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What is Gravatar and Why You Should Start Using it Right Away

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What is Gravatar and Why You Should Start Using it Right Away

Often new WordPress users ask us about how the grey icon that shows up next to their name. Sometimes we get emails from users asking us how can they turn this grey thing off. Well this grey icon is known as “mystery man” gravatar. In this article we will discuss what is a gravatar and why you should start using it right away.

History: Avatar

Before we dive into what is a Gravatar, we should first cover what is an avatar. An avatar is a graphical representation of a user. It could be the person’s picture, or a random icon they want to associate with. Back in the days when web was sort of anonymous, people would use icons for identification purposes. Largely it is still the case in the gamer community. One of the coolest part about discussion boards, forums, is that you can recognize active users fairly easily because of their avatar. While it is hard to remember names, it is very easy to identify a specific image. If you were part of numerous discussion boards, you would start to recognize a same group of people everywhere. As the web evolved and blogging started to become more mainstream, it was fairly hard to have an identity as a commenter. With forums and other services, users were required to register. Each user had their own profile, so they could easily add an “avatar” to their profile. However, blog commenting doesn’t require registration in most cases. So how do we identify users? Well that is when Gravatar comes in.

What is a Gravatar?

Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. It is globally recognized because millions of people and websites use them. Most popular applications like WordPress have built-in support for Gravatar. When a user leaves a comment (with email) on a site that supports Gravatar, it pulls their Globally Recognized Avatar from Gravatar servers. Then that picture is shown next to the comment. This allows each commenter to have their identity through out the world wide web.


Why Should I add Gravatar?

If you want to be identified on the web, then you should use a gravatar. If you are a blogger, non-profit, small business, or anyone who wants to build a brand, then you need to start using gravatar. Chances are that you read and comment on blogs. At first your gravatar might not get as much attention. But if the same person sees your comment at numerous sites they read, they will probably end up visiting your website. We as publishers find it really easy to identify our loyal users by their gravatar.

In our opinion, gravatar makes your comment stand out.

How can I get a Gravatar?

It’s simple and it’s free. Simply go to Gravatar’s website. Signup with the email that you use the most often to comment. Add an avatar of yourself. This could be a picture of yourself, your company’s logo, or something unique. You really have to do it one time. Chances are you won’t be changing your avatar a lot. So it’s more like set it and forget it.

Most WordPress themes already come with gravatar integration with comments. If your theme doesn’t, then you should seriously consider adding it. For further branding purposes, you can change the default mystery man gravatar on your site and put something else. Here is a tutorial on how to change the default gravatar in WordPress.

To see the live demo of gravatar in action simply comment below. Hope to see new faces in our comments. If you have a gravatar, then make a comment below. So we can recognize you.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Christel Hays says:

    Thank you for the good information

  2. Mary-Kay Perris says:

    Thanks for the info – I will have to learn more about avatars and make one.

  3. Fagu Singh says:

    Thanks for the information. If I don’t read this article I did’t know what is Gravatar?

  4. sandra says:

    thank you!

  5. Vishal Khanjawar says:

    I also did it #try

  6. swati says:

    nice article

  7. Matthew says:


  8. Keith Watts says:

    Hi Guys and thanks for the info

  9. Jecri Yabut says:

    Thanks for the tip! :)

  10. Liz Jones says:

    Thanks for the info. This has been on the “TO DO” list for awhile!

  11. Bhuwan says:

    Good read!

  12. Tina Basu says:

    Can I use same gravatar for two sites. How do I do that?

  13. Jasmine Win says:

    I think I did it?

  14. Adele says:

    Let’s try

  15. vishal says:

    nice explanation

  16. Grace Suarez says:

    Can you see me?

  17. Richard Häggblom says:

    Even i got gravatar :)

  18. Pedro Holstein says:


  19. Graham Pegg says:

    Does it work?

  20. mohit says:

    That is oswam

  21. John Jack says:


  22. Abhinav Vijay says:

    Helpful article. Loved reading it

  23. Dowan says:


  24. Kishore Krishna says:

    is it working ?

  25. Lucy Coppes says:

    Thanks for the great explanation on how Gravatars work!

  26. Steve Wagar says:

    If the gravatar is sometimes square, sometimes round, then the gravatar site really needs to show us how any image will look both ways…

  27. Nicaise Dogbo says:

    1. Are you aware that this comment form is not accessible to persons using screen reading technology, in that the labels on the “name”, “email” and “comments” editable fields are not programmatically determinable?

    2. Do gravatars have alternate text to the avatar content so that persons who cannot see the image can at least have an alternate way of choosing an avatar based on text content?

  28. Bob Marconi says:


    If uploading something is there a size (+/-) limitation?

    Thank you for the info

  29. Manuel Yanez says:

    test my pic

  30. Starla says:

    I’m just commenting to see if my Gravatar turned on.

  31. Walden Coyle says:

    Let’s see if this works. (I’m low-tech.)

  32. Emily says:

    Here’s mine hopefully

  33. Mohammed Ammar says:

    I just created one by reading your article, and I love it!

  34. My Ke Turner says:

    Thanks for the info, but I really didn’t wanna sign up just to see the gravatar in action. So up front to be honest some of my info is false.

  35. Paul Strathdee says:

    Thank you!

  36. Sue says:

    Thank you for fantasric artilces. Which plugin do you use for your “More on WP” at the end of articles? I like it’s neat clean lines.

  37. Robin says:

    Thanks for this guide. But can you give me a little guide about gravatar rating features.

  38. Anukampa says:

    good read

  39. khavin says:

    awesome tool

  40. Walter Charley says:

    Thank you..and how do I change the text which is next to the gravatar?

  41. Bernie Sanchez says:

    this was helpful

  42. David says:

    This might work.

  43. Pinesta Hostel says:

    Work, gravatar, work!

  44. Matilda Ljungberg says:

    Interesting read and a great explanation, thx!

  45. Jimmy says:

    now I understood

  46. Drake Sterling says:

    testing new Gravatar!

  47. Tunde says:

    Hello. Just created a gravataaarrr!

  48. Ivan Vrancic says:

    Thanks for the tip!

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