How to Run a Username Search to Find Someone Online

Do a reverse username search to find anyone

A username search is one way to find someone online. If all you have is a person's account name for a given service and no real name or any other identifiable information, running a reverse search on the username might dig up more details on who the person is.

Finding people by their username isn't as effective as other people-finding techniques, however.

Why a Username Search Is Useful

Even though it's a poor habit that affects web privacy, most people use the same username on several different websites. Similar to an email address, some people have just one username because remembering separate screen names for every website gets tiring.

Take advantage of this laziness to find all the websites a person uses. Your username search might quickly turn into an effective way to find about someone using only his or her username, given how many sites display some degree of metadata about the person in public directories.

Try a username generator to vary the usernames you use. A password manager helps tracks usernames and passwords for your favorite sites.

How to Find People With Their Username

As long as you have the person's username, you can use social media and search engines to track them down, as well as search the specific site on which the use that particular username.

Using Social Media

Enter the username into the URL of a social media website. For example, to run the username search on Twitter, enter twitter.com/example. The same technique can be used on other sites even if they aren't social networks:

  • facebook.com/example
  • soundcloud.com/example
  • instagram.com/example
  • example.tumblr.com
  • disqus.com/by/example
Twitter profile URL example

Google Social Search is a helpful way to search the username across several social media sites at once.

Using a Search Engine

Use a search engine to scour the web for that username. Just enter the screen name into the search box to see what comes up. A search engine like Google or Bing is one of the best ways to cross-reference a username with several websites at once, including social media sites, forums, music and video streaming sites, comments, personal blogs, and more.

Google reverse username search for jongfisher

Using a People Search Engine

Use a people search engine that supports reverse username searches, or try a username lookup tool. Usersearch.org and PeekYou are examples of free people search tools, and Instant Username Search is a free username locator.

PeekYou username search tool

BeenVerified (not free) is another people finder that lets you search by username, and it can return all sorts of information like past physical addresses, relatives, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Search Using a Specific Site

Search specific sites for the username. Sometimes, a search engine won't dig up data on a specific website, but if that site has its own search function, you might have luck using it to find more information about the person from their username.

For example, search Spotify for a username through a Spotify search using spotify:user:example.

Run a Reddit Username Search

The Comment Search on Reddit lets you search for comments made with the username.

Reddit Comment Search tool

To find all the Reddit posts submitted by someone, enter their username into the Reddit search box using author:example. Just replace example with a specific username.

Tips for Reverse Username Searches

Before you start searching for someone online, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:

  • Enter the username exactly as you see it: Even one missing or added character can result in vastly different results that have nothing to do with the person you're looking for.
  • Not all usernames are unique: Unlike truly unique things like email addresses and physical addresses, a username is only unique within each website. For example, only one person can have the username emmalove1991 on Snapchat, and only one person can have that same one on Yahoo Mail, but they don't necessarily need to be the same person.
  • Same screen name, different person: The exact same screen name can be used on those sites and others like Soundcloud, Pinterest, etc., and the owners don't need to be associated with each other at all.
  • Use their email as a clue: The first part of someone's email address is sometimes the same username they use on their favorite websites. For example, the username example159 might also be part of an email address, like example159@outlook.com or @gmail.com.
  • Use reverse image search: If you find someone using a given username, but all you can see is the person's face or an unidentifying avatar (i.e., no name or location), perform a reverse image search from that picture to hopefully locate other places where they're present online.
  • Use new details in your search: Take any details you find and add them to your search for the person. For example, if the username search leads you to a blog post written by someone using that username, try selecting the name to see if they write elsewhere. One of those other websites might include more information about the same person even if he or she isn't using the same username there.