How to change your blog username


© SomeDriftwood, Change? via Flickr

I just want to warn you, this is a VERY SCARY thing to do!

Even my pulse is racing, and I've done it many times.

I've just changed my username to log into my Fairy Blog Mother blog. Why? Because some pesky spammers had worked out what it was, and were trying to log into my blog to do all sorts of mischief in there. Which, of course, isn't a good idea.

How did I know? Well, I had installed a very useful plugin called Limit Login Attempts:

Limit Login Attempts plugin

But I see it is dreadfully out of date and hasn't been updated for 3 years! It still works OK for me, but really I should change it to:

Brute Force Login Protection

Which a lot of people have been recommending lately.

It works by allowing a certain number of login attempts before the spammer is blocked from entering for a specified amount of time. I like to make this last about a day, as that stops them coming back a bit later for another go.

Also, whenever anyone is blocked, I am emailed a notification telling me which username they attempted, and the IP address of the spammer.

Email notification of a login attempt

And when they started to use my old username, rather than just 'admin' (which, by the way, if you are still using 'admin' as your login username, you really need to change it IMMEDIATELY), I realised it was time to use something else.

Where can I find my username?

If you created your WordPress.org blog yourself, your hosting account should have given the option to choose your username other than the default 'admin' (this is usually hidden away under "Advanced Options" if it's not immediately noticeable).

Your username should be not instantly guessable by spammers. Therefore using your name is not a good idea (yes, you've guessed it, my old username was my name!). Once a spammer has sussed this is correct, they will return many times to try and guess your password.

And, of course, your password needs to be 'strong', and WordPress helps you with this, as I will show you later.

Now, to find your username in your blog, go to the Dashboard and look for 'Users' in the left sidebar:

Users in Dashboard sidebar

Click on 'All Users' to see this page:

My old usernames

Now I've pixelled out the stuff I don't want you to see, because – at the end of the day – this is the security of my blog!

But you can see clearly my old username was indeed 'Alice'.

How do I start changing my username?

If you are the Administrator, you have the power to create a new user. And that new user will be you, but with your new username.

We have to be a bit sneaky here, so before you attempt this, make sure you have access to another email address you can temporarily use.

In the screen shot above, you will notice a button saying 'Add New' next to the header 'Users'. Click on it.

Users Add New button

And you will see this page, which you will need to fill in with your details of your new username:

Creating a new user for your blog

You will see you have to create a new password. WordPress is a real stickler about strong passwords, so you may have to try several times before you type in one they are satisfied with. Don't forget to make a note of it, as you will need it later!

And before you click on the 'Add New User' button, make sure the Role is set to 'Administrator'. This is very important.

Once complete, you should be directed to this page:

New user inserted

Out with the old, in with the new!

Excellent! Now we need to log out of the old you. Go to the top right corner of the black (or in my case purple) bar at the top of your blog.

You will see WordPress has asked 'How are you, [name]?' with your little gravatar (portrait) after it, if you've got one.

If you mouse over this, a drop down menu will, of course, drop down:

Logging out of the old you

Click on the 'Log Out' link and you will be directed to the login menu of your blog again:

Logging in as the new you

And you need to log in as the NEW YOU using your new username. This is why it's a good idea to have made a note of your new password!

Right, now you should be in your blog as the new you. You can check this by looking what shows up in the top right corner of your blog. If you have lost your gravatar, you are in as the new you. (Don't worry, I will show you how to get it back!)

Go back to 'Users' > 'All Users' again in the Dashboard left sidebar to check out your users:

Deleting the old you

And if you mouse over your old username, two options will appear, of which one will be 'Delete'.

Now, if you are of a nervous disposition, count to 10 before you continue. You need to be calm.

You are going to delete the old you, but you will not lose all those wonderful posts you've written over the years. WordPress would never allow that to happen.

Remember you are logged in as the new you. When you delete the old you, WordPress will ask you which user you want those posts go to. So everything will still be safe.

Take the plunge (with a big breath) and click 'Delete'. Go on, do it!

Moving posts to another user

Before anything is deleted, there has to be a safeguard. It's very rare for there not to be a prompt to make sure this is OK.

In this menu, select the second option which means all your posts are now given over to the new user. You need to select the new you from the drop down menu.

Then, once you are ready and have drunk a stiff Gin & Tonic, click the 'Confirm Deletion' button.

The old user has gone!

Hooray, the wicked witch has gone!

And all the post are now allocated to a new user, which is the new you.

But you need to get your gravatar back, and to be seen as the original user all along. This is how you do it.

Look in the left sidebar under 'Users' and click on 'Your Profile':

Users Your Profile in dashboard sidebar

And you will be directed to the page where you fill in all the details about your new profile.

Now a bit of frivolity, since I do like my colours. You can choose what colour you want your sidebars to be here:

Admin Colour Scheme

And, of course, mine are purple.

Then you systematically fill in all the fields that are relevant to you.

Fill in your name details

This is what your nickname looks like:

Nickname location

And your author name will be shown in either your by-line:

Showing author in byline

Or in this blog's case, you can find it at the bottom of my post:

Author shown at the bottom of my post

Next, fill in the details that allow your readers to contact you:

Fill in your contact details

Here's some of them (the list is long). Because I allow cookies to work on my computer, luckily all the details from my old user profile were retained, so all I had to do was to type in the first letter of my details (usually an 'h') and everything popped up! Yay!

My gravatar is connected to my email address, so you need to use the same one as when you created your gravatar account.

My Google+ details are a load of numbers, because this was to activate my Google Authorship in the past, and there is a little bit of code added which you cannot see. I will write a How To post about this later.

The Biographical Information is important if you have installed the Fancier Author Box plugin, as this is where they get the main contents for it:

Bio box contents

And this is what it looks like:

FBM bio box

Next you have the option to change your password:

Change passwords

As you can see, WordPress doesn't think much of my new password. But as far as I'm concerned, if the spammers can work out both my new username and password, they deserve a medal!

Now, if you've installed the Fancier Author Box plugin, you will see this extra section to fill in your details to accompany the bio box. If you haven't you don't need to bother with this.

Fancier Author Box User Details

Once everything you think is important has been updated, don't forget to click the 'Update Profile' button:

Update Profile button

or all your hard work will be lost. You can check your profile has been updated at the top of the page:

Profile updated

And then you can pop over to 'Users' > 'All Users' in the left sidebar to see if everything is back to normal again:

Users in Dashboard sidebar

And you will see your gravatar has returned next to your new username:

New Username safely installed

Yay! Job done!

How have a go yourself. You'll be OK if you follow my instructions correctly. And let me know how you get on, or what you think of this mini tutorial, in the comment box below.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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