Libravatar was designed so that domain owners can choose to host themselves the profile pictures for their domain. For example, an organisation may want to have control over the pictures use for their employees.

Server implementations

There currently exist the following Libravatar image server implementations:

Name Description Administration Programming language Support for Default modes
libravatar The software that runs web-based Python Email, OpenID 404, mm, identicon, monsterid, wavatar, retro
Surrogator very simple avatar server command line only PHP Email, OpenID 404, mm
Simple Libravatar service Quick hack to serve static files command line only Shell script Email none (always returns a static image)
ivatar The software that will run the next generation web-based Python Email, OpenID 404, mm (and its alias mp), identicon, monsterid, retro
libravatar.cgi Simple CGI implementation none C Email 404, mm (and its alias mp), blank
libravatarserv Simple libravatar server none C++ Email 404, mm (and its alias mp), identicon, URL; optionally returns a default image instead

The following instructions are about the official software.

System requirements

You can find the latest system requirements in the installation instructions that come with the software, but Libravatar has been confirmed to work on Debian 8 (jessie).

Getting the code

We are not currently doing regular releases of the code, but you can easily get the latest copy from our git repository:

git clone


Once you've got a copy of the code, follow the instructions in the INSTALL file.


A number of options can be customised in the libravatar/ file. If there's anything that's unclear in there, please file a bug against the project so that we know how to improve the documentation.

DNS setup

Once your instance is running on a publicly-accessible server ( in this example), add the following records to your DNS zone file:     IN SRV 0 0 80 IN SRV 0 0 443

The first entry (_avatars._tcp) should point to an HTTP server whereas the second one (_avatars-sec._tcp) is for an HTTPS server (if you have one).

Note that these servers do not have to be running Libravatar themselves, but they do have to implement the same protocol/API.


The time-to-live (cache expiry) should be set to at least 1 day (86400 seconds).

If you choose a TTL smaller than 1 day, Libravatar clients are allowed (and encouraged) to ignore it and cache your entry for a day.


If you use full hostnames or subdomains in your email addresses, for example and, then you need to have a set of SRV records for each of them:     IN SRV 0 0 80 IN SRV 0 0 443     IN SRV 0 0 80 IN SRV 0 0 443

SRV weights and priorities (optional)

All SRV entries should have the same priority. Lower priority ones will be ignored by Libravatar clients.

You may however use weights to spread the load across more than one avatar server.


Once you have these records, have a look at the domain check tool to make sure everything is working.

See also