Wikipedia:Why create an account?
This is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It is free to read, and free to edit. Go beyond reading, and join the world's community of volunteers.
You don't need to be registered to contribute, but getting an account will allow you to:
- Choose an appropriate user name, which will be reserved just for you on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
- Create your own user page, to collaborate, share information about yourself, or just practice editing and publishing in your own sandbox.
- Communicate with other editors via your own talk page. You can also opt in to exchanging emails with other users.
- Use custom preferences to change the look and behaviour of Wikipedia.
- Start new pages, rename pages, or upload images.
- View a convenient list of all your contributions (edits), and use your watchlist to monitor changes made to pages that interest you.
- Use your unified login to work on Wikimedia's other projects, such as Wiktionary and Wikimedia Commons.
- Edit without revealing your IP address (which can be used to trace your physical location) to the public.
- Edit semi-protected pages. IP address users cannot edit pages of this security level, but autoconfirmed users can (and usually you will be autoconfirmed after just 10 edits and 4 days).
- Use more advanced editing tools.
- Vote for the Picture of the Year and members of the Wikimedia Board.
- Gain permissions.
For a little bit more detail, read on. Or, get started: sign up – contribute to the Wikipedia Project the way that you want to.
is quick and completely free.
Summary of benefits
Username and privacy
If you user name provided it is available and unique. Edits you make while logged in will be assigned to that name, not to your IP address. You will have your own permanent user page where you can write a bit about yourself. While Wikipedia is not a homepage provider, you can use this to display a few free pictures, write about your hobbies, etc. Many users use their user page to maintain a list of the articles they are most proud of, or to collect other valuable information from Wikipedia., you can pick a
You will also have a permanent talk page you can use to communicate with other users. You will be notified whenever someone writes a message on your talk page. If you choose to give an e-mail address, other users will be able to contact you by e-mail. This feature is anonymous; the user who emails you will not know your e-mail address.
You are actually less identifiable logged in than you are as an unregistered editor, owing to the hiding of your IP address (so long as you avoid disclosing identifiable information on your user page). You might want to consider privacy and the possibility of offline harassment, when deciding what to say on your user page.
Reputation, communication, and more successful edits
Having an account gives you a fixed Wikipedia identity that other users will recognize. While we welcome contributions from unregistered editors, logging in under a user name lets you build trust and respect through a history of good edits, and makes it easier for veteran users to assume good faith, communicate and collaborate. Having a good name (or a pseudonym to protect your identity) promotes more responsible editing, and more civil discourse.
Sometimes new or unregistered users are prevented from editing pages that are common targets of vandalism (just as this page is protected, and only users with an account can edit it). Also, bots can mistake even good faith IP address edits for vandalism. For these reasons, edits under a user name tend to be more successful.
Your user name may also receive recognition for good work such as Barnstars, Project Awards, Personal User Awards, or nomination for voted accolades like Editor of the Week. You need a fixed account identity to accumulate these pats on the back; they are not awarded to IP addresses.
As a registered user, you can customize the way pages are displayed by altering your preferences. There, in the Appearance tab, you can change the following display settings:
- Under Skin: various options as to the appearance of the website
- Under Math: how mathematical formulas are displayed
- Under Files: how large image thumbnails should be
And various editing preferences:
- How your username signature appears on talk pages
- How pages should be displayed in recent changes
- and many others
Shared IP addresses such as school and enterprise networks or proxy servers are frequently blocked for vandalism which, unfortunately, may also affect innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be modified to affect only unregistered editors so that they can continue contributing to Wikipedia. If you are currently blocked from creating an account, we suggest you do one of the following:
- Try again after the block on your IP address expires. Go to my contributions and follow the Block log link at the top of that page to find the length of the block. If no block appears go to Special:BlockList and copy the IP address which appears at the top of Special:MyPage into the box next to "IP address for username:".
- Request an account by filling in this form to ask a volunteer to create an account for you. Be sure to read the instructions at Wikipedia:Request an account first and to change your password once you are logged in.
- You may wish to create an account on Meta-Wiki.
See the Blocking policy for details.
To create an account, click on the "Create an account now" link and fill out the required fields. This will be logged, and your account will be created.
- Related Wikipedia information pages
- Why not create an account? - A page that talks about the reasons to edit as an IP.
- Advice for parents - A brief introduction to Wikipedia for parents and legal guardians.
- Contributing to Wikipedia - A page that explains how and where you can help Wikipedia.
- Deleting and merging accounts - A page that explains why it is not possible to delete user accounts and the alternatives available.
- Personal security practices - A page that explains how caution should be used when posting personally identifiable information online.
- Privacy, confidentiality and discretion - A page that explains how your rights to privacy may not extend as far as you believe.
- Request an account - A page that explains how any editor may request an account be created for them.
- Wikipedia is in the real world - A page that explains how activity here on Wikipedia has consequences in the real world.
- Search usernames
- User names - A list of all usernames currently in use on Wikipedia, or those in a specified group.