Forums » SEPHP Help and Tips

Change Display Name

    • 3742 posts
    July 23, 2018 12:25 PM EDT
    ITLJames said:

    LOL clear as mud for me too - Makes sense but I need to figure out how to make it work for my needs and not add a redundancy for our members.

    did the best I could to explain it with screenshots, etc. not sure how else to explain it atm.

    • 358 posts
    July 23, 2018 12:49 PM EDT

    no I mean how I have setup my signup process and how I can improve it. I just need to better understand Username and Display Name in the sequence

    • 3742 posts
    July 23, 2018 1:10 PM EDT

    Ok. Maybe this will help some for you and others as this is how I always figure it out in any script. Bear in mind that I've got a virus (bad cold icky thing) thanks to hubby.

    username = this is the name that can be used to log in to a site in many scripts. It is the private user account and normally hidden from general display (view).

    displayname = this is the public name that a user goes by on the site. It is what they want people to see and refer to them as. It can make things more secure than showing the username all over the site since that's used to log in for many scripts.

    In SE:

    username - If you allow the user to set their vanity url (profile address), this is their username they are setting. It only shows in the URL and in your database. When they want to edit that, they go to their Account settings as it's sorta an account thing.

    Displayname - this would be the First name/Last name fields here as many would want to show that. It's edited in your profile settings as it's the name you show the world. 

    On this site, I changed First Name to Displayname and removed Last name as it's irrelevant here. So for my own profile, my username is shown in the URL and my Displayname is shown as Donna. As we don't use the username to log in here, it's safe for me to go over this. If we had, I would not be going over it like that lol.

    It's actually more secure to use emails as the login and not use the username anyway. :)

    • 358 posts
    July 23, 2018 1:35 PM EDT

    OK that makes sense.

    I can see I will need a plugin developed that will take the Username and then duplicates it as Display Name... and then allows editing of them both in one place. 

    For me personally when in the signup process first page asking for a Username and then again asking for a Display Name on page 2 feels a bit confusing/redundant. 


    • 120 posts
    July 26, 2018 9:53 AM EDT

    I don't know if you mean this:

    ** Make sure to always make a backup of your current site before doing any mods.** 

    In order to change SocialEngine 4 from showing the first and last names by default, do the follow:

    1. Log into your admin panel and step into a “Profile Questions” page under the “Settings” tab.

    2. Delete the “First Name” and “Last Name” profile questions.

    3. Re-create both Fields, ensuring the Profile type is set to Single-line Text Input (NOT “First Name” and “Last Name”). If you don’t want these field to be visible on the user’s profile, be sure to select “Hide on Member Profiles”.

    4. If you already have existing users, you will need to run the following queries in your MySQL database to clear their display name:

    UPDATE engine4_users SET displayname = username;

    ** Make sure to always make a backup of your current site before doing any mods.**


    1. You have to check "Enable Profile Address?: Yes" in Member Signup Process

    2. in


    ** If you don't allow user to enter their profile name you will get a site full of numbers.

    This post was edited by Maurits at July 26, 2018 10:38 AM EDT
    • 358 posts
    July 26, 2018 10:23 AM EDT


    • 120 posts
    July 26, 2018 10:38 AM EDT

    Just added to the post:


    You have to check "Enable Profile Address?: Yes" in Member Signup Process



    If you don't allow user to enter their profile name you will get a site full of numbers instead of usernames.

    This post was edited by Maurits at July 26, 2018 10:39 AM EDT
    • 358 posts
    July 26, 2018 11:52 AM EDT

    I am going to test this out for my needs on my dev site

    • 120 posts
    July 26, 2018 12:13 PM EDT

    ** Make sure you make a backup first and test the backup
    I have not found a way to reverse this process once you started it.


    You can even set it so the user can change the profile name Yes/No

    To edit this:

    1. goto 'Member Level Settings'  (

    2. Change this to your liking: "Allow username changes?" either Yes/No for each member level.

    - 2a. if Yes, users can change their profile name(display name)

    - 2b. if No profile name(display name) can not be changed by the user.

    This sounds confusing usernamesurprised, but they are the same on this page; username=profile-name (both are Display Name after the edit in the database).

    This post was edited by Maurits at July 26, 2018 12:15 PM EDT
    • 79 posts
    September 3, 2019 6:01 PM EDT

    I know this post is over a year old, but I'm struggling with this as well. I have done the following:

    1. First Name and Last Name on sign up are text fields so they are not going to show up as the display name. (Recovery community where anonymity is critical)

    2. Members create a User name when they sign up. 

    3. The User name they create is unique, and is showing up as their name in the forums and on the site. It is also their display name in the Admin panel.

    4. After signup, when a member wants to change their name (the one showing up in the community) they can't, even though I have it set that they are allowed to change their user name.

    5. Admins can change member's user names, but this does not change the name that shows up in the community.

    I have read this thread 3 times and maybe I'm missing something, but IDK what to do when someone wants to change their "public" that the "display" name?



    • 3742 posts
    September 3, 2019 6:45 PM EDT

    It depends on what you named it. See my post above as it explains each thing. The best thing to do is test since I think you have customizations on your site. For this site, I changed things as shown in my post above.

    • 3742 posts
    September 4, 2019 6:10 AM EDT

    Are you using a third party product for that area? Or for advanced members? 

    • 79 posts
    September 12, 2019 6:11 AM EDT

    I turned off our Letter Avatar plugin, double checked all the settings and have had no luck. I created a screen capture video to show SNS what is going on so I thought I'd put them here as well in case it helps anyone else. 

    When I go to the settings here on this site and on the demo site, it looks completely different than on our site, is that because we are using PHP instead of cloud?

    Here's the link to the screen capture video

    This post was edited by nancers at September 12, 2019 6:57 AM EDT
    • 3742 posts
    September 12, 2019 6:36 AM EDT

    We aren't using cloud here or the demo. We are using SEPHP latest version.

    • 3742 posts
    September 12, 2019 6:40 AM EDT

    I removed your videos as your site is a recovery site and it showed user stuff from what I thought. Feel free to add it back if it doesn't but it looked like it showed user details. Your stuff is different. Do you have customizations? Do you have a dev site to test on without any changes? (per the license terms, the dev site needs to be set up per the terms lol)

    • 79 posts
    September 12, 2019 6:53 AM EDT

    It must be the customizations that SES/SNS did. We all know I'm not savvy enough to change the code myself. I have a ticket in with them.

    I put back the video that is only showing my test account information. :) 

    This post was edited by nancers at September 12, 2019 6:55 AM EDT
    • 3742 posts
    September 12, 2019 7:03 AM EDT

    Ok let us know if that doesn't solve it. BTW, double check the videos as there's a user list showing in one. Wasn't sure if those were all test users. If so, it's fine to keep it on here lol.