Create a new account
Log into an existing account
This video tutorial describes the steps in creating a user account on the English Wikipedia

It is not necessary to log in to Wikipedia before viewing or editing pages. It does provide additional features, and is generally recommended. If you do not wish to have your IP address known, then you should log in or create an account. It is quick and simple to create a personal user account.

Logging in

Creating a user account means that you supply a username (your real name or a nickname) and a password. The system will reject a username that is already in use. A user account is created only once. You are then "logged in". The next time you log in, you supply your username again and demonstrate with the password that you are the same person. (Do not share your password with other people; this can allow them to misuse your account, which could lead to it being blocked.)

Edits that you make are recorded under your username. If you are not logged in your edits are labelled in page history with your IP address.

User accounts created since May 2008 will be "unified" (that is, accessible from all Wikimedia projects). An older, non-unified account can be unified at Special:MergeAccount; unified users can use that page to check the status of their unified account. Preferences are currently set independently on each wiki. See m:Single login.

Why log in?

Main page: Wikipedia:Why create an account?

You don't have to log in to read Wikipedia. You don't even have to log in to edit most of Wikipedia (there are some exceptions).

However, it's still a good idea to log in, for these reasons:

Creating an account

To create an account, click on the Create account link at the top right of the page. You will need to provide a username and password, as well as answer a visual "captcha" test. Users with text, speech, or legacy browsers will be unable to create an account if they cannot view this captcha image. If you are unable to view captchas, you can request for an account to be created for you at Wikipedia:Request an account.

You may also be unable to create an account if it contains certain symbols (particularly the '@' symbol, as well as certain non-Latin characters) or words, or if it is too similar to that of an existing user. In that case, you will also have to request an account. If your IP address has account creation blocked, you can either request to be unblocked or request an account.

How to log in

"WP:COOKIES" redirects here. For the essay on notability, see Wikipedia:Run-of-the-mill. For WikiLove templates, see Wikipedia:WikiLove.

First, make sure that your browser accepts cookies. Some browsers can accept or reject cookies from individual sites; users of these should configure the browser to accept cookies from each wiki you plan to edit, such as wikipedia.org.

Click on the Log in link at the top-right corner of the page. You will be asked to enter your username and your password in the following screen. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one first. Once finished, click on the Log in button to finish logging in.

If you click on Keep me logged in (for up to one year), you will not have to give your password again when you access Wikipedia from the same computer. This feature will only work if your password was not automatically generated by the software.

Logging in and setting preferences were previously done separately on each wiki. Since May 2008 it has been possible to use the same username, password and email address across all Wikimedia wikis, without needing to register an account on each wiki. For more details, see m:Help:Unified login.

Login issues and problems

If you find yourself unable to log in, you may have one of the problems addressed in the following paragraphs. If none of them seem to apply, ask for help at the help desk.

The login link is obscured
If you cannot click on the login link, for instance because it is obscured by other text, use this direct link to the login page. It may be helpful to add the page to your browser's bookmarks/favourites. (This problem may occur on certain browsers when using a large minimum font size.)
My username and password are refused
Both usernames and passwords are case-sensitive on Wikipedia. Did you remember to type in the right capitalization? For example, if you registered under MyUserName, you will not be able to log in as Myusername (notice the subtle difference in spelling). The same goes for your password. The only exception is the first character of the username, which is capital by default.
I get logged out just after logging in
There are a few possible causes of this problem:
  • If you appear to have logged in, but as soon as you try to look at a page after 'Log in successful', you appear logged out again, it is very likely to be a cookie problem. See this brief tutorial on how to enable cookies for your browser.
  • Make sure your computer's date and time are set correctly; if they are not, cookies may expire before they are supposed to. Note that some firewall and ad-blocking software may interfere with the cookie that Wikipedia uses to keep a person logged in.
  • Some ISPs use transparent proxies which cause problems logging in. This happens most often with some satellite ISPs (particularly HughesNet/DirecWay/DirecPC).
  • Occasionally, a user may find themself "automatically" logged out between beginning an edit and saving it, or when switching between multiple wiki pages open in multiple windows or tabs. This can be a result of your browser's cookie, cache, or firewall settings, but sometimes, especially during heavy server load, the system can "glitch" and your login information will be lost, resulting in a logout.
Other causes
If you are absolutely sure that the login information you have entered is correct, then someone else may have compromised your account. In this case, your account may not be recoverable unless you can prove that the account is yours. In rare cases, your account may have been renamed or usurped, especially if it has few or no edits. You can see if your account has been renamed by viewing the user rename log and search for your username in the "Title" field.
I get a message that my IP address has been autoblocked
Follow the instructions listed on screen on how to request an unblock or send an email to the unblock-en-i mailing list.

What if I forget my username?

If you have forgotten your username, these steps may help you recover it:

If none of these steps are successful you will have to start again with a new account. Wikipedia administrators will not be able to help you work out your username from your email address or your IP address.

What if I forget my password?

Main page: Help:Reset password

If you have forgotten your password, these steps may help you recover it:

Otherwise you will have to create a new account under a different username. After doing this, it is advisable to explain the situation on the user page of the new account, to avoid sockpuppetry concerns.

How to set preferences

Click on the My preferences link at the top right of the page for various options, including:

See Help:Preferences.

Your user page and user talk page

As a logged in user, you will be able to create your own user page and user talk page. When you are logged in, you will see your username displayed at the top right of the page. Click on this to get to your user page, which you can edit in the same way as any other wiki page.

Most users write a little bit about themselves and their interests on their user page.

You also have a User talk page. You can access this by clicking on the Talk link next to your username at the top right of the page. Other people may write messages in your user talk page by editing it, and you can respond. See Help:Talk page for more.

Logging out

You can log out any time by clicking on the Log out link at the top right of the page. And after it, you will be using an IP to read Wikipedia. To prevent the browser from remembering your username and suggesting it to the next user of the computer, remember to delete the Wikipedia cookies in your browser's privacy settings. Especially if you are using a public computer, you may want to delete all of the browser's recent history (Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Del in Firefox).

In the mobile version, click the menu icon at the top left and then the logout button to the right of your username.

Editing while logged out

See also: Wikipedia:Sockpuppetry § Editing while logged out, and Wikipedia:Signs of sockpuppetry § IP sockpuppetry

Occasionally an established editor will edit while logged out. While not usually an egregious issue, there can be some concerns about attribution and privacy.

In Firefox (with the Greasemonkey add-on) or in Chrome, you can install a simple script that prevents editing while logged out on all Wikimedia Foundation sites. Once the script is installed and you click on Edit while logged out, it pops up a notice that you are not logged in and does not proceed. Note that it does not yet prevent editing by clicking on red links or by direct links to edit pages.

Keeping your account secure

See also: Wikipedia:Security

Users, especially administrators, should keep their accounts secure. If someone accesses your account and causes malicious damage, your reputation could be in trouble! Below are some tips on keeping your account secure:

  1. Never give your Wikipedia password to anyone, not even users claiming to be sysop and staff!
  2. Only enter your password on a Wikimedia site. Beware of fake sites. The domain name should end with wikipedia.org or wikimedia.org.
  3. Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  4. Your password should be easy to remember, but hard to guess.
  5. If you decide to log on using a public computer, remember to log out when done.
  6. Be careful when running user scripts. Some scripts can be programmed to steal cookies and thus compromise accounts.
  7. Consider committing to your identity by adding a cryptographic hash to your user page to prove that you are really the person behind your username.

See also