• Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Plugin Of The Week – 9/16/2016 – WP User Avatar

Changing Your Default User Avatar In WordPress

One complaint I actually have with the WordPress Core of files and features is one of the simplest of features to change, the user avatar.

If you’re not quite sure what it is, the user avatar is the image for each user account that you have on your website. Perhaps you might have noticed that by default you must have your user avatar uploaded to the Gravatar website. But what if you don’t want to use Gravatar? Well there are other options.


First, Why Should You Use Gravatar?

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?

Derek Wood user avatar imageThis simply means that you can have one user avatar image that will follow you from blog to blog all around the Internet.

This is a great option if you are trying to create a specific presence within a target market. For instance this is my normal user avatar image to the right:

You will see this image on sites I post as myself. And while you can create more then one avatar at Gravatar, sometimes there are places you might not want your own user avatar.


Using Locally Based User Avatars

Along came a plugin that solved a problem. What to do when you technically need to use a seperate user avatar that you just don’t want to add to the Gravatar system? Turn to the WP User Avatar Plugin.

This simple plugin does something that I think should be an easy enough core feature, the choice of using a local image for just the one blog in question.

But why would you do that you ask? It depends on the segment of the market or blog type you are writing posts or comments on.

Here is an example:

I write this blog which is based upon WordPress security topics. I also write three other sites whcih will cover topics such as marketing, SEO, and various other business topics. On all of those sites, as well as sites like WordPress.org, or various other sites where I post on related topics I use one user avatar. This means that users of these sites with common topics will all see my posts with the same image and this will present a consistent presence for me in those markets.

However, I also like gaming. On sites that I might post on on rare occasion or that are outside of my professional interests, I often will not include my standard Gavatar image.

Another option that I use happens  on sites that I own or manage for others. When the administrator account on these sites is created, the administrators are allowed to use a local image or Gravatar based on the choice of the person being assigned to manage the site.

WordPress currently only allows you to use custom avatars that are uploaded through Gravatar. WP User Avatar enables you to use any photo uploaded into your Media Library as an avatar. This means you use the same uploader and library as your posts. No extra folders or image editing functions are necessary.


WP User Avatar

  • Version: 1.1.0
  • Author: Flipper Code
  • Last Updated: 8-27-2016
  • Requires: 3.6+ or higher
  • Compatible up to: 4.6.0
  • Average 5-Star Rating: 4.5


  • Upload your own Default Avatar in your WP User Avatar settings.
  • Show the user’s Gravatar avatar or Default Avatar if the user doesn’t have a WP User Avatar image.
  • Disable Gravatar avatars and use only local avatars.
  • Use the [avatar_upload] shortcode to add a standalone uploader to a front page or widget. This uploader is only visible to logged-in users.
  • Use the [avatar] shortcode in your posts. These shortcodes will work with any theme, whether it has avatar support or not.
  • Allow Contributors and Subscribers to upload their own avatars.
  • Limit upload file size and image dimensions for Contributors and Subscribers.

Pro Features

  • Easy Upload and Capture functionality with crop avatar options.
  • Use Webcam to get Avatar instantly.
  • Allow user to upload avatar on Registration Page.
  • Easy to adjust avatar dimensions.
  • Enable to add or edit avatar while adding existing user to the blog in multi-site network.
  • Keep Avatars in Custom Folder instead of Media Manager.
  • Keep Avatars on Amazon S3 Storage
  • Keep Avatars on Dropbox
  • Keep Avatars in Media Manager
  • Easy to use Settings to control every functionality.
  • Multi-lingual, Multi-Site, BBPRESS and Buddypress Supported.


Do I Really Need A Local User Avatar?

Well, with millions of WordPress installations across the Internet, it would be easy enough to see why many people would just default to using the Gravatar interface. Not to mention that the Gravatar interface is owned by WordPress.com anyways.

However, with well over 200,000 active installations, the WP User Avatar presents you with the joyous ability to make a choice. After all isn’t the ability to choose whether or not to use the Gravatar  service if you just don’t want to. It is a simple and small enough plugin to consider adding to your site even if only a few people implement it. Give your readers a simple measure of customer service that many other WordPress blogs are not offering. Sometimes people like the ability to make up their own minds, even if it is just a user avatar image.


Derek Wood

Derek is a Online Web Professional. He works with clients and customers in order to implement Web-Based solutions for businesses. These include websites, SEO, marketing, and company branding. His own company, Shadow Dragon Unlimited has been providing these services to local businesses in his Western Massachusetts area and online since 2003.