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What is Gravatar? A Complete Guide

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If you are using WordPress.com to host your site, then there is a chance that you might have heard about the word “Gravatar”. Gravatar’s tagline is “Globally Recognized Avatar. In short, it is a service that helps you to display avatars on the internet. If you are a WordPress user or in general a user of Gravatar, it helps you to create and display a profile picture everywhere on the internet (on the sites that use Gravatar).

In this post, I will go through the details of Gravatar and will be focusing more on WordPress because after all, Gravatar was made keeping WordPress commenters in mind.

What is a Gravatar?

Gravatar helps you to create an avatar for yourself which is recognized all over the internet. Also, if you have an website, Gravatar helps you to display the avatars of all the users of your website.

Gravatar’s tagline is Globally Recognized Avatar. Their main aim is that an user will upload their unique avatar of Gravatar and it will be reflected on every website using Gravatar.

Gravatar’s parent company is Automattic (who also happens to be the parent company of WordPress.com). Due to this, Gravatar is already built into WordPress. But, if you want to use it for your non-WordPress site, you can use it.

Below I have posted a screenshot showing examples of Gravatars:

Gravatar Example

The picture next to the name is that person’s Gravatar.

Some other websites that use Gravatar:

  • StackOverflow
  • Slack
  • Sucuri
  • …and many more

Steps to Create a Gravatar

Till now, I have only told about the advantages and uses of Gravatar. Next, I will show you how you can create your own Gravatar. Here is how you can create your own Gravatar:

  1. Go to the Gravatar website and click on “Create your Gravatar”
Create your Gravatar

Then, you will be prompted to do either of these 2 things:

  • Create a new WordPress.com account (if you don’t have an existing one) or
  • Login to your existing WordPress.com account.

Let’s assume I don’t have a WordPress.com account and I want to create my Gravatar after creating my WordPress.com account. After creating of the account, this screen will show up:

Sign in to Gravatar

Just click on “Sign in with WordPress.com”.

  1. Next, you will be prompted to add a new Gravatar image. Add a new one by clicking on “Add one by clicking here”.
Add a new Gravatar

Once you select your desired picture that you want to use as your Gravatar, you can crop it or leave it uncropped.

Crop Gravatar

Click on “Crop Image” to continue on to the next step. On the next step, you will be prompted to select a rating for your Gravatar. Select a suitable rating and click on “Set Rating”.

Set Rating

Annndd you are done! If you want, you can add more Gravatars by following the above steps.

Gravatar Email Checker

If you want to check if the changes that you made to your Gravatar has taken effect (or if you want to check the Gravatar of any email address), you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Head over to this link
  2. Enter the email address for which you want to see the Gravatar
  3. Click on “Check”

Then, you will be able to see the Gravatar that is currently set for a given email address.

Gravatar Email Checker

Increase Gravatar Performance on WordPress

Now, let’s move into WordPress specific Gravatar setup. Gravatar is extremely convenient but there are some potential issues:

  • Performance
  • Inability to cache
  • Increases network requests

Let us go through some of the plugins which can fix these issues.

Caching Gravatars on WordPress

Caching Gravatar images will make fewer requests and the images will be served from your site’s server. This will helo you to control browser caching also.

These days, many optimization plugins include Gravatar caching option in them (Example – Swift Performance). But, if you want a standalone plugin to perform this function, you should consider the following plugins:

In certain circumstances, you might prefer keeping Gravatar off. In the next section, I will explain how you can do that.

Disable Gravatars on WordPress

If you really want to disable Gravatars on your WordPress site, you can do so. To disable Gravatars in your comments section, go to Settings → Discussion and uncheck “Show Avatars”.

To disable Gravatars entirely, you have to use a plugin. Here is one good one – Disable User Gravatar.

I hope that after reading this article, you have a good idea about Gravatars, how, where and why they are used and how you can set your own Gravatar too!

If you have any queries or suggestions, then please let me know in the comments down below.

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I am the founder of WPSteam. I am currently doing my B.Tech in Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering from KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar, India

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