When you see a forum post or a comment on a website, the picture of you next to it is likely something known as a “gravatar”. But how do you set one up?

In my test forum on my website, this is a gravatar (indicated by the red arrows).

Gravatars are most commonly used on WordPress websites (the Wordpress-owned company, Automattic, owns Gravatar too). But on other forums and site communities, they too sometimes use Gravatar.

So if you leave frequent comments on websites or forums, it would make sense to make a Gravatar image. Otherwise you will end up being represented by one of the default images, which to be honest, are not very flattering –

How To Set Up a Gravatar

First of all, sign into the Gravatar website using your Wordpress.com account. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, you will be asked to sign up for one for free. Note that this account is totally different than WordPress.org.

After signing into your account, click on “Add email address”.

Add the email address you normally use for commenting on websites and forums.

You can repeat this process and add as many email addresses as possible. Gravatar doesn’t impose any limits that I am aware of. After you verify a second address, you can choose which email is the “default” on the account.

Gravatar will send a confirmation link to that email address. Click on it to confirm you own the email address.

Now back on the main screen, click on “Add a new image”. I already have two images there since I have been using Gravatars for years. But if you have just started, yours will be empty.

Choose where the image is coming from. Personally I always upload directly from the computer which is “Upload new”.

You can then upload the image which must not be more than 1MB in size. You will be asked to crop it and you can see in real-time what the finished image will look like on the right-hand side.

When you’ve got it exactly right, click “Crop Image”.

The next page asks you to set a maturity rating for your image. It will tell you the ratings and what each one means. A normal image will be G which is safe. But then it scales up depending on things like nudity, violent gestures, profanity, and others.

You need to be completely honest about this because if you set an explicit image as G, a site owner can block you from ever appearing on their site ever again.

Back on the main page, you will now see the email address populated by the new image.

To change the image, repeat the process as before. Or if you already have another image uploaded (like I have above), just click on it and it will switch over.

Gravatar Profiles

Gravatar also makes a profile for users to leave information about themselves, as well as links to social media profiles. You can even leave a cryptocurrency wallet address. Having a profile like this is excellent for search engine visibility purposes.

If you click on a person’s Gravatar, you can usually go straight through to their profile to see if they have left anything about themselves. Here is my profile.

Now, when you leave comments on blogs and forums, your new (Gr)avatar should turn up. It’s a nice way to personalize your comments and your online output.