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Add Better WordPress Avatars to Your Site with Simple Plugins

Add Better WordPress Avatars to Your Site with Simple Plugins

Last Updated August 14, 2023

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WordPress avatars are an often underlooked part of a website design. Comment sections are not as popular as they once were so designers often neglect profile customization. But frequent visits, especially for community sites, want way to personalize their profiles and avatars are a simple way to do that.

Gravatar is the main avatar option out of the box for WordPress. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to sign up or use the service. It’s an older part of the WordPress ecosystem. Thankfully, developers have come to the rescue with custom plugins to improve avatar support in WordPress.

Today we will be taking a look at some of the best plugins to add improved support for WordPress avatars to your projects.


Popular Plugins for Dealing with WordPress Avatars

Each of the plugins listed below for adding custom WordPress avatars to your site is available from WordPress.org. Each plugin is totally free. You can download the file and upload it to your installation or, alternatively, install it via the Plugins screen of the WordPress admin.

We have summarized each plugin’s features to give you a better idea of what to choose from. These plugins are all free, as we mentioned, without any premium or pro editions available. That’s quite rare in the WordPress space.

Let’s get started and find you a great avatar plugin for your site.

Simple Local Avatars

Simple Local Avatars

Simple Local Avatars is a WordPress avatars plugin that helps customize user profiles a little bit more. The plugin adds the option for a user to upload an avatar if they have media permissions. Any requested image sizes are generated on the spot and stored for efficiency.

Even with resizing, this plugin was developed to remain lightweight. Avatars are stored in the uploads folder along with all other media. Simple Local Avatars supports Gravatar and default avatars when none is set. However, if you wish to disable or turn Gravatar off, you can do so.

You can decide the group of users who are allowed to upload their own avatars. For example, subscribers and contributors but no one else. Finally, this plugin enables the rating of local avatars just as you can do with Gravatar.

Plugin Details

This plugin was initially released by its creator in January of 2011. It is currently on version 2.7.10 and last had a change on July 5th, 2024. The most recent version works on WordPress 6.6 and requires at least PHP 7.4 to operate on your server. This plugin is presently operating on over 100,000 WordPress websites. It has had over 1,771,700 downloads. There have been 5 help requests with a 20% response rate. Simple Local Avatars has below average support from its developer. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the end-users who left a review found Simple Local Avatars to be worthwhile.

Avatar Manager

Avatar Manager

Avatar Manager is a simple plugin with the main goal of adding the ability to store your avatars locally and give users more power and customization with their images. You can enhance your WordPress site by allowing users to choose their avatar straight from their profile screen. This is done either through Gravatar or a self-hosted avatar image.

This plugin makes it easy and convenient for your users to control their own avatar image. It works fast by generating images right away. You can edit user permissions through a native interface. Finally, admins can grant or exclude certain users from avatar privileges.

Plugin Details

This plugin was first released by its developer in January of 2013. It is currently on version 1.6.1 and last experienced a change on February 2nd, 2021. The newest update functions on WordPress 5.6.14. This plugin is actively functioning on over 8,000 WordPress sites. It has had over 111,540 downloads. There have not been many assistance requests from end-users. Reviews for Avatar Manager are very positive. Many of the users who left an evaluation found this plugin to be worthwhile.

Author Avatars List/Block

Author Avatars List/Block

Author Avatars is a WordPress avatars plugin made for multiuser sites. The goal of this plugin is to make it easy to show user avatars grouped together based on certain roles.

You can add single avatars to a post or page for displaying and featuring whoever you’re talking about in the content. You can insert your avatar lists into the sidebar with a widget or, alternatively, a shortcode. If you use the new block editor, this plugin has support for that as well.

Lists can be configured to show a title, show or hide specific users, and limit the number of users shown. You can even change the order of these users or have them shown in random order. If you wish, you can choose to show a user’s name or biography, show users from a certain blog, all blogs, or a selection of them, group them by their blog, and show a name above the group.

