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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. Darrell says:

    Thanks for your help on this, I’m new to using Gravatar, and hoping that my name and picture shows up above!

  2. Michael says:

    I am new to all of this. I am going through a front end development program and establishing a Gravatar account. It was recommended by the director for the program. I’m eager to see how it works.

  3. Victor says:

    Not sure why it didn’t work for me.

  4. Beth Soloway says:

    Trying to figure out my gravatar!

  5. sara says:

    It works!

  6. afsal ca says:

    hope this works…:)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the article!

  8. bajaartists says:

    someone is using my unique name :(

  9. Shelby says:

    Curious to know if I have a gravatar

  10. Jeff Jacobsen says:

    I don’t really need it. I don’t have a website, blog, etc. I do notice it shows up on Network Miner. Does this consume any bandwidth I could be using for other things I actually need on the internet? Or is it just the site pinging me for an avatar that doesn’t exist? The weekends are the pits for bandwidth on DSL. I can’t get Fios where I live. And for the price I pay for internet I don’t want things I dont need or use hogging bandwidth.

    • JohnSmith says:

      Your gravatar is not stored on your own computer. The Gravatar servers store your image and whenever you sign up for a website with the same email as your gravatar account, if that site uses gravatar it will ask the Gravatar severs (not your computer) if there is an image for that email account.

  11. Alanna says:

    Excellent article. Very helpful!

  12. Katie says:

    Nice article, let’s give it a try :)

  13. Paul says:

    @Aapje Daapje You don’t need a wordpress account

  14. Andy Mason says:

    Can you add backlinks inside comments using Gravatar?

  15. Stefanie Knox says:

    Thanks for the help. Let’s see if this works!

  16. Liana Bakker says:

    ok I just got gravatar. When I comment on my own site it doesn’t show up! Any idea how make that happen? Hopefully it will at least work here….

  17. Carl Madrid says:

    This article explain all.. Gravatar also let you gather all your website,blogs etc., in 1 place.. Easy to see and people can also see them so easily…

  18. Jason Wong says:

    Thanks to your simple guide, it was easy enough to set up a Gravatar. Looking forward to learning more from your insightful posts!

  19. Russell Leupold says:


  20. bb says:

    Thanks for this useful posts, you’re indeed a wordpress community beginner developers. Cheers

  21. Aapje Daapje says:

    Really nice. But can one get an avatar without being forced to get a wordpress account as well? I don’t see that option.

  22. A.J. Nichols says:

    Great post!

  23. French Tony says:

    I did this mainly because of articles such as this one! Thanks for tip – search engines also like open profiles

  24. EnlightenmentHow says:

    I could not figure out what it was or what it did, i had only heard that we have to have one! Thanks for explaining!

  25. Pia says:

    Okay I signed up did it work?

  26. Randy Keith says:

    Okay I signed up, did it work?

  27. Ed Leader says:

    How interesting!

  28. randall beggs says:

    Thanks for the info.

  29. Scott McGehee says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  30. Ryan James says:

    Thanks for the tips. This was exactly what I was looking for.

    Just set up my Gravatar!

  31. Melodee Vandenbosch says:

    Sounds like something I need to do!

  32. Afraz Ali says:

    Thanks for precise and useful info!

  33. Bowman says:


  34. Cyrille says:

    Thanks for the good explanation !

  35. Debbie says:

    Hoping to see the video in action

  36. Adam Dayton says:

    I do not want gravitar from automatically choosing my avatar for message boards. I want to be anonymous for some things. What do I do?

  37. Val says:

    This is all so new it’s a bit confusing, I’m not sure what my gravatar is just yet, but this is kinda fun!

  38. cris beiber says:

    why should we sync the social media to gravator..

  39. lauren says:

    Trying to see that gravatar in action.

  40. Vivian says:


  41. Teresa says:

    Great Article and very clear!

  42. Larisa Makuch says:

    Great article. Thank you for the clear explanation

  43. Megaera says:

    Hi, I’m hoping you can help me. I’ve been cross-posting my blog posts (self-hosted WordPress) to Facebook, but they always came across on Facebook with a big gray and white square next to them. I was told that the reason for those was because I hadn’t uploaded a gravatar. So I went to and uploaded a Gravatar and now my blog refuses to cross-post to my Facebook account (It goes to Twitter just fine).

    Anyway, this is the error message I get: •Facebook: Meg Justus (Error validating access token: Session has expired on Feb 21, 2014 2:12pm. The current time is Feb 22, 2014 1:00pm.)

    I am in the process of changing email addresses, but I have changed my email address on both my WordPress blog and on Facebook, and I know I have on Twitter, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

    I do hope someone who’s reading this can help me.

  44. Susan Scott says:

    I am a user. I am unsure what my gravatar is .. I know I should know but …please can you help me … I comment sometimes on Blogger posts and would prefer to use my open ID which then takes me to wp which requests my gravatar.
    Many thanks.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Your avatar is displayed right next to your name in the comment you left here. To modify it you can go to and sign in using the same email address you used here.

  45. Ryan Martineau says:

    Thanks for the tips!

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