Creating an account is quick and completely free. You don't need to be registered to contribute, but getting an account allows you to:
Once you have had an account for 4 days and made 10 edits, you can:
If you create an account, you can pick a user name provided it is available and unique. Edits you make while logged in will be assigned to that name, not to your IP address. You will have your own permanent user page where you can write a bit about yourself. While Wikipedia is not a homepage provider, you can use this to display a few free pictures, write about your hobbies, etc. Many users use their user page to maintain a list of the articles they are most proud of, or to collect other valuable information from Wikipedia.
You will also have a permanent talk page you can use to communicate with other users. You will be notified whenever someone writes a message on your talk page. If you choose to give an e-mail address, other users will be able to contact you by e-mail. This feature is anonymous; the user who emails you will not know your e-mail address.
You are actually less identifiable logged in than you are as an unregistered editor, owing to the hiding of your IP address (so long as you avoid disclosing identifiable information on your user page). You might want to consider privacy and the possibility of offline harassment, when deciding what to say on your user page.
Having an account gives you a fixed Wikipedia identity that other users will recognize. While we welcome contributions from unregistered editors, logging in under a user name lets you build trust and respect through a history of good edits, and makes it easier for veteran users to assume good faith, communicate and collaborate. Having a good name (or a pseudonym to protect your identity) promotes more responsible editing, and more civil discourse.
Sometimes new or unregistered users are prevented from editing pages that are common targets of vandalism (just as this page is protected, and only users with an account can edit it). Also, bots can mistake even good-faith IP address edits for vandalism. For these reasons, edits under a user name tend to be more successful.
Having an account is a must for many processes in Wikipedia, such as voting for administrators. As your reputation builds, it is possible to earn privileges such as rollback, sysop/administrator, and others. It is not possible for an unregistered editor to be granted these privileges.
Your user name may also receive recognition for good work such as Barnstars, Project Awards, Personal User Awards, or nomination for voted accolades like Editor of the Week. You need a fixed account identity to accumulate these pats on the back; they are not awarded to IP addresses.
As a registered user, you can customize the way pages are displayed by altering your preferences. There, in the Appearance tab, you can change the following display settings:
And various editing preferences:
Wikipedia accounts can gain access to the vital reliable sources via The Wikipedia Library.
Shared IP addresses such as school and enterprise networks or proxy servers are frequently blocked for vandalism which, unfortunately, may also affect innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be modified to affect only unregistered editors so that they can continue contributing to Wikipedia. If you are currently blocked from creating an account, we suggest you do one of the following:
See the Blocking policy for details.
To create an account, click on the "Create an account now" link and fill out the required fields. This will be logged, and your account will be created.