Are you locked out of your WordPress site because you’ve lost your password?
Not being able to access your administration area because you can’t remember your password or username can be very frustrating.
Fortunately, with WordPress, there is always a way to get back into the backend of your website or blog.
In this troubleshooting tutorial, we take you systematically through the process of retrieving a lost or misplaced password or username and getting back into your site administration area. We’ll go as far as we can without getting into complicated technical areas, and then, if this still doesn’t help you get back in, we’ll explain to you what other options are available for retrieving your login details.
Let’s start with some WordPress password basics.
Wrong Username Or Password
If you you type the wrong password and/or username when trying to access your WordPress dashboard, a message like the one below will appear on your browser …
Here’s a clue: If you get the login username right but the password wrong, WordPress will let you know this …
For security reasons, avoid installing a WordPress site with the username “admin”.
This is the default installation username for WordPress and one of the leading causes of brute force attacks on WordPress sites.
If you want to learn how to change your username, see this tutorial: Changing Your WP Username From Admin
If you have forgotten your password, but you know your username or email address, then click on the “Lost your password?” link in the login box …
You can also access the lost password area by clicking on the link below the login box …
Alternatively, type the URL below into your web browser (where “domain” is your domain address and “tld” is the domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “info”, etc.) …
Enter your username or email address and click ”Get New Password” …
At this stage, there is no password “recovery” option, only password “reset”.
You will receive an email containing a password reset link. Click on the link to reset your password.
Enter your new password into the “Password reset” field. Make sure to choose a strong password containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, like “$, ^, @, &” etc …
Use a password generator tool to help you create a secure password.
You can use a free password generator tool like PasswordsGenerator.net (shown below) …
Or a password management program like RoboForm, which lets you store and manage all of your online passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool If You Need Help Creating Strong Passwords
To learn more about password management software, see the tutorial below:
Once your password has been reset, log in using your new password …
How To Change Your Password Inside Your Admin Area
To change your password inside your admin, log into your admin and select Edit My Profile from the “Howdy, User” dropdown menu at the top-right hand corner of your Dashboard …
You can also access your “Profile” page by selecting Users > Your Profile from your main admin menu.
Towards the bottom section of the page, you will see the “change password” fields. Enter a new password and confirm this password here.
Note: Use the built-in WordPress password strength meter to help you avoid using weak passwords and come up with a strong password.
Click Update Profile when you have entered your new details to update your password settings.
What If I Can’t Remember My Username And Password?
The above steps work if you’ve forgotten your password but you still know your username or email address.
How can you log in if you don’t know both your username and password?
You can still access your WordPress site, but a little technical intervention is required.
As this tutorial is really aimed for non-technical WordPress users, we suggest that if the information above hasn’t helped you get back into your WordPress admin area, then either contact someone who can provide you with technical support (i.e. your webmaster, web support person or your webhost) and let them know that you need to reset your WordPress Password from phpMyAdmin, or you can try the method below, which will reveal your username and email address, so you can at least get your password reset and log back in.
All you need is admin access to your server. Don’t worry, you won’t be changing anything inside your server … you’re just taking a look!
If you are worried about working inside your server or WordPress database, then please ask a professional for assistance.
For this example, we’ll be working with cPanel …
cPanel management tool
Note: We provide a complete set of video tutorials on using cPanel inside the WPTrainMe PRO member’s area.
Log into your server control panel …
cPanel admin area
Find the “Databases” section and open phpMyAdmin …
Open up your WordPress database.
Note: If you have multiple databases set up on your domain, make sure you select the right one …
Don’t be concerned about the complicated-looking screen.
Click on wp_users in the left-hand column …
You will see a list of all your site’s users with their usernames and email addresses. Typically, the first line is assigned to the administrator, but if you have more users and need to locate their username or email, then scroll down the list until you find what you are looking for …
Note: The user password is also included in this section of the WordPress database (in the “user_pass” column”), but as you can see from the screenshot above, it is encrypted and displays only random-looking characters in the field.
Due to security reasons, WordPress stores all passwords as a cryptographic hash function (MD5 Hash) rather than plain text. This prevents even the site administrator from knowing a user’s password.
To change this password you will need an encryption tool that lets you generate an MD5 hash, which you would then copy and paste into the password field. You can search for “free MD5 generators online” if you want to change the password yourself, but as suggested earlier, ask for professional assistance if you don’t know what you are doing, as you could end up causing errors.
Once you have retrieved your username and email address, log out of your server, return to the login screen and request a new password …
We hope that you have found this tutorial useful and can now resume working.
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