How to Set, Change & Transfer Facebook Usernames

by Brett Borders on February 21, 2010

Warning: Facebook constantly changes their software rules without warning — and the advice in post may not work anymore. Many users have reported problems following these procedures – see the comments. Use this advice at your own risk!

Love it or hate it, Facebook is currently the biggest and popular site on the web… except for Google. It’s ranked #2 by Alexa and it has over 1.5 billion inbound links. Because it’s such a powerful site, having a well-branded, SEO-optimized vanity username or Fan page URL on Facebook can be a big boost your business and online reputation.

Facebook Username Length & Guidelines

  • Usernames must be 5 characters long and may be no longer than 50 characters.
  • Usernames can only contain A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and periods (.)
  • Your account must be e-mail and SMS (text message) verified before you are allowed to set or change usernames.
  • Facebook says you cannot register usernames and try to resell them for money, or they will disable the username (or your account) if they find out.

How Do I Set My Facebook Username (Vanity URL)?

When you’re logged into your account, type the following URL into the browser bar:

http://www.facebook.com/username

Then follow the on-screen directions. They tend to show a lot of suggested usernames with periods in them, and you may have to click the “more” button to type in the one you really want. Check the availability, double-check your spelling (don’t type in “JohnSnith” instead of “JohnSmith“>), and then confirm the name to lock it in for good.

How Do I Change My Facebook Username?

1. Click on the “Account” dropdown menu at the far upper right of your screen. Then select “Account Settings” from the drop-down menu:

2.) Click on the button to change your username:

How Many Times Can I Change My Facebook Username?

You are only allowed to change your username once. If you have changed your name once already and want to do it again, you’ll have to register and SMS-verify a new Facebook account. (Maybe buy one of this disposable, prepaid cellular phones for $29.99?)

Someone already registered my choice of username. If they change it to something else, can I claim it? Can we trade Facebook usernames?

Notice: The information in this article was true at the time it was written (February, 2010). Facebook changes on a monthly basis and this information PROBABLY WON’T work the same in 2011 or 2012. I have gotten several reader comments saying that they tried this method and it doesn’t work anymore. Don’t try and change or give up a name unless you are 100% okay with losing it permanently.

Yes. It is possible to trade and exchange Facebook usernames. From the tests that I personally conducted (on 2/19/10)… it seems that the second you change your Facebook username to something else, your old username immediately becomes “up for grabs.” If someone else registered as “JohnSmith” and you can talk them into changing to another name.. the moment they change and confirm it, you can grab “JohnSmith” for yourself.

Here is a video I found on YouTube that demonstrates how to transfer / trade Facebook usernames:
(warning! cheesy music)

How Do I Set A Vanity URL for a Facebook Fan Page?

Facebook Usernames URLs are best for individual people. Facebook Fan Page vanity URLs are better for collective interests like: companies, organization, bands and products. Once your fan page has 25 or more members, you are eligible to set a vanity URL for it. Here’s how:

1. Type “http://www.facebook.com/username” into your browser’s address bar:

2.) Click the blue link that says “Set a username for your pages”:

If I registered a personal Facebook username/URL and now I want to change it to a fan page URL. Is this possible?

Yes. Here are some tips on how to do this that were sent in on 10/24/11 by reader Nathan Stephens of Groundswell Media Productions:

The solution that I find works best to transfer your custom url/username from a user profile to a Fan page is to first create a new Fan page for your business. Once you have created the new Fan page then migrate your user profile to a Fan page. Be sure to read Facebook’s help FAQ before migration https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18918 then begin the migration https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate. Once the migration from a user profile to a Fan page is complete Merge your Fan page with the new Fan page you just migrated from a user profile to a Fan page. Again be sure to read Facebook’s help FAQ https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=duplicate before merging your duplicate fan pages.

 

Can I Change the Name of a Facebook Fan Page?

No. According to this thread, you cannot currently change the name of a Facebook Fan page. If your company is called “Extreme Print Design” and you have a Fan page for it, and you legally change your company name to “Extreme Web Design” – you still cannot change the name of your fan page. You have to make a new fan page and start over.

Can I Change the URL of a Facebook Fan Page?

No. Once the fan page URL has been set, there is no way to change it. Not that I know of.

Disclaimer: Facebook has complex, not-user-friendly, constantly evolving interface! The information in this post was true at the time of writing, but i is very likely to change in the coming months or years.

