When browsing different web sites, you may notice that many users have a picture next to their name. These pictures are called “avatars.” WordPress, however, uses a specific type of avatar called “Gravatars“–short for “Globally Recognized Avatar.” Unlike standard avatars, Gravatars follow you around the web and automatically appear when you post a comment on a WordPress site.
WordPress integrates Gravatars into every WordPress site. Once registered with Gravatar, the service matches your WordPress profile information to the email address registered with Gravatar and displays your custom Gravatar image next to comments and (optionally) elsewhere on the WordPress site. If you choose not to sign up with Gravatar, the default icon set by the Administrator appears next to your name.
Why use Gravatars?
Providing your users with avatars has become a convention in web-publishing. Enabling Gravatars on your WordPress site simplifies the process for everyone involved. While it is possible to use a WordPress Plugin to manage user avatars on your WordPress-run site, using Gravatars on your site makes less work for both you and your site’s users.
Benefits for Administrators
- You can add user Gravatars with very little effort
- You don’t need to maintain an additional Plugin
- You don’t have to manage user accounts, or their images, for commenters to use Gravatars on your site
Benefits for Users
- You don’t need to register for every site you visit just to use a Gravatar
- You can update the Gravatar you use across multiple sites by uploading a single image in a single place