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):
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 free WordPress plugin that I had developed for this exact purpose, called WP Display Name Publicly As (clever plugin title, I know!)
The plugin is totally free to download and use on as many sites as you want.
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:
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”:
Click on this link.
4 – You’ll now see the following screen:
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:
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.
This plugin is totally free to use, distribute, and modify.
If you find the plugin useful and feel like tipping me with some sweet, sweet cryptocurrency, you’re welcome to do so. 🙂
(By the way, if you’re still not entirely sure what cryptocurrency is, check out my article all about it.)
Why did I develop WP Display Name Publicly As?
Three of my 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 (Simple:Press, Xenforo, and IPBoard, respectively).
Many forum applications, and other apps (like WooCommerce), pull the display name directly from the WordPress user database. 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 I couldn’t find any free or 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 I just had this little beauty developed for me by some Ukrainians instead. 🙂
How much does this plugin cost?
This plugin is totally free to use, modify, and distribute as you see fit. It’s presented “as is” and I don’t provide any support for it.
As of this writing it works as intended but if that should change please let me know and I’ll look into having it updated.
How much did it cost to have WP Display Public Name As developed?
About $150 for initial development, and another $100 for fixes / updates.
Will you provide support for this plugin?
I’ll try to help but I don’t provide “support” (it’s a free plugin for fuck’s sake!)
And 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 very simple utility.
If you run into an issue, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll come around and do my best to help. 🙂
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.
How can I download the WP Display Public Name As plugin?
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.