Username vs User ID: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Identification and Display: A username is a human-readable identifier chosen by the user and displayed publicly on the platform. It can be a pseudonym and may not necessarily be unique across a system. On the other hand, a User ID is a unique identifier generated by the system to represent a specific user account. It may not be human-readable and is kept private or hidden from the user interface.
  2. Changeability: Usernames are changeable and can be updated by the user, depending on the platform’s rules. In contrast, User IDs, once assigned, remain constant throughout the life of the account to ensure consistency in the database and throughout the system’s backend processes.
  3. System Usage: Usernames are used for log-in processes and for displaying user information on the platform, like posts or comments. User IDs, however, are used internally by the system for tracking, managing user data, linking database entries, and ensuring that each user account is distinctly identifiable, even if the username changes.

What is Username?

A username is a unique identifier that an individual chooses to identify themselves when accessing a computer system, online service, or website. It is a combination of letters, numbers, or other characters that serves as a user’s personal identification for logging in or interacting with a specific platform.

Usernames are used to differentiate one user from another within a system or online community. They provide a means for individuals to create a distinct online identity and maintain privacy while interacting with others or accessing personalized services. Usernames are required along with a corresponding password to authenticate and authorize a user’s access to a particular account or system.

What is a User ID?

A User ID, also known as a User Identification Number or UserID, is a unique identifier assigned to an individual within a computer system, network, or online platform. It is used to distinguish one user from another and is associated with a specific account or profile.

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User IDs are used for various purposes, including authentication, authorization, and tracking user activities. They provide a way to identify and differentiate users within a system or application uniquely. User IDs can be generated automatically by the system or chosen by the user during registration.

Difference between Username and User ID

  1. A username is a unique name chosen by a user to identify themselves on a particular system, platform, or website. It is a more recognizable and personalized string of characters, such as “JohnDoe” or “JaneSmith.” On the other hand, a user ID, also known as a user identification number or UID, is a numeric or alphanumeric code assigned by a system or platform to identify a user uniquely.
  2. Usernames are primarily used for identification and interaction purposes. They allow users to create a distinct online identity and are displayed publicly in comment sections or user profiles. Usernames can be memorable, reflect personal preferences, or convey information about the user. User IDs, on the other hand, serve as internal identifiers within a system or platform. They are used behind the scenes for authentication, data management, and referencing specific user accounts.
  3. Usernames need to be unique within a specific context, such as a website or social media platform, to avoid conflicts and ensure individuality. Users select usernames based on availability and personal preference. User IDs, however, are automatically generated by the system and are designed to be globally unique across the entire system or platform. This helps prevent any potential clashes between different users.
  4. Usernames can offer varying levels of privacy depending on the user’s preferences and the platform’s settings. Users may choose to display their real names or use pseudonyms to protect their privacy. User IDs, on the other hand, are not intended to be publicly displayed or shared. They are primarily used internally within the system or platform and are less likely to reveal personal information.
  5. Usernames are portable across different systems or platforms, allowing users to have consistent identities across various online services. Users can use the same username on multiple platforms, provided it is available. User IDs, however, are specific to a particular system or platform and are not transferable. If a user wants to create an account on a different platform, they would need to obtain a new user ID specific to that platform.
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Comparison Between Username and User ID

Parameters of ComparisonUsernameUser ID
FormatTypically alphanumeric or customizableNumeric or alphanumeric (assigned by the system)
DisplayedPublicly displayed for identificationPrimarily used internally by the system
LengthCan vary in length, longer and more expressiveUsually shorter and standardized in length
AuthenticationUsed for login and authentication purposesUsed behind the scenes for data management
ChangeabilityCan be changed by the user, depending on the platformTypically fixed and not intended to be changed
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020025512001946
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002002551930756X

Last Updated : 15 August, 2023

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