Whatever it is that serves up user avatars has been randomly(?) failing for the past several days. I've checked this on several different browsers. If you go to the "Users" page of any SE site, you'll find that at least half of the avatars are missing. This applies to both user-supplied images as well as the system-generated geometric icons.

  • Did you check the URLs of the failing avatars vs those that are not? Are they all coming from the same place (I am guessing it is Gravatar and that it is either failing or your network is having problems accessing it). – Oded Jun 6 '16 at 16:10
  • This has been bothering me too. I get www.gravatar.com’s server DNS address could not be found. DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN if I open one in another tab. And I am getting this on two separate computers. My own pic is affected... – Laurel Jun 6 '16 at 16:11
  • Not much we can do about that, @Laurel - you can always upload a picture so issues with gravatar don't affect your avatar. – Oded Jun 6 '16 at 16:12
  • @Oded but it affects most user icons. For example, the OP's icon is also affected. I would rather have them all fixed instead of skirting around the problem. I suspect this may be a regional glitch, maybe. – Laurel Jun 6 '16 at 16:17
  • @Laurel - sure. But what do you expect us to do about it? We are not in control of gravatar, their network or DNS servers. – Oded Jun 6 '16 at 16:22
  • @Oded: What we expect is that if you're going to use gravatar.com, that you'd be willing to escalate an issue to them. It's making SE look bad. – Dave Tweed Jun 6 '16 at 16:31
  • @DaveTweed It's not even necessarily an issue with Gravatar per se. Could be any number of things failing, starting with your ISP. Unfortunately, there's not much for us to do here unless one of us can even reproduce the problem and figure out where something fell over. – Adam Lear Jun 6 '16 at 23:22
  • @Adam: As a web developer, I understand everything you're saying. But as an end user, I should not need to know or care about how you have chosen to aggregate the various elements that go into an SE web page. It should "just work". If a significant number of users can get everything from SE.com just fine, but not from gravatar.com, that's an issue for SE, even if it can't be reproduced by a developer at a particular location. – Dave Tweed Jun 7 '16 at 11:17

I had this error too, but I found a solution. I only wish I knew why it was happening in the first place.

I followed the steps here, which means using Google Public DNS.

Here are the steps I followed, with the screenshots.

Right click:

Opened Network & Sharing

Clicked on the current connection (should be WiFi or LAN), then clicked properties:

Click Properties

Select IPv4, then click Properties:

Arrows pointing

Type in new DNS addresses, and are both Google's:

"Use the following DNS"

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