Show WordPress comments with colorful letter avatars instead of gravatar

With the WP First Letter Avatar plug-in, you can display the first letter of the commentator as a colored avatar image. The plugin is a data protection compliant alternative to Gravatar and spices up your WordPress comments with colorful avatars.

In my post about WordPress plugins for better data protection , I presented the Avatar Privacy plugin, among other things. This means that the IP address of visitors is not passed on because the Gravatar images are cached locally for comments.

WP First Letter Avatar

In the comments to the post, WP First Letter Avatar was mentioned as an alternative, which simply shows the first letter of the commentator as a colored avatar. I found this idea convincing, which is why I tried and tested the plugin today.

Set custom avatars for users with no Gravatar. The avatar will be the first (or any other) letter of user's name on a colorful background.


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Last updated: 4 years ago
5,000+ active installs
Compatible up to: 4.7.19

The plugin is available on Unfortunately, the last update was two years ago, which means that not all functions work with WordPress 4.9. More on that later.

Configure WordPress avatars

You can find the options of the plugin under Settings → WP First Letter Avatar .

WP First Letter Avatar Options

With the Avatar set option, another set of images can be selected for the avatars. These differ mainly in the different fonts. In addition to default , opensans and roboto are available as standard.

By activating the Use Gravatar checkbox, the letter avatars should only be displayed if no Gravatar image is available. Unfortunately, this option no longer works with WordPress 4.9.8, so the plugin cannot be used in combination with Gravatar or Avatar Privacy.

In order for the letter avatars to be displayed correctly, the Use Gravatar option must be switched off . After that, all avatars will be converted as colored letters.

WordPress comments with colored letter avatar

With complete deactivation of the Gravatar function, the plugin also works as desired and now shows the first letter of the commentator as a colored avatar image.

WordPress avatars with letters

A bit of a shame is the inability to show the author of the post with a separate avatar image in order to be able to distinguish him from the normal commentators.

My conclusion

WP First Letter Avatar is particularly suitable if the target group of the website mostly does not use Gravatar and most of the comments show the gray standard image. Then the colorful letter avatars provide a nice break up of the comments.

If you don't want to do without Gravatar images, I recommend the Avatar Privacy plug-in mentioned at the beginning. This means that the gravatars can be integrated in compliance with data protection regulations. I will also continue to use this plugin because many readers in the WordPress scene have a Gravatar account.