WordPress Gravatars slow down the website. Every time WordPress need to show a gravatar, it has to connect to the gravatar.com website and download the related information. If your page is displaying 100 comments, your website will need to connect and download information from gravatar.com 100 times. This reduces speed of your website.
Gravatar is an online service that was initially developed by Tom Preston-Werner. This service aims to provide unique identity (called avatars) for every person using it. Every person using the service can have a Gravatar profile which includes a photograph. This profile can be linked withing other web-systems as a signature of the profile holder. For this reason, it has been found to be especially popular in comment systems.
Early in its history, Gravatar service was a paid one. But on 18 October 2007, when Matt Mullenweg’s company Automattic bought Gravatar –this service was made free of any charge. Later on Gravatars were integrated within WordPress comments portion. Anyone who would comment on a WP blog –she can sign her comment with her Gravatar ID.
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But at times, WordPress webmasters don't like Gravatar images to appear in their comments. Some other webmasters don't like too many external links going out to Gravatar website through users' avatar images. So, they want to remove Gravatars. And it's quite easy to remove WordPress gravatars!
Go to the admin panel of your WordPress blog and log in to reach the Dashboard
In the left-hand sidebar, go to Settings and then Discussions
On Discussion Settings page you can modify options related with comments on your blog. Here you’ll see a section dedicated to avatar management. You’ll see option to choose whether to display avatars or not.
Although, high number of outgoing links and slow speed show down side of Gravatars, but they are good also in some aspects. Well, it is not really necessary to use this feature. But it is pretty handy in case you wish to know more details about people commenting on your blog. In a huge number of cases, however, comment makers either don’t have a Gravatar profile or they simply do not sign with it. So, you don't get to know your commentator every time.
Nowadays, webmasters are focusing a lot on speed of website loading. I also have published a post on how to load Disqus comments on click of a button. Such measures help webmasters to reduce load time.
I hope this was useful for you. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions on this topic. I will be happy to try and help you. Thank you for using TechWelkin.