Using WordPress Gravatars

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

How To Use 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)

Using profile images has now become the norm across the web on social web accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online forums and other sites …

Avatars are used across all user sites on the web

(Avatars are now used all over the web)

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

You may have wondered why some users get to display their photos next to their blog posts and discussions and some don’t, or perhaps you’ve left a comment on someone else’s blog and wondered why your profile image appeared greyed out …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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

Gravatars – What Are They?

WordPress uses a special type of avatar called a Gravatar

A Gravatar is a special type of avatar used with WordPress

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

Gravatar is short for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow web users 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.com 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 technology platforms.

How Gravatars Work

Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your profile information to the email associated with 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 visitor has not set up their Gravatar account, the default icon set by the WP site admin will display next to their blog entries (we explain this further below).

Default icon set by WP site admin

(Default avatar set by site admin)

Typically, the default avatar most commonly used is called the “Mystery Man” …

Default 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.

Benefits Of Using Gravatars

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 create an account with, gravatars allow you to display the same avatar on all of the web properties that you visit.

Enabling gravatars on your WordPress site also simplifies the process for everyone involved:

WP Admin Benefits

  • Adding user Gravatars requires very little effort.
  • There is no need to maintain additional plugins.
  • Gravatars are visually portable across the web. You don’t need to manage user accounts or their images, to allow blog commenters to use Gravatars on your site.

Benefits For WordPress Users

  • You don’t have to upload 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 tutorial below to learn how to set up and use a WordPress Gravatar.

How To Add A Gravatar To WordPress – Tutorial

To start using Gravatars, first first you will need 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 easily sign up for one on the Gravatar site …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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 a number of image uploading options

(Gravatar offers various image uploading options)

Add your image, then crop and save it …

Using WordPress Gravatars

Select a rating 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 Use WordPress Gravatars

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 Site

Once you are done setting up your account, your Gravatar will be integrated with your WordPress account and follow you around the web.

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

Using Gravatars In WordPress

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

How To Use Gravatars In WordPress

And every time you log back into your site …

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

How To Manage Gravatars On Your WordPress Site

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 administration panel …

WordPress Discussion Settings

(Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down to the Avatars section …

Add A Gravatar To Your WordPress Site

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. 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. 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 person posts on your site, they will have the same image next to their name.

Remember to save your changes when done …

Save WordPress Changes

WordPress Gravatars – Useful Tips

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

Also, various 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-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 site using a plugin called Jetpack.

Gravatar Hovercards

Gravatar Hovercards allow 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 add a Gravatar Hovercard to a self-hosted website or blog, however, by installing a powerful (and free) plugin called Jetpack

WordPress Plugin: Jetpack - Gravatar Hovercards

(Jetpack by WordPress.com – Gravatar Hovercards)

After installing Jetpack on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a new entry will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars section. This allows you to 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 this feature has been activated, then whenever someone hovers over your Gravatar …

Hover your mouse over a Gravatar to display Gravatar Hovercards

(Hovering your mouse over a Gravatar displays Gravatar Hovercards)

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

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 article has helped you learn what a Gravatar is and how to use them in WordPress.

How To Use WordPress Gravatars

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 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.