Gravatars: Globally recognized avatars

A what…?

Most people have never heard of an online avatar, let alone a Gravatar, so let’s begin with some definitions.

An online avatar is an image or icon used to represent you on the Internet, usually associated with some contribution you have made, such as a comment or a post on a forum.

A Gravatar is an avatar that is hosted by a third-party (Gravatar.com), which is associated with your email address. When you contribute a comment or post on a website that supports Gravatars, such as a WordPress blog, it will check with Gravatar.com and display your avatar if you have an account with Gravatar.com.

From the Gravatar.com website:

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

Why get a Gravatar?

You should sign up for a Gravatar so that on websites that support Gravatars, you will have a profile picture next to your comment or entry, instead of a generic icon, like the one on the right. On such websites, having a Gravatar helps distinguish your comments or posts from the others around it.

Setting up a Gravatar

  1. Prepare your image:
    • It must be square
    • It can be up to 512 pixels wide
    • It will be displayed at 80 pixels by 80 pixels by default
  2. Go to http://www.gravatar.com/ and click on the sign up button.
  3. Check your email Inbox and follow the instructions in the email from Gravatar.com.
  4. Upload your image.
  5. Try out your new Gravatar by leaving a comment on this post!

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