It is not necessary to log in before viewing or editing pages. It does provide additional features, and is generally recommended.
Creating a user account means that you supply a username (your real name or a nickname) and a password. The system will reject a username that is already in use. A user account is created only once. You are then "logged in". Next time you log in you supply your username again and demonstrate with the password that you are the same person.
Edits you make are recorded under your username. If you are not logged in your edits are recorded under your IP address.
Some MediaWiki projects form a family in the sense that one logs in into the family as a whole, and that common preference settings apply. Notably this is the case for the more than 1000 Wikia projects. On Wikimedia projects logging in and setting preferences are currently done separately on each wiki. However, see m:Single login.
You can see your IP address, if you are not logged in, by going to the page history.
Why log in?
However, it's still a good idea to log in, for these reasons:
- Other users will be able to recognise you by your username when you make changes to pages. As a "name" an IP address is somewhat clumsy. Also, if you use computers at different locations (home, office, internet cafe, etc.) you have a different IP-address in each case; even in the same location, depending on the Internet connection, the IP-address may be different each time. Therefore a username is better to maintain an identity.
- You will have your own user page where you can write a bit about yourself, and a user talk page which you can use to communicate with other users.
- You will be able to mark an edit as minor, which avoids inconvenience for other users.
- You will be able to keep track of changes to pages you are interested in using a watch list.
- If you choose to give an email address, other users will be able to contact you by email. This feature is anonymous - the user who emails you will not know your email address. You don't have to give your email address if you don't want to.
- You will be able to rename pages.
- You will be able to set your own preferences, to change things such as:
How to log in
First, make sure that your browser accepts cookies. Some browsers can accept or reject cookies from individual sites; users of these should configure the browser to accept cookies from each wiki you plan to edit, such as wikipedia.org.
Click on the Log in link at the top right of the page. You will then be prompted to enter your username and password. If you have not logged in before, you will need to use the link provided to create an account.
You may give your email address if you like. Other users will be able to send email to the address, but they won't be able to find out what the address is.
If you click the box Remember me, you will not have to give your password again when you access MediaWiki wiki from the same computer. This feature will only work if your password was not generated by the Mediawiki software. So change your password please.
Logging in and setting preferences are done separately on each wiki (for plans of changing this see m:Single login). You may like to maintain a cross-wiki identity by using the same username on each wiki that you use, if that name is still free.
Log in problems
If you find yourself unable to log in, you may have one of several problems.
Both usernames and passwords are case-sensitive on Wikipedia. Did you remember to type in the right capitalization? For example, if you registered under MyUserName, you will not be able to log in as Myusername (notice the subtle difference in spelling). The same goes for your password. The only exception is the first character of the username, which is capital by default.
Did you register to this version of Wikipedia?
If you appear to have logged in, but as soon as you try to look at a page after 'Log in successful', you appear logged out again, it is very likely to be a cookie problem. See this brief tutorial on how to enable cookies for your browser.
Make sure your computer's date and time are set correctly; if they are not, cookies may expire before they are supposed to. Note that some firewall and ad-blocking software may interfere with the cookie that wikidoc uses to keep a person logged in.
Immediately logging out
Some ISPs use transparent proxies which cause problems logging in. If you find that you are automatically logged out just after you have logged in, and removing all your Wikipedia cookies does not fix the issue, try using the secure server (much slower) to bypass the proxy. This happens most often with some satellite ISPs (particularly HughesNet/DirecWay/DirecPC).
A user may occasionally find him/herself "automatically " logged out in between beginning an edit and saving it, or when switching between multiple wikidoc pages open in multiple windows. This can be a result of your browser's cookie, cache, or firewall settings, but due to the nature of the MediaWiki software, some user ID information is stored in the servers; sometimes, especially during heavy server load, the system can "glitch" and your ID information will be misplaced, resulting in a logout.
Regardless of the reason for the logout, the simplest solution to the problem is to check the Remember me box. If you do this on a computer that can be accessed by more than one person (i.e. at the library, at work, at school), please find and erase your user ID cookies after your editing session or click the "log out" button.
What if I forget the password?
If you previously entered an e-mail address when signing up for the account or in your Preferences, you can enter your username on the login screen and click 'E-mail new password', which will send a temporary password to your e-mail address that will allow you to retrieve your account. If you did not enter an e-mail address, or the address was out of date, you will have to create a new account.
Creating an account
To create an account, select Log in (top right of page) then create an account. You will need to provide a username and password as well as answer a visual 'captcha' (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). This is a very simple visual test to make sure you are a human! Users with text, speech, or legacy browsers will be unable to create an account if they can not view this image. If you are unable to view captchas, you can request for an account to be created for you at Wikipedia:Request an account.
How to set preferences
Click on the Preferences link at the top right of the page for various options, including:
- Changing your password.
- Changing the skin, which changes the way that the web pages look.
Your User page and User talk page
As a logged in user, you will be able to create your own user page and user talk page. When you are logged in, you will see your username displayed at the top right of the page. Click on this to get to your user page, which you can edit in the same way as any MediaWiki wiki page.
Most users write a little bit about themselves and their interests on their user page.
You also have a User talk page. You can access this by clicking on the Talk link next to your username at the top right of the page. Other people may write messages in your user talk page by editing it, and you can respond. See Help:Talk page for more.
How to log out
You can log out any time by clicking on the Log out link at the top right of the page.
Note that in some sans-serif fonts I (capital-i) and l (lowercase-L) look exactly the same, e.g. in Arial: I and l. If your username contains one of the two, it may be wise to register another account, but swap the letters (so if your username contains lowercase l change that to capital i). This is to prevent impersonation. You may then redirect the userpage of the "dummy" account to your real account.
However, since the implementation of bugzilla:2290, accounts similar to existing ones can only be created by administrators. If you can't create an account because it's too similar to yours, nobody else (apart from administrators) can; since such an account cannot be used for impersonation, there is no need to create it as a doppleganger.
How to force logging in for editing
This is controlled through a wg variable.
How to force logging in for viewing
This is controlled through a wg variable.
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