Gravatar is an abbreviation for Globally Recognized Avatar. An avatar is a visual representation of a person. So, a Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar that you can easily use to display a photo or image next to your screen name when posting on a forum or blog. The great thing about using a Gravatar is that you do not have to upload an image for every site you wish to use it on. If a site supports Gravatars, as long as you sign up for that site using the email associated with your Gravatar, it will automatically appear next to your screen name.
How Do I Get a Gravatar?
Signing up for a Gravatar account is easy. Let's begin by going to the Gravatar Signup page:
Fill in the email you want to use for your Gravatar account and click Signup. Next, check your email and click on the link provided so you can choose your Gravatar username, set your password and complete the signup for your Gravatar account.
Once you've completed the signup process, you'll want to click on My Account > Manage Gravatars at the top of the Gravatar website. You'll see a notification that you do not have any images yet. Click the link to add an image.
On the next page you'll have the option to upload a file from your computer, use an image you already have on the Internet, or take a new picture with a webcam connected to your computer. For this example we'll upload a file from our computer by clicking on the "My computer's hard drive."
Next, click on the "Choose File" button to choose your image and then click the "Next" button to upload the file.
Next, we will crop our uploaded image. You can grab any side to enlarge or shrink the area to be cropped. Since Gravatars are square images, your image will need to be cropped to a square as well. When you're satisfied with what the image will look like after cropping, click the "Crop and Finish!" button to proceed.
Finally, choose a rating for your Gravatar. We recommend keeping your image G rated so you can display it to any audience.
That's it! You've just created your Gravatar account and assigned an image to be used for your account. You can also add additional images if you like so you can easily switch between images if you like.
Using Gravatars on Your Own Website
Gravatars and WordPress
If you have a WordPress site, Gravatars are built in. As of version 2.5 there is no need to add an additional plugin to add Gravatar support. You can choose to allow user Gravatars to be displayed by their comments. You can also choose the maximum rating allowed and what to display for users who do not have a Gravatar account.
There are also useful plugins such as the Author Bio plugin that use a Gravatar image. You can also add a plugin such as the Gravatar Signup plugin to encourage your users to sign up for a Gravatar account if they do not already have one.
If you are using another CMS such as Joomla or Drupal, there are plugins and modules for both systems to integrate Gravatars into your site. If you are using a different CMS, you can do a quick search of your system's plugins/modules for Gravatars. The Gravatar website also provides instructions on how to integrate Gravatars into your site: