What Does It Mean When Your Account Has Been Disabled?

By Clare Edwards

Many websites and online services offer user accounts. These may be optional, or you may be required to register for one before you can use the service. When your user account is disabled, it means you can no longer log in and use the service. Your user account may be disabled if you fail to pay fees and charges, if you break the terms of service or -- as a precautionary measure -- if someone gains or tries to gain unauthorized access to your account.

User Accounts

Newspapers may offer user accounts so that readers can access premium content, bookmark stories or leave comments; e-commerce sites often require user accounts to keep track of transactions and prevent fraud by making it possible to identify individuals and their track records; online games offer user accounts to save scores or characters and also to discourage cheating or harassment by making offenders easy to recognize and ban. Companies such as Apple offer accounts so that users can register products online, download media and participate in support forums. Social media sites require user accounts so that people can find and recognize each other and to prevent fraud -- for example, pretending to be someone else and asking for money for an invented emergency. Webmail generally requires a user account. Other examples include your account with your Internet service provider.


A user account stores information about an individual such as contact details, messages, activity or purchases. Basic accounts may only require a user name and password; many require a valid email address. Commercial accounts may require bank account details or a credit card number. Some sites, such as Facebook, require your real name. Many user accounts require your date of birth in order to restrict access to certain age groups; minors are prevented from accessing adult content, for example.

Account Disabled for Security Reasons

Sometimes a user account will be disabled to protect the user. This often happens if there's some reason to suspect that the account has been hacked or otherwise compromised. Disabling the account prevents fraudulent activity and protects the real user from losing information, having expensive purchases made in her name or having spam sent from her account. Access to the account is generally restored when the user confirms her identity.

Terms of Service Violations

When you register for a user account, you are typically asked to sign a user agreement outlining acceptable and unacceptable conduct. Sites such as eBay have strict rules about paying vendors and ensuring that purchasers get what they have paid for; violators may have their accounts suspended. Game sites may ban users who cheat or who abuse, scam or harass other players. Your email account may be disabled if you send harassing messages or use it for spamming or criminal activity. File-sharing sites remove users if they upload pirated content. Some social networking sites may disable your account if you give false information, harass other users or use the site for spam or fraudulent activities.

Fees and Charges

Some user accounts require a regular subscription. If you do not keep your payments up-to-date, you may find your account disabled. You can typically restore your account to active status simply by paying any overdue fees. If your account is for something that uses resources such as Internet bandwidth -- for example, a web site or image hosting service -- you will probably have paid for a set amount. If you go over this limit, your account may be disabled.