When coming up with an email address, there are a lot of tempting combinations that you may wish to try.
Depending on where this email address will be used, whether in a personal or professional setting, will influence what some of your choices will be; using firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t a good idea if you work as an attorney.
That being said, many people who lack a creative spark or want an easy-to-remember email address may wish to use their first and last name within their email address.
Use your first and last name in the email address to convey the utmost professionalism. It also makes it easier for the recipient to organize and associate your message based on your full name.
Maintaining Security in the Digital Landscape
Given how well-used, and accessible, the internet can be, keeping your personal information safe is important regardless of how you are using the internet.
Generally speaking, personal information refers to birthdates, addresses, and any personal data such as a social security number, a bank account number, or a credit card number.
This information should always be kept private and you should either use safe browsing, secure sites, encrypted sites, or password-protected sites. When in doubt, don’t give it out.
Some digital security experts also advise internet users to avoid sharing their full names, particularly maiden names, as these can also be considered Personal Identifiable Information (PII) that cybercriminals can use for fraudulent or illegal activity. 
Names, particularly maiden names for family members, can also be used for password-protected accounts; if you happen to go by your maiden name, you don’t want anyone else knowing your information. That’s why it’s imperative to not give out any information to unknown or solicitous parties and why you shouldn’t broadcast your information accounts on social media or use public access wifi to access any personal networks.
Keeping your private information private, including your name, can help to protect your identity on the internet.
When It’s Okay to Use Your First and Last Name Within an Email Address
That being said, of all of the PII that a person can share, your name is the least compromising piece of information.
That’s because many individuals can have the same name (Ex. John Smith), using your first and last name does not reveal your entire identity (you have a middle name!) and your name is often a very recognizable part of your identity that can be accessed via a variety of means.
If you had your picture taken while in school and your name appears in a caption on the school’s website, it doesn’t compromise your identity. That’s why using your name isn’t a problem.
When you have a professional email address, particularly if it’s something that isn’t already assigned, using your first and last name can make your name more recognizable.
As long as someone else hasn’t claimed this email address, choosing email@example.com is always a simple and effective email, particularly if it’s linked with a business email account.
Even if your business or professional email is through a common provider like Yahoo or Gmail, using your first and last name is a simple and effective email address that is easy to remember for anyone who needs to contact you.
There is less of a security risk if your name is already publicly visible through your professional association, so using it with an email doesn’t pose a security risk and makes it more effective in associating you with a specific business.
It’s also important to consider how your name will appear on any company correspondence. If you have a straightforward, simple to say and spell name, then using your full name creates a more streamlined approach that is slightly more presentable depending on your audience. You always want to keep your audience in mind when you are trying to come up with a name that you can use.
Using your first and last name for a personal email address may be more of a personal security concern about being contacted by spammers or solicitous organizations.
As long as you are comfortable with sharing your name in public settings, using your first and last name isn’t much of a security compromise given that an email shares little other information aside from what anyone puts in the email address.
That being said, ensuring that you do not use your name freely on any other site, particularly when combined with any other PII, is imperative to protecting your security.
When It’s Not Okay to Use Your First and Last Name Within an Email Address
The first challenge when creating an email address is finding an original email address. If you have a fairly common name, there is a high probability that someone may have already taken that name for their email address.
In that case, there’s not much you can do about it and you will have to use an alternative spelling, abbreviation, or select characters instead of your name. You can also try searching on another provider if you want to use your name, but if it is confined or linked to a respective company, you may be restricted in how many different providers you can consult.
The other challenge when using your first and last name is if you have an exceptionally long last name (a problem if it is hyphenated) or if your name is difficult to pronounce. You want your email to be as easy to use by anyone.
If your first and last name are longer than 20 characters, abbreviating either your first or last name to one initial or part of the name makes it much easier to spell out in an email.
For example, instead of using the name “Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org” you can use the name “email@example.com”. Then again, it’s important to always have a backup plan because the abbreviation may also be taken by someone else who has a long last name!
It’s also important to consider that you want your email to be as simple and easy to remember as possible.
For professional emails, it’s generally not recommended to use anything other than a point or hyphen with any part of your name, even if you use your first and last name.
If you feel compelled to use any special characters with a unique private email address, then it’s not necessary to use your first and last name together as the special characters will help to distinguish who you are.
For example, instead of writing “firstname.lastname@example.org” you can write “email@example.com.
Personal emails allow much greater liberty with creativity and what you wish to put in the email address, so confining yourself to your first and last name isn’t essential if you are trying to come up with something creative.
If you are trying to maximize your privacy on the internet, then it’s not a good idea to use your first and last name in an email address. Of course, if it’s through an employer, then you might not be able to do anything about it, but many large employers that automatically assign email names also use private servers that limit who can enter the network.
In such cases, you aren’t compromising your security by using your first and last name. If privacy is your primary concern, use either your first name, your last name or a made-up name with your personal email address.
Sometimes, even if you are using a professional email address and you have established some sort of a brand identity relative to your business, you can use that instead of your first and last name.
If you are a plumber and your company is “Leak Doctor” you could use an email address that says “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
This effective email address allows users to immediately associate the email with the company and to remember the address without confusing it with anything else. Using a name like this for your email address also protects your identity outside of company operations.
If you aren’t concerned with how your name will be depicted in any company correspondence, then it isn’t as essential if you use your name. Once again, a catchy slogan can serve as an acceptable substitute, but it’s important to make your email as simple to write as possible.
Keeping Your Email as Simple as Possible
When it comes to whether you should use your first and last name in your email address, the key is to keep your email as simple as possible, especially if it’s a professional email. Personal data protection isn’t as much of an issue, but the personal presentation is.
If you’re lucky enough that no one else has your name or has used your name as an email address, then using it for professional or even personal purposes is a great way to make your name easy to identify and remember.
If your name isn’t available, it’s not so easy to pronounce or you are just trying to be creative, then there are a variety of ways you can make a memorable email address that doesn’t require the use of your first and last name.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.