Growth, Performance, and Pretty URLs

It’s been a while since we have posted about the current scale of Gravatar. Since that post in 2008, things have changed quite a bit. We are now serving over 100,000 requests per second. That is over 8.6 billion requests per day – more than the number of people currently alive.

With the help of our partners, Edgecast and Dyn, Gravatar is faster than ever. Distributing content across the world allows the majority of requests to complete in under 100 milliseconds – that is 4 times faster than the blink of an eye! No wonder more people are using Gravatar every day.

In 2007, we replaced the (ugly) image URL /avatar.php?gravatar_id=HASH with the (pretty) URL /avatar/HASH. As firm believers in backwards compatibility, we continue to support both URL formats. In order to ensure the freshest content is served to all users, we now redirect the old URLs to the new ones. We suggest that if you are still using the old avatar.php?gravatar_id=HASH style URLs that you switch to the new style – it will be prettier and faster for your users. If you have any questions about this change, please refer to our documentation.

Since Gravatar support has been added to WordPress, there are millions of WordPress sites using Gravatar every day. But did you know these other sites also use Gravatar?

Stack Overflow
Gnome Extensions
American Idol
Battlefield 3 Battlelog
99 designs
Digital Photography Review

Want to learn how to integrate Gravatar with your website? Check out our implemetation documentation.

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2 responses to “Growth, Performance, and Pretty URLs”

  1. Rick Beckman Avatar

    I wish the idea behind Gravatar could be extended further. With Gravar, i’m able to update my avatar image from one central location, which is then used on potentially thousands of sites which i either register with or otherwise give my credentials to.

    As fantastic as that is, an avatar is only one tiny portion of an online identity, and any other change in my credentials (display name, birthday [for whatever reason], website address, instant messenger IDs, etc.) still represents a hurdle in keeping them current.

    If Gravatar were extended to serve identities (via an API & “connect via Gravatar” functionality on supporting sites), a good deal of fat could be trimmed away from managing identity online. Once an account was authorized on a Gravatar account, any changes made to that account should be pushed out via API to the connected sites. (If i change my “login” email address on Gravatar, all of my connected accounts receive the updated information.)

    What would really set the service apart, though, is strong yet user-friendly privacy controls (unlike Facebook’s labyrinthine settings). The ability to set the visibility of certain pieces of profile data on a per-site basis would be great (such as hiding a “Real Name” field from casual video game sites).

    Furthering that idea, of linked accounts could be categorized (“Sports,” “Business,” “Family,” or whatever), different identity information could be fed to each group separately, useful if you want one of you want your sports blog tied to sports-related sites, your family picture album site for use on family blogs, etc.)

    Right now, there are plenty of options for confirming an identity/registration — BrowserID, OpenID, Connect with Facebook/Twitter/G+/whatever — but there doesn’t seem to be any place out there allowing you to _manage_ your ID across networks as i’ve described above. Gravatar’s trans-site avatar service comes the closest.


  2. […] posted about growth and performance recently. Nice to see Gravatar being used in more places beyond just […]