatar

(Gravatar)

Log 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 easily register for one on the 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.

You will be asked to upload an image …

Gravatar offers you several image uploading options

(Upload your Gravatar image)

After uploading your image, crop and save it …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

Choose one of the available ratings for your Gravatar …

Rate your Gravatar picture

(Rate your Gravatar image)

You can access and update your own account settings …

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

Once you have finished 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, forums, etc …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

And every time you login …

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

How To Manage Gravatar Settings in WordPress

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

  • Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed on your site or not.
  • Avatar ratings filter.

To manage how your Gravatar is used, log into your dashboard and go to the Settings > Discussion administration panel …

Discussion Settings

(Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down to the Avatars section …

Using WordPress Gravatars

You will be presented with several 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 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. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar without requiring them to have their own Gravatar account. Generated icons link the email of the post commenter 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 save your changes when done …

Save WordPress Changes

Using WordPress Gravatars – Additional Tips

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

Also, several WordPress plugins have been developed to extend the use of Gravatars. These 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-enhancing plugins inside your WordPress plugin dashboard)

For example, you can a feature called a Gravatar Hovercard to your site using a WordPress 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 Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

A Gravatar Hovercard is 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 the powerful (and free) Jetpack plugin …

Jetpack by WordPress.com - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Plugin: Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After installing the Jetpack plugin on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a new item will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars admin area. This lets you display user profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar with their mouse …

WordPress Discussion Settings - Gravatar Hovercards

(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

If this feature has been activated, then if someone hovers their mouse over your Gravatar …

Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display a Gravatar Hovercard

(Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays Gravatar Hovercards)

Your Gravatar Hovercard will display, allowing people to click through to your profile and learn a little more about you …

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 tutorial has helped you learn about Gravatars and how to set them up in WordPress.

How To Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Blog

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)

***

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. 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.