Can someone explain the differences or different uses of the user_name and user_nicename fields in the users table? They seem to be, and behave the same.

I found a bunch of posts in web searches, but they are relevant only to older version of wp.


The nicename is (usually) just a sanitized version of the username. It's suppose to be 'nice' in the sense that it is the 'nicename' that is used as a slug, for example:


will take you to the archive of the author with nicename 'my-nice-name'.

The documentation simply describes it as

A string that contains a nicer looking name for the user.

  • Thanks - what type of characters are allowed during sign-up that would be removed during "sanitization"? – GWR Feb 18 '12 at 13:28
  • sanitize_title does the sanitizing. According to this it strips HTML & PHP tags. It seems to replace spaces with '-' somewhere. Note if you provide a nicename in wp_insert_user it doesn't do any sanitizing. – Stephen Harris Feb 18 '12 at 13:47
  • Got it... makes perfect sense. – GWR Feb 18 '12 at 15:51
  • The fact that the documentation says "A string that contains a nicer looking name for the user." is really confusing. You would think that this meant that a "nice" name is one with capitals and spaces, pretty for the user, but apparently, it is exactly the opposite! – Flimm Aug 30 '19 at 12:26

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