WordPress For Non-Techies: Free WordPress Tutorials – WPCompendium.org

Using WordPress Gravatars

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 avatars has now become mainstream on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online forums and other sites …

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

Using WordPress Gravatars

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

You may be wondering why a number of users display their profile photos with their blog posts and comments, while with others, all you see is a silhouette or some weird icon with weird icon, or perhaps you’ve contributed to an online discussion and wondered why your avatar displayed as a grey blob alongside your WordPress discussions, while others got to show their pictures …

In this tutorial you will learn about Gravatars, how Gravatars work and how to set up avatars in WordPress.

Gravatars – What Are They?

WordPress uses a special kind of avatar called a Gravatar

(A Gravatar is a special kind of avatar used 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.com 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 on many technologies.

How Gravatars Work

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

If a site has not set up their Gravatar account, the default icon set by the site admin will display on their comments (see further below).

(Default avatar set by WP site admin)

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

(Mystery Man Avatar)

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

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 having one avatar display on a forum that you often drop into and another avatar displaying on a blog that you are a registered member of, you could 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:

Site Administrator Benefits

User Benefits

The step-by-step tutorial below explains how to set up and use Gravatars.

How To Add Gravatars To WordPress – A Step-By-Step 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 register for one on the Gravatar 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 to associate with your Gravatar.

Upload your Gravatar image …

(Upload your Gravatar image)

Add your photo, then crop and save it …

Choose a rating for your Gravatar (G, PG, R, or X) …

(Gravatar image ratings)

You can access and change 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 editing your details and setting up your account, your Gravatar will follow you around the web.

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

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

And every time you login …

Managing Gravatar Settings in WordPress

Although WordPress now automatically integrates with Gravatars, you can change some of the settings:

To manage how your Gravatar is used, log into your WP admin area and go to the Settings > Discussion area …

(WordPress Discussion Settings Menu)

Scroll down to the Avatars section …

You will be presented 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 give their Gravatar a rating (i.e. G, PG, R, X) based on its appropriateness. Here you can select the maximum rating you will allow on your site.
  3. Default Avatar: WordPress lets you 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 their own Gravatar account. 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 save your changes when finished …

Using WordPress Gravatars – Tips

By default, WordPress displays Gravatars 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 enhance the use 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)

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 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.

Gravatar Hovercards are normally a feature of WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress). You can, however, add a Gravatar Hovercard to your self-hosted WordPress installation by installing a powerful plugin called Jetpack

(WordPress Plugin: Jetpack – Gravatar Hovercards)

After the Jetpack plugin is installed on your site and the Gravatar Hovercards feature is activated, a new entry will show up in your Discussion Settings > Avatars section. This allows you to enable the display of visitor profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar image with their mouse …

(WordPress Discussion Settings – Gravatar Hovercards)

If this feature has been activated, then if visitors hover their mouse over your Gravatar …

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

Your Gravatar Hovercard will appear, giving people an opportunity to visit your profile and learn a little more about you …

(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 article has helped you learn about Gravatars and how to get your picture to display next to your posts, comments, discussions and more.

Gravatar logo source: simpleicons.org. Avatar movie references used for illustrative purposes only. All copyright belongs to their respective owners.


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