Possible Duplicate:
Is there a list of common usernames to reserve in a new system?

I'm working on a site where users will have a custom URL e.g.: http://domain.com/username

I want to avoid the situation where a user registers and creates a username that I later need, e.g. if I want a page at domain.com/about and someone's already named themselves 'about'.

Does anyone have a list of generic words that could be added to a blacklist for this?

  • 7
    "creates a username that I later need"? How can we know what you'll need later? A list of "generic words" would be called a "dictionary", wouldn't it? How can we guess what possible words you might possibly need in some possible future?
    – S.Lott
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:06
  • 2
    There are a lot of standard words used in websites e.g.: blog, features, about, contact, login, privacy etc. I've started compiling a list which is growing, just wondering as someone must have done this before.
    – evilcelery
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:07
  • 5
    Reading the title of this question, I had to think of little bobby tables ;)
    – DaveFar
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:32

4 Answers 4


There's some great answers on this StackOverflow question:


Here's the best list I've found:



I would have your users page as a sub section. Ie http://domain.com/users/username

There is no way we or even you could guess what pages you might want to create in future

  • 1
    +1 a lot better than predicting future words you'll be using for your site... for that you need a shiny crystal ball
    – Spoike
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:10
  • I would usually do this but in my situation the simplicity of domain.com/username will be an advantage.
    – evilcelery
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:14
  • 3
    @evilcelery - So change users to u adding 3 extra characters will not take away an advantage.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:15
  • 2
    @evilcelery: The magical "blacklist" of 100's of forbidden names, however, might remove this "advantage".
    – S.Lott
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:19
  • 2
    This is a bit like how Flickr have done it: flickr.com/photos/username but at some point they made it so flickr.com/username will redirect. However, some people have usernames that cannot redirect, such as photos and about.
    – Hugo
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 16:07

What about using a prefix for site pages, like domain.com/site/about? And just make sure usernames can't include the '/' character.

  • Still makes sense to exclude some usernames, at least in some cases. Otherwise someone seeing this URL: domain.com/site/admin might think the user/whatever at that URL is an admin somehow, for the whole domain.com.
    – KajMagnus
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 7:03

You can always encode any http reserved characters in the username.
You should do this anyway in case someone decides to register the user name /../../etc/passwd

  • 1
    I am going to use that name for my next username on a forum :-)
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:20
  • 4
    @Ramhound, unless your really name is Bobby Tables xkcd.com/327 Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:22
  • -1 as I'm not sure how this would apply to this problem. this still doesn't stop a user from registering 'about', and him wanting to create an 'about' page later.
    – Craige
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:44
  • @Craige - if you aren't having a /users/ there is nothing you can do about that without a crystal ball. But it is the correct solution to having a list of symbols/words that aren't acceptable form a URL point of view Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 16:32
  • @MartinBeckett - Then should this not be a comment on Tom Squires post?
    – Craige
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 18:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.