Username vs. Email Address

Stay Updated March 4, 2022
image of an illustrated "sign-up" screen. the fields "username" and "email" are circled in red.


Username vs. Email Address

What’s the difference between my Username and Email address?

Many times, when you create a new account online, you are asked for three things: email, username, and password. The username and password you will need to create with each new account. Hopefully, by now, you know that creating a unique password is critical for your online security. *whisper* If you don’t, that’s okay, we have resources for you to learn how to write a better password.

But it’s also important to use unique usernames. Your username is an online calling card to your true identity and, in turn, your personally identifiable information.

Here are some basic things to know about usernames

  • Some sites use username and email address interchangeably for log-in purposes. 
  • Some sites require a username creation for interacting with other site users or leaving comments.
  • Some sites require you to create a username, separate from your email, that is not used to talk with other users. These are often sensitive accounts, such as banking or insurance.
  • Your username and email address could be the same or different depending on the site and how much information you want to share.

The first step to level-up your usernames is to remember that when creating a new account consider using a different username than just the first part of your email address.

What you DON’T want in a username

It’s easy to accidentally include personal information in your username. We’re all striving to create something that’s useful AND that we’ll remember.

  • Don’t use your full name
  • Don’t use parts of your address or phone number
  • Don’t use your email username
  • Don’t use parts of your birthdate
  • Don’t use the same username and password combination, especially on bank and credit card accounts
  • Don’t choose an unusual or really odd username and use it across platforms, this makes you easy to track even if you’re trying to be sneaky
  • Don’t choose a username that hints at your password
    • Username Knock.Knock
    • Password: Whosthere411$

What you DO want in a good username

Choose a username that is applicable for the type of account

  • Business: JSmith_stitches 
    • (John Smith does custom cross stitch of Lord of the Rings quotes and sells them on Etsy)
  • Social: JSmithRocks 
    • (John Smith collects rocks on the weekend)
  • Personal: JSmithLOTR926 
    • (John Smith loves LOTR and listens to Abbey Road, often!)

With internet security and online life shifting and changing with every hack and breach, the best way to protect yourself is to stay vigilant and keep learning. By writing better usernames and passwords *wink*. You can take ownership of your online security.