WordPress Usernames

By Bernie FitzGerald •  Updated: 12/13/22 •  5 min read

When you create a WordPress site, you will create an administrator’s account. This account has the highest privileges and can perform any task on your site. You will set the username of this account during the installation of your WordPress site, as you can see here:

The username you set can’t be changed later, so it’s worthwhile picking a good name in case you change your mind later.

Your WordPress username

To find your WordPress username (or the username of any of the other users of the site), you can click the users link in the admin panel:

Once you click Users, you will see the user table presented:

The Username column will show you the username of each user on the site.

Can you force a username change in WordPress?

There are many workarounds to get your username changed in WordPress. These are:

  1. Use a plugin to do the job
  2. Create a new admin user and transfer the content of the old admin to the new admin
  3. Update the database manually

Using a plugin to change your WordPress username

The easiest way to change your username in WordPress is to download the plugin Easy Username Updater. As you can see from the image below, it has a lot of installations and a high star rating.

Once installed, if you click the Users link on the admin panel, you should see the following submenu:

There is now a new option, Username Updater, that you can click to access the plugin.

This plugin will display a table with all the users on your WordPress installation:

The right-hand column has a link with the word Update in it. Clicking this will take you to the username renaming page.

This screen will allow you to enter a new username, and it also has a neat option of sending the user an email to let them know their username has been updated.

Transferring to a new admin user

The next method involves creating a new user, giving the user admin rights and then transferring all content to this new user.

In this example, I’ve added the user aaa to my WordPress site:

The new user is an administrator of the site. The next step is to delete the original administrator of the site. Hovering over the user that I want to delete brings up the contextual menu below:

Clicking the Delete item brings up the following screen:

If you check the radio button next to Attribute all content to and put your new admin user, with your desired new admin user name, into the drop-down box, you can delete the old administrator and transfer everything to the new administrator.

Update the database manually to change the username (advanced)

This is an advanced technique where you can manually change your username at the database level. If you make a mistake trying to do this, you might end up with an unusable WordPress installation, so please take care.

Using any database viewing tool, for example, PHPMyAdmin or DataGrip, you can navigate to the wp_users table. In this table, there is a column named user_login. If you update this name, then your username will be updated.

To demonstrate this change, I am changing my username of bernie to bernie111.

Once I’ve made this change, I can then log in as username bernie111:

Once I’ve logged in, I can go back to the user’s table to see my new username:

If I click on the new username, you will see the username field has been updated:

As the WordPress database doesn’t rely on foreign key reactions, you don’t need to worry about breaking the database by renaming the username in the table. You would only need to be concerned if you changed the id value for the username you are renaming. Doing this would break the links between the username and any content created by the username.

WordPress Roles

When working with users, it is important to understand the different roles that can be assigned to them. Here is the list of the six WordPress roles:

  1. Super Admin – This is a special role for multi-site operators. The Super Admin has all the same abilities as an Admin but can handle networking activities like creating and deleting sites.
  2. Administrator – This role changes depending on whether or not you are working in a multisite or single-site WordPress dashboard. For a single site dashboard, this role can do typical administrator-type duties like:
    • Modifying users
    • Editing and deleting their posts and other user’s posts
    • Manage plugins (install/delete/update)
    • Manage themes (install/delete/update)
    • Export
    • Import
  3. Editor – The editor role allows a user to make modifications to various areas of the site. Most modifications relate to posts in the same way you would think of an editor of a newspaper or magazine:
    • Edit/Delete pages
    • Edit/Delete posts
    • Create/Edit Reusable Blocks
    • Manage categories
    • Moderate comments
    • Upload files
  4. Author – The author’s role allows a user to create and manage their posts
  5. Contributor – The contributor role is a role that allows the user to write and manage posts but can’t publish their posts.
  6. Subscriber – The only capability that the subscriber role has is to manage their profile.

Conclusion

Each WordPress user has a username that is entered upon user creation. It is not meant to be updated once it is initially created. However, there are plugins and other ways that you can “change” the username of a user. These are by updating the database directly or by creating a new administrator, deleting the old administrator and transferring all of the content to the new administrator.

Each user in WordPress will be given a role. Six roles can be given to any user, and each has a different set of capabilities suited to that role.

Bernie FitzGerald