[Product Post] Managing Member Profile Photos (AKA Avatars) in Vanilla Forums

Posted by Luc Vezina on Mar 3, 2017 8:00:54 AM

3 minute read

People join a community because they are looking for help and advice from others. Community interactions happen online through smartphones and computers but are human to human interactions. Member profile pics - sometimes called avatars - put a face to members.

Here are the Vanilla options for displaying profile photos.

Default Avatars

In the Dashboard under Appearance > Avatars you can set a default image that will display if a user does not upload a profile photo.

Here are a few samples that you can use (ctrl + click to save) :

On this page, you’ll also see a setting that will give users permission upload their own.


Gravatar is a global profile picture service run by Automattic (the people behind WordPress). If the Gravatar plugin is enabled, Vanilla will display a user’s Gravatar if they have one. Many people have created a Gravatar over the years when registering on a website built on Wordpress.


Vanillicon is a plugin that can be used to create a unique profile image for each user. It combines colors and elements of a smiley face to create a unique icon. The Vanillicon plugin can be enabled in the Dashboard.

Passing Profile Photos via SSO

If you have implemented single-sign-on from your website or app to Vanilla, you can pass a URL to a profile photo. This URL will be updated each time the user signs in so that if the profile photo is changed on your end, it will update in Vanilla. For more on SSO, please visit our docs resource page.

Social Logins

If your members are registering using social logins (ex, Facebook) the profile photo from that service will be used as the profile photo. Note, by default a user will not be able to change the photo in Vanilla if it has been passed via a social login.

How Members Update their Profile Photo

Updating a profile photo is as simple as hovering over the profile photo and clicking on ‘Change Picture’. Moderators and Admins can also change a member’s profile pic.

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