Hurray! Zip has set up his own email address associated with his domain name. Remember that default avatar he set up in discussion settings? Does he truly want some randomly-generated avatar as his own avatar? No! He wants his own, so we’re going to show him how to set up a Gravatar.
A Gravatar is an avatar that follows you around the Internet.
Ummm. OK, that sounded kind of creepy. Some things — some cookies, for instance — DO follow you around the Internet. The Gravatar follows you in a more of a benign, non-creepy way. If Zip has a Gravatar, it will show on any website that uses Gravatars when he leaves a comment or writes a post.
How to Set Up a Gravatar
Gravatar is run by Automattic, the company that’s responsible for WordPress.com, you need a WordPress.com account to log in and set up a Gravatar.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to Set up a Gravatar
- Go to the Gravatar website.
You’ll find the Gravatar website at https://en.gravatar.com/ for the English-language version. It’s not too hard to find the version for other languages. If you want to read it in French, for instance, you can find it at https://fr.gravatar.com/.
- Sign In or Create a WordPress.com Account
If you already have a WordPress.com account, click the Sign In button located at the top of the page. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account yet, click the Create Your Own Gravatar button. That will take you to a page where you can enter basic information. Enter it and click “Create your account.”
- Confirm Your Email
You’ll then get a page like the one shown below. Check your email and follow the link there to confirm your account. If you don’t get the email, check your Spam folder. Some email services more aggressively filter Spam than others, and it may end up in your spam box. My experience has been that, unlike some online services, Gravatar will not send you a second email. If a LOT of time has passed and you still don’t get the email, you’ll need to contact them.
Fortunately, Zip got his email and was able to confirm his account.
- Return to the Gravatar website
After Zip confirmed his account, he ended up at a page like the one shown below. But there’s nowhere here to enter a Gravar! Not to worry! Just navigate back to https://en.gravatar.com/, and click the Sign In button at the top of the page.
- Click Add a New Image
At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link to Add a new image. Click it.
- Choose Your Method
You have choices here. If you already have an image on your website, you can use the URL for that image. You can take a picture with your webcam, but Zip would NEVER do that because it makes him look unattractive, and he wants to appear charming to any lady sloths that might visit his website. If you’ve uploaded other images to WordPress.com in the past, you can use them. But what we’re going to do is upload an image.
- Upload Your Image
So on the next page, you’ll see the button where you can find your file and upload your image. But wait! Zip doesn’t have a picture and isn’t sure what format to upload! You can upload a jpg or png image. It should be no more than 1MB in size. Your Gravatar will need to be a square image, but you’ll find in the next step that there are built-in tools to crop it into a square.
- Crop Your Image
At last, Zip can see his Gravatar image. But…shame on you, Zip! You entered a photo of yourself when you were younger. Your days of being a cute baby sloth are long past. But, this is the Internet, who needs to know that, right?
Anyway, use the tools here to crop and center your image, and when you’re satisfied, click the Crop button.
- Choose a Rating for Your Gravatar
This rating system seems based on the familiar MPAA rating system. Remember when we configured WordPress settings, and you chose which level of ratings to allow on your website? This is where they get set!
Well, Zip thinks his Gravatar is so enticing that it is way beyond even this rating scale. Nope, baby sloths definitely fall in the G category. Press Set Rating.
- Voila! Your Gravatar, Sir!
Finally, Zip has a Gravatar set up. Now his photo will show on websites that use Gravatar to show avatars whenever he uses the email address associated with it. If he ever creates other email addresses or changes his mind about the photo, he can set up new images right here.
What if I Don’t Want a Gravatar?
Why wouldn’t you want a Gravatar? Why wouldn’t you want to have Gravatars on your website? There might be plenty of reasons:
- Concerns that displaying Gravatars could slow your website.
- You don’t want a WordPress.com account, and you don’t want a Gravatar.
- You want your website’s users to be able to upload their own default avatar.
I’ll write about this in a separate post in the future, but for now I’ll say that, like most things, there’s a plugin for that!
Of course, there’s more than one, but the one I’ve used and would recommend is WP User Avatar. It’s very simple to set up and lets you:
- Entirely disable Gravatars on your website.
- Upload a custom default avatar for guest users, instead of one of the default WordPress avatars.
- Set a custom size for Avatars.
However, for right now at least, on Slothverse.com, Zip’s just going to use Gravatars as he’s excited as a sloth can be to get past all of this setup stuff and get to the fun part of writing and design.
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