In the computer environment, the user name enables logging into a protected area of a computer, a service, a website, or a program. As a rule, the user name is used in combination with a password to authenticate oneself against the protected area.
Alternative terms for username are username, user name, user ID, user ID, or login name. It is a unique name that is used to access protected areas. As a rule, the username is used in combination with a password. Based on this combination, the service can authenticate the user and grant him certain access or usage rights. This is done via a so-called user account.
What is a username?
Many websites, operating systems, or services such as e-mail require a user name for use. The required format of the user name can differ from service to service. Usernames include e-mail addresses, last names, digits, combinations of names and digits, or fantasy names and any string of characters. Before using a user name for the first time, registration with the service is required. It ensures that the selected combination of user name and password is stored with the provider. The process of registering with a username and password is also called logging in.
Assignment of information and rights via the user name
The provider uses the user name to recognize the user and to store user information and usage rights. The user account or user account is used for this purpose. Typical information stored in the user account includes full first and last names, postal addresses, or e-mail addresses. In the area of online shopping, a user can store information in his user accounts such as orders already placed, payment information, or delivery preferences.
The user name and user account of an operating system such as Windows or Linux are used to storing rights to use the computer and to access data. For example, accounts can be set up with administrator rights that have full access rights to the system.
People may have different user names for the same services. Depending on the user name used, they have different identities vis-à-vis the system and are assigned different information or privileges.
It is also possible that several people log on to a service or a system with the same user name. In this case, no differentiation of the information and rights of the persons is possible. In forums and social networks, it is common to assign a picture or avatar to the user. The avatar is the pictorial embodiment of the user and his username in cyberspace.
The different types of usernames
Depending on the protected area, services, operating systems, websites or programs require usernames in different formats and lengths. Often, the user’s e-mail address is used as the username. The usernames can have an actual reference to the person or allow anonymous use without a reference. Possible usernames, in addition to the e-mail address, are:
- Last names
- Combinations of last names and first names
- Combinations of names and numbers
- Fantasy names
- Arbitrary strings
In some cases, the providers specify the user name. The user is assigned a username and only has the option to freely choose the password.