WordPress Social Avatar Plugin Provides an Alternative to Gravatar

Despite the fact that Gravatar is the default avatar service built into WordPress, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There are times when you may want to use a different avatar on a specific site but don’t want to change your Gravatar image. In some instances WordPress site admins choose to disable the service for whatever reason, but there is a way to give users more avatar options without turning Gravatar off.

WP Social Avatar is a new plugin that makes it easy to use your Facebook or G+ picture as your WordPress avatar. Once activated, users can add their Facebook handles or G+ IDs to /wp-admin/profile.php.


Your avatar will be instantly updated to the new selection throughout the site.


WP Social Avatar includes a settings panel under the Users menu that allows administrators to set the minimum role/capabilities required to use social avatars.

The plugin does not require Facebook or G+ authentication in order to set your avatar, so it’s just as convenient to use as Gravatar. It also does not disable Gravatar for users who prefer it. Maruti Mohanty, the plugin’s developer, plans to add more social avatars in the future. If you want to add a few convenient avatar options to WordPress profiles on your site, download WP Social Avatar from WordPress.org.


18 responses to “WordPress Social Avatar Plugin Provides an Alternative to Gravatar”

  1. Minor problem with the Google+ avatar code: You’re making a request to the Google+ API to get the picture information, which is fine. But you’re using your own key to do it instead of having a site use it’s own key.

    This is an issue because normally these requests are limited to 10,000 API calls per day for the free versions of them. If a bunch of people use this plugin, you could rapidly run out of requests.

    Additionally, you’re using direct curl calls and not the wp_remote calls to make these requests, which means that this won’t work on sites without curl available to them.

    Additionally, you’re making this same API hit on every request to display said avatar, with no caching around it. This will exceed the limits fairly rapidly, the returned data should be cached for at least a day or two before making the same request again. You could use a transient for this, or usermeta would be appropriate in this instance.

    Just a few points. It’s relatively easy to make code in WordPress interact with external services APIs, it’s a lot trickier to make them scale as well.

  2. A great addition would be to use the gravatar image if desired for the author bios/post bio boxes, but have the caching used for the other options. Main issue with Gravatar is it shows an error on expiration headers with Google PageSpeed Insights due to 5 minute expiry…. there is no currenty plugin which provides for local caching for using Gravatar, and that would be huge “most wanted” option, perhaps to add to this plugin for a single solution for using ANY image for author bio, etc. :-)


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