Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I own my domain and I use different email addresses for different sites, depending on what the site does, whether I think they'll spam me, etc.

Is there a way to tell Gravatar to use a picture for *@example.com unless it's already been defined?

I realize the wildcard would need verification. Gravatar could use the contact information for the domain as a way to validate the request.

share|improve this question

migrated from superuser.com Jan 31 '13 at 1:37

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

Please give it a whirl and answer your own question. :) – Doc Jan 31 '13 at 1:14
I tried, but couldn't make it work. I was hoping there was some way I hadn't thought of. David Schwartz' comment points out a good reason. – harleypig Jan 31 '13 at 5:46
up vote 14 down vote accepted

It's impossible. Gravatar doesn't actually operate on email addresses but MD5 hashes of them. There's no way to relate email addresses that have the same portion after the @ sign. If you send Gravatar an email that's not specifically in its database, it has no way to even tell what domain you are asking about.

This is by design to ensure we all know Gravatar isn't collecting email addresses. Otherwise, people would be reluctant to check for a Gravatar -- if the person didn't have one, you'd be giving Gravatar their email address.

share|improve this answer
Cool, great answer! – Louis Jan 31 '13 at 1:38
Not the answer I was hoping for, but quality nevertheless. Thanks. – Lucas Wilson-Richter Dec 25 '13 at 23:56
So I guess for domain-level avatars to work, it's needed to change the API (or docs on best practices how to use the API) so that website developers should first try to get avatar with hash of email, and if it fails, with hash of email's domain? – ivanzoid Apr 12 '14 at 0:57
I don't see why they couldn't just have a hashed '@domain.com', and if the address requested doesn't have an explicit email address, just use the fallback. – Dan Atkinson Jul 25 '14 at 14:18
@DanAtkinson If you can try to guess the domain and full email address separately, many email addresses become guessable. Consider an email like mine -- donald@ripple.com. I doubt you'd get that by brute force. But if you pre-hashed the top few million domains, you'd get the ripple.com part. Then if you tried common first names and last names in combination, you'd get the whole thing. – David Schwartz Jul 25 '14 at 15:26

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.