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  • Matt

    Thanks for this. I’ve been searching for this exact information for a little over an hour and you’re the only one thats got it. Huge help.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Matt,

    I was searching for this exact information, couldn’t find it either.. so I recided to write up my findings. Glad to be of help!

  • http://www.segrebasket.com/ erectile dysfunction treatment

    I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often!

  • http://%/d2131d21211 Kylie BattName

    По-моему это уже обсуждалось…

    Love it or hate it, Facebook is currently the biggest and popular site on the web… except for Google. It’s ranked #2 by Alexa and it has over 1…..

  • Anonymous

    How to Move all content from a facebook fans page and twitter page onto a new account.Pls Ans this Question ..

  • Becky

    Thanks for all the great info. I was searching so long for it. My username was atuo by accident when I really wanted it to be auto shipping network, the company I work for. Thanks for the help!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    no problem!

  • Anonymous

    This is Facebook information is really good. becoz everyone need this information thanks a lot

  • http://www.sports-alive.com Gareth

    Fantastic, been searching facebook for this info and it isn’t there. Suceeded in setting my personal profile to my business name, but thankfully then managed to change that.

    Why can’t facebook make some of these things more obvious. Even in their guide (Facebook pages manaul http://www.box.net/shared/9e5jiyl843 ) they don’t show you how to do this…

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Facebook is the worst in terms of usability. Glad this post was helpful to you!

    -Brett

  • johnwald

    Hello Gareth,
    It seems you could help me a lot because you have done what I’m currently planning to do.

    Did you really succeed in transfering your shortURL on your personal website to your fanpage in the same account.

    Or are you referring to something else (different accounts, or just chosing a shortURL without transfer)

    Cheers,
    john

  • johnwald

    According to here it is not possible:
    http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=897

    But the information is old anyways it still says you need 100 fans

  • johnwald

    Ah I see it is stated on this very page already “If I registered a personal Facebook username and now I want to change it to a fan page URL, is this possible?”.

    Yet I just wanted to have a feedback if it still works.

    Thanks and sorry for asking but I fear to loose the name making most efforts on the fanpage obsolete.

  • http://%/q2131q21211 Kylie Batt

    Извините, я подумал и удалил эту фразу…

    Love it or hate it, Facebook is currently the biggest and popular site on the web… except for Google. It’s ranked #2 by Alexa and it has over 1…..

  • http://www.ovionx.com/blog/entryid/30/facebook-for-business In 10 Lines or Less

    Facebook for business…

    An important part of a balanced social media diet is having a Facebook fan page. Fan pages are separate from your personal profile and are designed to promote an idea, product, service or an organizat ……

  • http://firsthosting.us/reseller.html reseller hosting

    in which sence is this going to help by changing usernames on facebook?

  • Jenny

    I had accidentally posted my username to my personal profile that I had meant for my fan page. I did try this and I did lose my username and it is totally unavailable.

  • Thekick

    Same here…changed my profile name in order to “free” it up for my fan page…but now it wont let me re-claim the username for my fan page, so now my username is completely unavailable. Great.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    sorry to hear this… I ran a test and it worked perfectly at the time the article was written… but FB changes on a near daily basis. Sorry to hear this!

    -Brett

  • texaslinda

    has anything changed? I want to change the url of my fan page and still can’t do that.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    not sure!

  • Ginnylau

    Same here. Now I lost my URL forever.

  • http://bowdenweb.com/wp/2010/12/links-for-2010-12-18.html links for 2010-12-18 « sonofbluerobot

    [...] How to Set, Change & Trade Facebook Usernames (tags: facebook socialme) [...]

  • KnotAnotherBowtique

    Accidently made my personal page my fan page url, changed it and now it says it’s unavailable… HELP!!!

  • Dj

    i changed my profile username and then tried to change my fan page for my old username, but it says “IS NOT AVAILABLE”!
    Then profile username is also can’t be changed, something like forever! What a DISASTER!

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    DJ,

    I’m sorry! At the time of the writing of this article, I trusted the advice for clients and it worked. Facebook changed. I will update this article to reflect your experience.

    -Brett

  • http://www.cinsplace.yolasite.com Itsallforuch

    very interesting and very clear on how to’s and not to’s thank you l have a personnal page and fan page now when l post my wordpress blog its going to my personnal page Dont want it to!!! how can l get it to go to my fan page??? thank you….

  • Jena2021

    help! my company name is now “not available” after having changed my personal username. if i can’t claim it for my business, i want to, at the least, keep it pointing to my personal page . . . is there any way to speak to a live human at fb?

