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How to Set Custom Avatars for Users in WordPress (Gravatar Alternative)

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Have you ever wanted to set custom avatars for users who leave comments with no Gravatar? Or want to get rid of gravatar altogether and speed up your page load time? In this article, we will show you a gravatar alternative that allows you to use the first letter in user’s name as their avatar for WordPress comments.

Preview of discourse like first letter avatars in WordPress comments

Video Tutorial

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First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP First Letter Avatar plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » WP First Letter Avatar to configure the plugin settings.

First letter avatar settings

On the plugin’s settings page, you can choose a set of icons. Currently, it only comes with a default set of icons which is already selected.

If you want to replace Gravatar on your site completely, then you need to uncheck ‘Use Gravatar’ box. Once you are done, click the save changes button to store your settings.

You can now visit your website to see this plugin in action.

If you selected to use Gravatar, then it will only show first letter avatars for users who do not have a Gravatar image associated with their email address. If you chose to replace gravatar, then this plugin will show the first in user’s name as their avatar.

In the Gmail app, Google displays the first letter of sender’s name if the contact doesn’t have a photo, so this is a pretty clever way of following that trend.

That’s all we hope this article helped you set custom avatars for users in WordPress as a Gravatar alternative.

You may also want to take a look at this tutorial on how to display author’s Gravatar on their posts in WordPress.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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