Aesthetics-wise, you can do simple adjustments like controlling the size of the avatar and its alignment. The plugin supports users from Co-Author Plus, Ultimate Member, BBpress, and BuddyPress.

Plugin Details

This product was initially released by its developer in November of 2008. It is actively on version 2.1.20 and last saw an update on April 3rd, 2024. The latest release functions on WordPress 6.4.5. This plugin is currently functioning on over 6,000 WordPress websites. It has had over 353,950 downloads. There have not been many help requests from users. Reviews for Author Avatars List/Block are very positive. Many of the customers who left a piece of feedback found Author Avatars List/Block to be wonderful.

Basic User Avatars

Basic User Avatars

Basic User Avatars inserts an avatar upload field to your site that lets your users upload their own profile pictures on the front end through their edit profile screen. This means they don’t have to access the WordPress admin dashboard to do so.

This plugin is a lightweight and great addition to community and membership sites. It is compatible with other plugins like bbPress and other popular tools that offer front-end user registration or features that allow them to manage their own profiles.

Admins also have the power to upload a user’s avatar via the Edit User admin screen if they need to. Alternatively, if you don’t want your users to update their avatars, you can adjust the local avatar permission settings to only allow users with certain roles or file upload capabilities to upload their own avatars.

Plugin Details

This plugin was originally released by its owner in January of 2014. It is presently on version 1.0.8 and last experienced a change on April 11th, 2024. The latest version functions on WordPress 6.5.5. This plugin is currently operating on over 10,000 WordPress websites. It has had over 140,140 downloads. There have been 3 support requests with a 67% response rate. Basic User Avatars has ok support from its owner. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the end-users who left a piece of feedback found Basic User Avatars to be excellent.

WP First Letter Avatar

WP First Letter Avatar

WP First Letter Avatar is the last plugin for WordPress avatars to make our list. It allows the possibility for custom avatars to be set for anyone without Gravatar. This plugin is very simple as the avatar that is automatically given is just the first letter of the user’s name or a different letter if you choose.

Avatars come in many sizes and different colors and the optimal size is automatically chosen. This makes the avatar high quality but appropriate for what is needed. Images are compressed using TinyPNG, so avatars remain incredibly light, and PSD templates for avatars are included as well.

By default, custom avatars will only be applied to users who don’t have Gravatars. Of course, you can remove Gravatars and not use them at all through the settings. The plugin is compatible with other plugins like bbPress and wpDiscuz.

Plugin Details

This piece of software was originally released by its creator in February of 2015. It is currently on version 2.2.8 and last had a change on March 11th, 2017. The latest release runs on WordPress 4.7.29. This plugin is presently operating on over 3,000 WordPress websites. It has had over 63,290 downloads. There have not been many help requests from users. Reviews for this plugin are very positive. Many of the users who left an evaluation found this plugin to be wonderful.


Find the Best Plugin for WordPress Avatars

That’s the end of our look at plugins to improve WordPress avatars.

As we mentioned, these plugins are all free so there is no competition between them in terms of price. The plugins listed here today also share a lot in common in terms of features and capabilities.

We recommend researching thoroughly and even trying a few of these out to find the right one for you. Often, when plugins offer similar features, it’s their interface or support history that sets one apart from the other. Thankfully, since these plugins are all free, you don’t have anything to Iose financially in taking your time and trying multiple options.

Our hope is that we’ve set you on the right track to find the best plugin for revamping WordPress avatars on your current website.


Looking for More Ways to Improve WordPress?

Are you hear searching for WordPress avatars solutions for a client project? You might be interested in learning more about our White Label WordPress plugin before you go.

White Label was developed for WordPress freelancers and agencies. Our plugin lets you customize the WordPress admin experience for your clients. Rebrand the admin, create custom dashboard elements, edit and remove menu items, and much more.

Check out the complete feature list to find out all of the ways White Label can help. Make WordPress less confusing for your clients and easier for you and your team to support.


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