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    to my knowledge, FB has no customer service. Your best bet is to be patient and hope your company name comes back….. or try and track down a FB employee on Fb or Twitter

  • Steph

    I sure hope it does become available, because I just did the same exact thing. Guess I should have researched the issue first. :-/ *sigh*

  • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com custom logo design

    Good basic tips.
    Today first time i got the all basic information regarding Facebook for marketing point of view that which changes can be done again and which not. before this i just know that how to set fan page and vanity URL but now everything is clear.
    thanks

  • http://twitter.com/tweetddesigns Melanie Martin

    I just did the same thing by accident while trying to set up my FB business page username, it set it up as my FB personal page username. I was able to change my personal username, but now I can’t have the initial username for my business!!! So frustrating!!! Does anyone know how to get a username back (especially since it’s for the same person, just not the right page!!!)

  • http://twitter.com/tweetddesigns Melanie Martin

    I just did the same thing by accident while trying to set up my FB business page username, it set it up as my FB personal page username. I was able to change my personal username, but now I can’t have the initial username for my business!!! So frustrating!!! Does anyone know how to get a username back (especially since it’s for the same person, just not the right page!!!)

  • http://profiles.google.com/reegee80p ReeG G

    The exact same thing happened to me. The interface is very counter intuitive and makes it appear as though you’re setting the name for your fan page while it actually does it for your personal page. I came across a thread in searching on what was wrong saying it will free up in approx 10-14 days. Really crappy broken system.

  • http://profiles.google.com/reegee80p ReeG G

    I’m suprised to see so many people make this mistake becuase of thier poorly designed system and they won’t simpy fix it to allow us to select and change names on the fly.

  • Melissa

    Were you able to get your name back as the ReeG G found in their search? I’m having the same problem and have my fingers crossed!!!

  • Rahul Rao

    This happened to me today. It’s so frustrating. Now I feel like I’ve lost my start-up’s identity. I can’t afford to think up a new name, ensure the URL’s present, etc. :(

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSHJN3ZSHBE6ZLT6NQMXBUIZC4 Douglass

    After setting up a fan page for a business I thought I was naming the pages’ url but of course changed mine so I have like dental office as my URL. I am not a dentist. Far from it! I know facebook will disable you if username is misrepresented ( which I inoccently am) but I have no idea who/ what/ how anyone can help me reset this. Your advice?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QVAROED4H6NKGY7HVH5BPRAB6Y Lev

    Information about how to change your name if facebook doesn’t let you: http://societygaps.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/how-to-change-your-facebook-name/

  • http://twitter.com/groundswellzoo Nathan Stephens

    Keep trying it may take a week, a month, but it will become available again as long as someone else doesn’t get it first.

  • http://socialmediarockstar.com Brett Borders

    Thanks for your input Nathan!

  • Anonymous

    Help! I’m an artist — my personal URL was the name I wanted to have for my Fan Page which has 1,797 likes. I changed my personal URL to my full name in order to make my Fan Page the original name I wanted for it. Now as I try to add that original name to my fan page it won’t add it!!!  It reads “name is not available” I’m freaking (it will be a week since I did the change on Friday 11/11/11).

  • Anonymous

    Help! I’m an artist — my personal URL was the name I wanted to have for my Fan Page which has 1,797 likes. I changed my personal URL to my full name in order to make my Fan Page the original name I wanted for it. Now as I try to add that original name to my fan page it won’t add it!!!  It reads “name is not available” I’m freaking (it will be a week since I did the change on Friday 11/11/11).

  • Anonymous

    Help! An artist I manage — he’s personal URL was the name we wanted to have for his Fan Page which has 1,797 likes. I changed his personal URL to his full name in order to have access to the name for the Fan Page to the original name we wanted. Now as I try to add that original name to the Fan page it won’t add it!!!  It reads “name is not available” I’m freaking (it will be a week since I did the change on Friday 11/11/11).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donna-Mason-Burnside/100003234780898 Donna Mason Burnside

    My child’s Facebook was hacked and the user named changed to a foul saying.  Is there a way to determine when this occurred and from what device? He had a notification that his account was logged into from an unusual device around the time that this occurred.

    Donna

  • Anonymous

    I have the same problem; I even went to the extreme to cancel my account momentary and now I am stocked I don’t know if I should open a new facebook account but how to a get all my contacts into the new account. Help.