Once you have a Facebook profile, you will need to regularly login to your account; unless you are using a Facebook application (like an iPad or iPhone app), you will go through the sign in screen, and enter your login information inside the text fields supplied. This tutorial gives you a quick overview of the Facebook login and sign in settings, and our Facebook Login and Facebook Sign in tutorials will go in more depth.
When you type "www.facebook.com" in your web browser's address bar, one of two things will happen: if you have told Facebook to automatically sign in to your account (the "Remember me" option), you will land on the Facebook homepage, with a summary of your profile activity. Otherwise, you will be presented with the Facebook sign in page, as shown on the screenshot below:
As you can tell from the screenshot above, there are five elements to the Facebook sign in form: the "Email" text field collects your user name, the email address you supplied when you first signed up to create your Facebook account. The "Password" field collects your current profile password, a basic level of protection to prevent others from accessing your account and public profile.
The "Keep me logged in" checkbox allows you to optionally make Facebook remember your login information, and automatically sign in to your profile whenever you access the Facebook homepage from that particular computer and web browser: (this is done through cookies, or small text files)
In case you have problems with the login process, you can click on the "Forgot your password?" link, which we'll cover in a later tutorial: basically, this will redirect you to another screen that initiates the password recovery process, so that you can reset and change it to regain access to your account.
Finally, the Facebook sign in form includes a "Login" button - This starts the login process described below, and is an optional control: when the focus (blinking cursor) is inside one of the text fields, or on the checkbox, you can hit Enter (on Windows or Linux) or Return (Mac OS X) to login to your account.
As soon as you click on the "Login" button (or press Enter / Return on your keyboard), Facebook will initiate the login process: the email address (user name) and password you entered will be sent to their servers, and checked for a match - this is called "authentication".
If Facebook finds a corresponding email address and password in its database, you will successfully sign in to your account / profile. Otherwise (wrong user name or password), Facebook will come back with an error message, and invite you to try to login again:
Facebook Login Tip: unlike some other online services and social networking sites, Facebook will always display a "Re-enter your password" error message when you login with the wrong credentials. But this could also mean that the email address you have entered is incorrect as well - check both the email address and the password you supplied before trying to sign in to your account once more.
If you cannot login to your Facebook account, and have double- and triple-checked your email address and password, you will then start to go through the password recovery process, which we'll discuss in a later tutorial. You may have just forgotten your login information, and this doesn't necessarily mean that someone has hacked your Facebook account! More on account security at our Facebook tutorial.