You must have noted that at many websites, commentors have a picture next to their name. These pictures are what is called avatars. From the times when internet was really anonymous and to some extent still today, people used these images to make themselves recognized on message boards etc.
Keeping in view with this tradition, WordPress also has a specific avatar called Gravatar, which stands fro Globally Recognized Avatar. There is a distinct difference between avatars and Gravatar. While avatar is specific to a site, Gravatar is your identity across WordPress sites and whenever you post a comment on a Wordress site, your Gravatar appears next to that comment.
When you register with the Gravatar service, you sign up with an email address. And whenever you comment on a WordPress site on internet with that email address, WordPress pulls your profile information from Gravatar and the picture is displayed next to comment.
Benefits of a Gravatar
Though it is perfectly possible to use a WordPress plugin to use avatars on your website but you should enable Gravatar on your website for various reasons:
- It is very easy to add Gravatars to your website. It is a built in feature and does not require any additional plugin.
- You do not need to create user accounts for people to comment or their images or avatars. Gravatar takes care of it automatically.
- Users can also comment with their avatar at every wordpress site without need of registering and adding their avatar per site.
How to Enable Gravatar
It is very easy to enable Avatar on your website. All you need to do is to go to Settings>Discussion and turn the Gravatars display settings on. Here you can also select the maximum rating of pictures and also select the default avatar for those with no profile picture.
Users can easily get their Gravatar by registering on the Gravatar website. Select your image which you want to display. You can also upload your own image.