Still trying to wrap your head around WordPress’ Gravatars? By default, all WordPress users and visitors are given an avatar called a Gravatar. But this isn’t your typical system in which users can simply pick and choose their avatar. Gravatars are universal, meaning a user’s Gravatar will be displayed on all compatible sites. To learn more Gravatars and how they work, keep reading.
Avatars, as you may already know, are small images placed next to user names. They are used as a form of personalization, allowing website users to distinguish themselves from others. Gravatars are pretty much the same as any other avatar — they feature a small, customizable image placed next to the user’s name. But there’s one major difference between them and traditional avatars: Gravatars will follow you around from site to site, appearing on any supported website or blog on which you post content. This is why it’s important for users to choose a meaningful and appropriate Gravatar.
The content management system (CMS) WordPress automatically integrates Gravatars into its websites and blogs. However, in order to customize a Gravatar, the user must visit the https://en.gravatar.com/ and follow the on-screen instructions. This includes creating an account, specifying your name, email address, and uploading the photo that you would like to use as your Gravatar/avatar. Pay close attention to your email address when setting up your Gravatar, as this will essentially be your avatar’s calling card. Any websites on which you register with the email address will automatically be tied to your Gravatar account.
Of course, WordPress users are in no way required to set up a Gravatar. If the Gravatar system is enabled on a WordPress blog or site, but the user failed to create an account on gravatar.com, it will simply display a default Gravatar next to his or her name. It’s not exactly the most visually appealing solution, but it’s better than nothing. In any case, it takes just a couple of minutes to visit gravatar.com, create an account, and upload your own photo.
Here’s the official description for Gravatar provided by the website itself:
“A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. You upload it and create your profile just once, and then when you participate in any Gravatar-enabled site, your Gravatar image will automatically follow you there. Gravatar is a free service for site owners, developers, and users. It is automatically included in every WordPress.com account and is run and supported by Automattic.“
There are also plugins available designed to manipulate the Gravatar system in WordPress. WP User Avatar is one such plugin that allows you to upload your own default avatar rather than relying on the Gravatar system. Feel free to experiment with some of the different Gravatar plugins to see whether or not they suit your needs. You can also specify default Gravatars by accessing the WordPress dashboard > Discussion > Default Avatar.
Are you a fan of Gravatars? Let us know in the comments section below!