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Change Default “Display Name Publicly As” for WordPress Users

Change WordPress User Display Name Publicly As banner
Version: 1.5
Last Updated: 02/13/2024
By: Memberfx

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As long as you have an active licence we will continue to support you with this

WordPress Usernames Cannot Be Changed

But WordPress display names can be!

And usually that will solve your main problem, which is how a user’s name appears on your site.

If you want to update the “Display Name Publicly As” setting for one of your WordPress users, go to WordPress => Users => Edit the user => and update the display name to your desired format (as pictured in the screenshot below):

display name publicly as - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

However, sometimes you need to change the public display name for ALL of your WordPress users, or, for all users in a certain WordPress user role.

You may even want to to apply the changes to all existing users so that their public display name is preset to a certain format by default.

In this case you’ll need to use a WordPress plugin that I had developed for this exact purpose, called WP Display Name Publicly As (clever plugin title, I know!)

==> Click HERE to get the plugin.

How does the WP Display Name Publicly As plugin work?

Here’s a short video explanation that shows how to install and use this plugin, and below it is a text version if you prefer:

Text Explanation

1 – Install the plugin by uploading the .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 “Publicity Names”:

publicity names - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

Click on this link.

4 – You’ll now see the following screen:

change default public display name wordpress users - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

The column indicated by figure (A) in the screenshot above contains a list of ALL of your WordPress user roles that you have created.

The column indicated by figure (B) contains a dropdown of the available public display name options:

public display name options - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

And the column indicated by Figure (C) contains checkboxes that allow you to apply the public display name settings to ALL current users for that role (or not).

5 – Once you make your selections, scroll down and click the Save button.

Et voilá! Your updates have now been applied, and that’s all there is to it.

Custom Display Name Form

1 – In the WordPress => Users tab you’ll now see a new option that says “Publicity Names”:

publicity names - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

2 – Enable the custom form setting by ticking the box:

69d7bbcd 8969 4267 9e67 ec45f56f1edb - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

3 – Edit the page where you need the form to be located and add the following shortcode

4 – View the page where you added the shortcode. You should see something like this:

9da6f57f 7604 47b0 84a0 0c46cd376d9c - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

Add New Display Name Combinations

Why did we develop WP Display Name Publicly As?

Three of our MemberFix customers, at different times, needed to be able to edit the default public display names in WordPress to play nice with their forum software.

e.g. Simple:Press, Xenforo, and IPBoard, respectively…

Many forum applications, and other apps (like WooCommerce), pull the display name directly from the WordPress user database.

(Which is why developed a sister plugin that lets you change BuddyPress usernames and slugs).

If the public display name is set to something like your email address, or your nickname, that’s not going to look very good in a forum, where people generally want to address each other by their first names.

Or alternatively, you may wish to completely anonymize your community / forum by setting the public display name to the nickname or email address, as was the case for my Xenforo customer, who runs a membership site of a more sensitive nature.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find any cheap solutions through my usual method of Googling for hours, scouring StackOverflow, and trying to piece together a solution (this is exacerbated by the fact that I’m NOT a developer, nor do I play one on TV!)

So we just developed this little beauty ourselves instead! 🙂

Will you provide support for this plugin?


Please feel free to leave your questions 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 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.


What are some use cases for WP Display Name Publicly As?

Use Case #1 – Changing default display names in SimplePress

I set up the Simple:Press forum for one of my MemberFix customers. Simple:Press is a WordPress-based forum software so it pulls user data directly from the WP User database.

However, the customer didn’t like the default display names for certain roles, so I installed this plugin to configure the display name to her preferences.

Use Case #2 – Invision Power Forum display names

Invision Power board – aka IPBoard – is one of the coolest forum apps I’ve worked with. It isn’t WordPress based but it does pull it’s user data and roles from WordPress through a Single Sign On bridge plugin.

In the case of the customer I set this up for, she wanted all of her members’ public display names to be their first names only. So I installed this plugin, made the updates, and boom! Now her entire forum is on a first-name basis. 🙂

Use Case #3 – WooCommerce My Account Page

The WooCommerce My Account page pulls its data from WordPress. So if you want to greet visitors to their My Account page using their first name, for example, you can set their default public display name to be First Name.

You can do this for SOME user roles only – like subscribers or customers – or ALL user roles. This can also be useful if you’re using WooCommerce Subscriptions to manage memberships.

Use Case #4 – Anonymize your forum / community

If your site deals with a sensitive subject matter and you’d prefer to keep your members anonymous, the WP Display Name Publicly As plugin can do that for you.

Just select your role, and update the public display name to be either nickname, email or username. If these aren’t anonymous enough, advise your users to update their Nicknames inside of WordPress, and then set the public display name to Nickname.

display name publicly as nickname - Change Default "Display Name Publicly As" for WordPress Users

Use Case #5 – Changing default display names for new MemberPress users

By default, MemberPress sets the “display name publicly as” value for new members to their email address.

But if you run any kind of community on your MemberPress based membership site, this isn’t really ideal.

So using our plugin you can change this default setting to something more user friendly.

*Thanks to MLB in the comments below for bringing the original MemberPress conflict to our attention so we could fix it and make our plugin compatible with it!

How can I download the WP Display Public Name As plugin?

We offer this plugin for sale for $47. If you’d like to purchase it please complete the checkout below.

You’ll gain access after checkout.

Change Default “Download the Change Display Name Publicly As” for WordPress Users Plugin For Free

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 Publicity Names.

The rest should be fairly intuitive.


Feature Requests and Support

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