Gravatar: Globally Recognized Avatar

There are a lot of web services in which you can upload your own profile image, in other words, icon or avatar. If you have registered with many services, it would be a hassle to upload/change your image at each different site. Gravatar helps you streamline the management of profile images.

What is Gravatar?

Gravatar is a web service that associates a profile image with your email address. One good example of use is WordPress; when you create your account or make a comment, Gravatar shows the image that corresponds to your email address.

Some of our authors on this blog site have their own image registered at Gravatar and they are automatically displayed on WordPress. Gravatar does not restrict a registered image to be used for specific blogs. The same image will be displayed at any other sites that you have registered at under the same email address (as long as the site you visit supports Gravatar).

Let’s sign up

To sign up for Gravator, you need two things ready: a profile image, and a frequently used email address. Go to Gravatar’s sign-up page  and enter the email address. You should register your mail email address that is registered at websites you visit. If you miss, you can still add another address later.  Once your email address has been registered, you will receive a confirmation email. It might take time and you should take it easy until you get it. If it does not work, check to see if the message has been mistakenly filtered to your spam folder.

Confirmation mail

Click the first URL link to activate your account.

Click the first URL link in the confirmation email, which transfers you to the registration site that requires you to enter your user name and password. If your password is too short,  you will get a message saying “Your password does not meet our security guidelines . Please try a more complex password. (password issue)”.

Once the user registration is completed, you can add a profile image. Click “add a new image” in Manage Gravatars page to add your nice image. I tried to use a nice image for my account but could not find one. I just took a picture of a mug sitting beside me. You can trim the image you have uploaded.

Crop your image

You can trim your image.

Click “Crop and Finish!” to confirm the trimming and go on to rate the image.

Your gravatar will be applied to various sites, some of which may judge it as an inappropriate image and refuse to show it. This rating is a criteria by which sites judge your image. This mug image does not contain any provocative dressing or violent expressions. So I selected “rated G” to complete the registration.


Rating system

Ordinary still objects and facial photos should fall under "rated G".

Check out how your gravatar looks

Go to this page and enter your email address. How does your gravatar looks?check your Gravatar The four avatar images at the bottom of the page show how your image will look at sites depending on different ratings. My mug avatar is rated G and successfully displayed at sites with all the different rating levels.

“Email hash” is encrypted data generated from an email address. With this, you can search for the corresponding image, but the URL for accessing an image data cannot be a clue for the corresponding email address. It assures you that your email address will not be known at sites where email address info is not shared.

Now, let’s check out how your avatar looks at a WordPress site. Your avatar should be displayed beside a comment you make. If you are an administrator, your avatar also will be displayed in WordPress Admin Bar at the top of the blog (yet, it depends on the blog’s setting).

WordPress での Gravatar 例

WordPress Admin Bar : my gravatar (far left)

I highly recommend Gravatar to WordPress users. But it will be beneficial to non-WordPress users, too, because this service is used for various web services across the world. In the next post “How to implement Gravatar on your site“, I will explain how to implement this Gravatar service on your site.

This post is also available in other languages.