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Published 27th December 2008 by

A quick tip for customising the default Gravatars in Wordpress 2.7 now they took away the get_avatar function. Use this filter instead; it's a much better way!

When Gravatar support was added in WordPress the default "mystery man" was the only graphic available unless the commenter had previously signed up for gravatar. Soon after that, there was an option to specify a default image, followed by the Identicon, Wavatar and MonsterID. In WordPress 2.7, the new comments overhaul does not allow custom Gravatars to be defined, since they are all wrapped up into wp_list_comments.

Lets look at the original method for showing gravatars:

  echo get_avatar($comment, $size = '32', $default = get_bloginfo('template_directory') . '/images/gravatar.png');

This was a nice simple template function where you pass in the comment (from within the loop), the size for the avatar in pixels, and a filename for the default image.

Since we can no longer make a direct call to get_avatar, we must use a different approach. Thankfully the good guys at WordPress made a nice filter that we can hook into.

function addgravatar($avatar_defaults) 
  $avatar = get_bloginfo('template_directory') . '/images/gravatar.png';
  $avatar_defaults[$avatar] = 'Tutorial Gravatar';
  return $avatar_defaults;
add_filter('avatar_defaults', 'addgravatar');

The filter is called avatar_defaults and can be used to add a new filename to the array of available filenames. This example assumes that the image is called gravatar.png and is located inside the images folder of your current theme. If this isn't the case you can simply amend the filename. We also need to give the avatar a name; in this case, I called it "Your Paranormal" as this is the site I am writing it for. The last line adds the new function to the filters list.

Now when you go into the WordPress administration screen under Discussion you will see your new default avatar listed and it will be selectable.

Wordpress custom gravatars

Wordpress custom gravatars

There, isn't that nicer than a hard coded hack in the theme?

5 thoughts on “Custom Gravatars in WordPress
  • 30th December 2009 at 12:00 am

    Great !! Thanks for sharing, it's very useful.

  • 27th May 2009 at 12:00 am

    Where is the best place to add this filter? functions.php?

    • 4th June 2009 at 12:00 am

      Yes, functions.php is the best place to place the code.

  • 26th January 2009 at 12:00 am

    Very good point Matt, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Matt Algren
    26th January 2009 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the tip! You might want to warn people that if they cut/paste your solution they'll have to manually replace all the curly apostrophes for normal ones.

    Not that I just spent an hour pulling my hair out. Not me.

    No siree.


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