WordPress Plugin: Wavatars

By Shamus
on Dec 17, 2007
Filed under:




Wavatars is a plugin that will generate and assign icons to the visitors leaving comments at your site. The icons are based on email, so a given visitor will get the same icon each time they comment. It livens up comment threads and gives people memorable “faces” to aid in following conversation threads. It’s also fun.


  1. Wavatars can generate 956,384 different shapes in 57,600 different color combinations for a total of 55,087,718,400 (55 billion) unique Wavatars. Yeah, you should have plenty. You’ll run out of human beings (or hard drive space) long before you run out of Wavatars.
  2. The icons are generated on-the-fly. You can adjust the desired size of the icons.
  3. For easy deployment, icons will automatically preceed the commenter’s name. You can set HTML to come directly before and after the icon (to put it inside of a <DIV> tag, for example) or you can control the placement of the icons manually if you don’t mind adding a single line of PHP to your theme.
  4. Wavatars are based entirely on email and are thus very portable. The same email will result in the same Wavatar, even on different sites, so users will have the same icon on all Wavatar-enabled sites. (Assuming, or course, that there are other Wavatar-enabled sites. I don’t know if anyone will want this plugin or not.)
  5. This plugin also supports Gravatars. If you like, it can show the Gravatar for a given user (if available) and fall back on their Wavatar only if they don’t have a Gravatar set up. This means users can choose to set up a unique icon for themselves, and if they don’t, they will be assigned a unique Wavatar. This is a great system that lets people personalize if they want, yet still provide a decent icon for the lazy or apathetic.


  1. Download the plugin.
  2. Copy it onto your website in the wordpress /plugins folder. Then enable the plugin. That’s it. Wavatars will instantly appear for all posts (even old ones) on your blog. If you don’t like how the image looks within your theme, read on…

The administration panel is under Options » Wavatars. You can adjust the size of the Wavatars, and assign HTML to come before and after each image to help nudge it into place. Each image is also set with the CSS “wavatars” class. On this site, I don’t have any HTML prefix or suffix, and instead just added these lines to my CSS:

.wavatar {
float: left;
padding: 3px;
background: #fff;
margin-top: -25px;
margin-left: -25px;
margin-right: 5px;

If that still doesn’t give you enough control over wavatar placement and you don’t mind editing your theme, just turn off automatic placement and add the line wavatar_show($comment_author_email); to your comment loop wherever you want the image to appear.

Your mileagle may vary. It all depends on your installed theme.

Note that the plugin requires that your install of PHP support the GD library. If it doesn’t, the Wavatars won’t show up and you’ll get a warning in the Wavatar admin panel. You can still use this plugin to display Gravatars, even if the GD library isn’t available.

This is the first release. You could even go so far as to call it “beta” if you want to be formal about it. It’s only been tested on one server (this one) so far. Please leave bug reports and questions in the comments below.

Download Wavatars v1.0.0

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From the archives:

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