You have a WordPress website that uses the BuddyPress plugin as your online community solution.
And let’s say you want to change the “Display name publicly as” value for a specific user.
Easy, all you have to do is to login to your WordPress Admin Area, go to Users => Edit on the user you want, and from the “Display name publicly as” drop-down choose the new name you want.
As you can see in the above image, you can select the user’s username, first name, last name, first/last, or last/first, or nickname.
If you want a completely new display name, all you have to do is to add a new “Nickname”, click the “Update User” button and then select the new name from the “Display name publicly as” drop-down, and click “Update User” button again.
Be careful not to get confused by user “nickname” and user “nicename” as they are totally different things.
When you create a user, WordPress stores what it calls a nicename in the WordPress database (found in the user_nicename column in the wp_users table).
This is what WordPress uses to rewrite the URL for your author pages.
WordPress creates the nicename by “sanitizing” the user Username the same way it sanitizes post names for permalinks by removing prepositions and one-letter words in the slug.
This user nicename it is the one that controls the user’s slug and once added to the database it cannot be changed from WordPress Admin Area.
What is the user slug, anyway?
But what exactly is a slug?
And how can we change it for a BuddyPress user in the same way that we change the display name?
In WordPress terminology, a “slug” is the combination of characters at the end of a publicly viewable page in WordPress that various default URLs use.
For example, an author archive page—which contains a list of all the posts by a particular author on your WordPress site—might look like this:
In this case the “author” slug indicates the function of the URL, and the “kellylf” slug indicates which author’s archives to display.
Similarly, a BuddyPress user profile URL looks like this:
Again, the “members” slug in the URL above indicates that you’re looking in the members directory.
And the “kellylf” slug tells you exactly which member’s profile to pull up within that directory.
To reiterate, kellylf is the slug and, as I said above, it can be found in the WordPress database (user_nicename column in wp_users table).
All BuddyPress @ mentions are based on this slug…
And in our case, it looks like this: @kellylf
These @ mentions are linked to the user profile page (https://www.yourwebsite.com/members/kellylf/ in this example).
So, if you want to change the slug of a BuddyPress user, you also need to change ALL @ mentions throughout the whole WordPress database.
This is absolutely necessary because the links to all @ mentions need to correspond to the user’s new slug.
Otherwise, the links for all of that user’s past @ mentions will link to a user that no longer exists.
Unfortunately, WordPress does not offer you the option to change all of these links.
And that’s why I’ve developed the WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug plugin. 😀
How does the WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug plugin work?
Here’s a short video explanation that shows how to install and use this plugin.
And below is a text version if you prefer:
How to install and use this plugin
1 – Install the plugin by uploading the mf-change-bp-user-display-slug.zip file in WordPress => Plugins => Add New.
2 – Activate the plugin.
3 – In the WordPress => Users tab you’ll now see a new option that says “WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug”:
Click on this link.
4 – You’ll now see the following screen:
In the first field you’ll need to add the “Username” of the member for whom you’re making this update.
This value is unique (no 2 people on your WordPress site can have the same username).
It acts as an ID of sorts for the user to whom you apply the changes and the new “Display Name”.
When you click “Submit”, the plugin will perform the following actions:
- Replace the user’s previous “Display Name” with the new “Display Name”
- Change the user’s slug to the new “Display Name” (but in all lowercase letters)
- Replace all @ mentions and “Display Name” instances throughout the whole database
To make this crystal clear let’s go through an example…
A – Let’s say that current user’s “Display Name” is “Kellylf” and the current slug is “kellylf”.
B – You want the new Display name to be “NewKelly”.
C – The plugin will do this:
- All instances of “Kellylf” throughout the whole WP database will become “NewKelly”
- All instances of “@kellylf” throughout the whole WP database will become “@newkelly”
- All links to the user profile, which previously were “https://www.yourwebsite.com/members/kellylf/”, will now become “https://www.yourwebsite.com/members/newkelly/”
Shortly, the user’s profile will look like it always has but with the new display name and slug.
Here’s an annotated image from a real BuddyPress community that one of our customers runs:
Why did we develop WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug?
One of our customers has a WordPress website with a pretty big BuddyPress community.
He needed a tool that allows him to change the Display Name and slug for certain users from time to time.
So we went ahead and developed this plugin which made him and his team pretty happy.
And now you get to use it too! 🙂
Will you provide support for this plugin?
Please note that we provide support for this plugin exclusively in the comments section of this post.
So if you have any questions or issues please come back to this post and leave a comment describing them (you can also upload screenshots in the comments).
We will provide email support at [email protected] but using comments instead, everybody benefits from the conversation and explanations, including existing and potential customers. 🙂
It also fosters transparency which improves the direction of development by involving our entire community.
To be honest, there’s not much to support.
The plugin does exactly what it says on this page; nothing less, nothing more.
If you look at the plugin code (even if you don’t know code) you’ll see that it’s a powerful but ultimately simple utility.
A bit of technical info on this plugin
Shortly, this plugin will do the following:
1. Update nicename/slug and display name for WordPress user
2. Update user’s BuddyPress display name
3. Update user’s existing mentions in BuddyPress discussions and BuddyPress activity
The WordPress database tables where the above user details are replaced are:
How can I download the WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug plugin?
We offer this plugin for sale for $15. If you’d like to purchase it please complete the checkout below.
You’ll gain access after checkout.
Then go to your WordPress installation => Plugins => Add new => Upload and upload the zip file.
Activate the plugin.
Then you’ll find a new link in your Users submenu called WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug.
The rest should be fairly intuitive.
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Name: WP Change BuddyPress User Display Name and Slug
Description: This plugin will change the BuddyPress display name and slug for a user. It will replace ALL old @ mentions throughout the website with the new slug as well as future ones. The plugin will replace ALL old links to user profile with the new link containing the new slug. And the plugin will replace the old display name with the new display name throughout the website.
Application Category: WordPress Plugin