Why do websites use “email” and “username” interchangeably as log-in credentials?


Why do websites use “email” and “username” interchangeably as log-in credentials?

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Why not? An email is just as good as a username, most sites won’t let you sign up for more than one account per email address anyway so it’s pretty much guaranteed to be unique like a user name and your email address is going to be way easier for you to remember than some username that you set up for the specific site you’re trying to access.

Theoretically it’s a world wide unique value, unlike a local to the system username (where you might have a “Tom” username in every other system in the world). You are the only one with your e-mail address. So the user can use the same identifier that they use everywhere else. While “Tom” might be taken in half of the systems you use.

Passwords are pretty much defunct, we have entered the world of tokens. A simple website will allow a username and password as a quasi token, with a recovery email one time code as a backup. More security conscious websites won’t allow just a password and will need a “safe” IP address or machine signature or one time code each time.

If you have just a username and password with no recovery options you have to accept you’ll lose your password and this access eventually.

A username is just something that uniquely identifies a user. It could be a random sequence of numbers, a first initial and last name, or a user-selected name. In some cases, the “username” might actually be a phone number or street address. The one thing that matters is that it is unique.

As long as it is unique and the system can properly associate the user to the username/account, that is all that matters.

Email addresses are unique, and it allows [“[email protected]](mailto:”[email protected])” to be different from “[email protected]”. It also means that there is a built-in recovery email address. So using an email address makes perfect sense.

As a matter of fact, you usually use your email address as your username when logging into your email!

Note that many sites do have usernames that are not email addresses including Reddit. And, there are sites that allow you to have a username that is different than your email, but you can use either to log in.