Have you ever wondered what is a Gravatar and whether you should be using it?
Gravatar allows users to display an avatar image next to their name on WordPress websites.
In this article, we will discuss what a Gravatar is and why you should start using it right away.
The term Avatar was borrowed from online gaming communities in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Before that, online forums were mainly text-based communities where users were only identified by their user names.
As these communities grew, it was becoming harder to identify users only by their names.
To solve this, online forums allowed their users to upload an image as their profile photo. They called this an “Avatar” image instead of a profile photo.
The term Avatar means an image that represents a person or a user. This could be their own photo or any other image they want to use as their profile photo.
As the web and blogging evolved, WordPress blogs faced a similar problem. WordPress comments became the conversation hub for many blogs, and it was harder to identify commenters with just names.
Unlike online forums, where users were required to create an account, WordPress commenters generally didn’t need to make an account to leave a comment.
This is when the Gravatar came in.
Related: See our guide on the History of Blogging.
What Is a Gravatar?
Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. It is a popular web service that allows people to create a profile and associate avatar images with their email addresses.
This means that when you leave a comment on one of the sites that support Gravatar, it will pull your Globally Recognized Avatar from their servers and showcase it next to your name in the comments and other areas.
For instance, when a user leaves a comment on a WordPress site, their Gravatar is automatically shown next to their comment.
This allows each commenter to have their identity throughout the interwebs.
Why Should I Add Gravatar?
If you are a blogger, non-profit, small business, or anyone wanting to build a brand, you need to start using Gravatar.
A Gravatar allows you to build your identity on the web and build an authoritative voice in your industry.
At first, when you comment on blogs, your Gravatar might not be noticeable immediately.
However, if the same person sees your comment on numerous sites they read, they will probably visit your website.
Some website owners complain that Gravatar slows down their websites, and this is the most cited reason why bloggers choose to disable Gravatar.
Pro tip: See our ultimate guide to speed up WordPress for more performance optimization.
How Can I Get a Gravatar?
You can get a Gravatar by visiting the Gravatar website and signing up for a free account.
It is quite easy to create a Gravatar for your profile.
First, you need to visit the Gravatar website and click on the ‘Create your Gravatar’ button.
You will now be taken to the signup page.
Gravatar is owned by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org; see our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org). This is why they require users to sign up using a WordPress.com account.
You can create a free WordPress.com account or sign in if you already have an account.
You will now be directed to the ‘Login’ page, where you need to provide the email address and password of your WordPress website.
After that, simply click on the ‘Continue’ button.
Next, you will be asked if you would like to log into Gravatar using your WordPress.com account.
Simply click on the ‘Approve’ button to continue.
After that, Gravatar will send a confirmation email to your email account.
You’ll need to open the email and click on the ‘Confirm your email’ button to activate the Gravatar account.
Now, you will be redirected to the WordPress.com website.
Next, you need to go back to the Gravatar website and sign in using your WordPress.com account.
This will take you to your Gravatar Account page.
Here, you simply need to click on the ‘Add a new image’ link below to add your Gravatar image.
Upon clicking on the link, you’ll be taken to the ‘Upload Image’ page.
You can now upload any image you want to use from your computer or by pasting a URL.
We recommend choosing a nice profile picture of yourself or your company logo for the Gravatar.
However, if you want to remain anonymous, you can use any other image that represents you.
After you have uploaded a Gravatar, you’ll be directed to a new page where you can crop, rotate, zoom, and preview your image.
Once you’re satisfied, simply click on the ‘Crop Image’ button below.
Next, you’ll be asked to rate your Gravatar according to its maturity level.
Simply check the box next to a preferred option and click on the ‘Set Rating’ button.
Your Gravatar has now been set up.
Next, you need to visit the ‘Websites’ page from the sidebar on your Gravatar dashboard.
From here, you need to simply copy and paste your WordPress website’s URL and title.
Finally, click on the ‘Save Website’ button to store your settings.
Now, you can try out your Gravatar by leaving a comment on a website or by checking the author profile on your WordPress blog.
This is how our Gravatar looked in the author bio section on a demo site.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gravatars in WordPress
Users often ask us questions about using Gravatar for their own avatar image as well as using Gravatar on their websites.
Following are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about using Gravatar.
1. How do I turn off Gravatar on my WordPress website?
You can turn off Gravatar on your WordPress website by simply visiting the Settings » Discussion page and unchecking the box next to the Avatar Display option.
For more details, see our tutorial on how to disable Gravatar images in WordPress.
2. What happens when a user does not have a Gravatar image?
By default, WordPress will show the mystery man image next to the comments where the comment author does not have a Gravatar image associated with their email address. This is called the default Gravatar image.
You can change this image by visiting the Settings » Discussion page and scrolling down to the Default Avatar section.
From here, you will see a bunch of options to choose from. Some of them will automatically attempt to generate a unique image by using an algorithm based on the user’s name or email address.
3. Can I add more than one image or email address to my Gravatar account?
Yes, you can add multiple images and email addresses to your Gravatar account. However, you can only use one image as your Gravatar for each email address.
4. Can I disable my Gravatar account?
Yes, you can disable your Gravatar account at any time. Simply log in to your account on the Gravatar website and choose ‘Disable My Account’ under your profile photo.
Disabling your Gravatar image will stop processing your images, and any websites where you left comments will stop showing your Gravatar image.
We hope this article helped you learn about what is Gravatar and why you should start using it. You may also want to see our tutorial on how to change the default Gravatar in WordPress and our top picks for the best team communication tools for small businesses.