Displaying your image against your WordPress comments

Thinking of adding an Avatar to a WordPress comment? You might want to consider Gravatar, a service that provides globally-unique Avatars and able to register an image as 'belonging' to an email address.
3 Jan, 2010

Here’s my Avatar – stunning in its lack of originality!

Gravatar (which stands for “Globally-recognised Avatar”) is a service that provides globally-unique Avatars.

What is an Avatar?

Hmm, ok you say, but what is an Avatar in the first place?

Well, an Avatar (apart from being a film and a Hindu term referring to the appearance of a deity descended from heaven to earth) is a computer-users representation of him/herself or an alter ego (see Wikipedia definition). Most avatars are far more ingenious than mine (see right) and are often graphical representations of an object representing the person rather than a plain old photo, but their purpose is basically to represent you in graphical form anywhere on the web where your posts and comments appear.

What is a Gravatar?

Gravatar takes things one stage further and enables you to register an image as ‘belonging’ to an email address. Then, wherever your email address is used to post website comments your Gravatar will appear too. WordPress, as well as many other blogging tools and other websites, will automatically look for a Gravatar for you when you post a comment, and display it next to your posts and comments. With one registration at Gravatar you can add any number of your email addresses and assign the same, or different, images to each email address (which might be useful if you have a serious, and a less serious, persona depending on the forum or blog you are contributing to).

Just in case you’re not convinced, there are apparently 29,000 avatar images served every second of the day! Now that’s impressive.

Gravatars are free – you can get one here.

2 Comments

  1. David Wreathall

    Good tip, thanks Martin
    It makes me slightly nervous to sign in to the Gravatar website – a company I don’t know – with my user ID and password for WordPress!

    David

    Reply
  2. Martin Jarvis

    You don’t need to divulge it if you don’t want to, but Automattic (the Gravatar people) are the same company that are behind WordPress, so you should be ok.

    There is another button on the Gravatar home page (above the WordPress.com login form) that allows you to create a Gravatar just by entering your email address.

    The WordPress username and password fields are for wordpress.com only. Your self-hosted WordPress site will have its own settings to look for, and display, Gravatars for visitors when they comment on your site.

    Reply

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