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 profile images has now become standard across the web on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, online directories and loads of other places …

(Avatars are now 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 users post comments or engage in online discussions) …

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

In this tutorial you will learn what a Gravatar is, how Gravatars work and how to set one up in WordPress.

Gravatars – What Are They?

WordPress uses a special type of avatar called a Gravatar

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

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.

Gravatars allow web 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.com was acquired in 2007 by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. 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 technology 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 comments, articles and (optionally) elsewhere across the WordPress universe …

If a site does not have a Gravatar account set up, the default icon set by the WP site admin will be associated with 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 WordPress entries to display with a generated icon, then set up a gravatar.

Benefits Of Using A Gravatar

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 creating different avatars for every new site you register 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:

Benefits for Site Administrators

WordPress User Benefits

The tutorial below explains how to set up and use Gravatars in WordPress.

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

To start using Gravatars, you will first need to create an account here: http://www.gravatar.com


Sign in with your WordPress.com account details …

If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you can create one on the Gravatar site …

Once you have verified and set up your account, follow the instructions to complete your profile, and choose the email address and image you want associated with your Gravatar.

Upload your Gravatar image …

(Gravatar offers various image uploading options)

Add your photo, then crop and save it …

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

(Rate your Gravatar image)

You can access and edit your own account anytime …

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

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 appear inside your own WordPress dashboard, in your user account …

And whenever you log back into your site …

Managing Gravatar Settings

Although WordPress sites now automatically integrate 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 administration panel …

(WordPress Discussion Settings)

Scroll down the page to the Avatars section …

You will be presented with several options:

  1. Avatar Display: Select whether to display Gravatars or not.
  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 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. Selecting one of the generated icons gives users a default avatar. Generated icons link the email of the commenter to an auto-generated image. Now, every time that person posts a comment on your site, they will have the same image next to their name.

Remember to save your changes when done …

WordPress Gravatars – Useful Info

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

Also, various WordPress plugins have been developed to enhance 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)

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

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

(Jetpack Plugin – Gravatar Hovercards)

After installing Jetpack on your site and activating the Gravatar Hovercards feature, a Gravatar Hovercards entry will be added to your Discussion Settings > Avatars screen. This allows you to display visitor profiles when someone hovers over a Gravatar image with their mouse …

(WordPress Discussion Settings Screen – Gravatar Hovercards)

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

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

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

(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 about Gravatars and how to set them up in WordPress.

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


"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group


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