Why is There a Smiley Face in My WordPress Footer?

When you’re managing a website, one of the last things you want to see is an anomaly.  Little glitches or artifacts that show up, ruining your otherwise beautiful creation.

But when you’re dealing with code strewn across the worldwide web, it’s bound to happen everyone once and awhile.

Not too long ago, I noticed the tiniest of smiley faces show up in one of our website’s footers.  Shortly after that, one of our web developers noticed it as well.  Being the engineer of the site, he was much more upset than I was about the situation.

Where did this come from?

Had we been hacked?

Was it aliens?


These were all questions we asked.  Being the go to researcher of the team (it’s practically what my college degree is in), I was tasked with discovering the source of the “anomaly”.  It didn’t take long to find the answer.

And once I did, I realized that I was the cause of this tiny little smiley face.

What’s Causing the Smiley Face on My WordPress Site?

In addition to the endless third party plug-ins and support available for WordPress users, the WordPress organization itself offers a plethora of optional tools.  One set of tools that comes pre-installed with your site is a plug-in called Jetpack.

Jetpack has a variety of functions it can perform for people who choose to activate it.  It’s free to use too!  All you need to do is assign it to a WordPress.org account.  What I have found to be the most useful of the Jetpack tools is a little thing called Site Stats.

Site Stats is great because it operates like a simplified version of Google Analytics right on your WordPress dashboard.  You can quickly track page views, keyword searches, daily traffic, monthly traffic, social media traffic, and more!

I use it for all of our marketing clients to regularly check their blog activity.

What I didn’t know is that by activating the tool, you enable this tiny little smiley face that pops up in your footer.  Why does it pop up?  They say the image helps gather analytics, but that the product “should work fine without it”.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but basically, you don’t need it to be there.  It just is.  Like some little joke.  Our developer did not find it funny.

Not at all.


So How Do I Get Rid of It?

Turns out this is a very common issue people run into, and because of that, there are a lot of different ways to solve it.  You can even download plug-ins that are designed to mask it.  However, there’s a much easier solution.  You simply deactivate it.

Here’s how you do that:

1. Go to your admin panel (or dashboard if you would).

2. Click on Jetpack in the left hand column.

3. On the page, go to the WordPress.com Stats box and click configure.

4. Go to where it says “Smiley” and click the box that says “Hide the states smiley face”.

5. Save the configuration, and you are good to go!

Easy, right?  As I said, if for some reason you don’t like that option, there are other ways to do it.  You can even edit the CSS of the smiley face, making it bigger or smaller.  I’m not entirely sure why you would want to do that, but hey, some people are in to weird things.

We hope this helps you in your endeavors.  At the very least, you learned something today.


Have you ever had an unexplained glitch or anomaly show up on your website?  What was the cause?  How did you fix it?

5 Responses to "Why is There a Smiley Face in My WordPress Footer?"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on October 10, 2013