Can’t log back into your WordPress site?
Not being able to access your administration area because you can’t remember your password or username can be very frustrating.
Fortunately, if you are a WordPress user, there is always a way to get back into the backend of your site.
In this troubleshooting tutorial for non-technical WordPress users, you will learn the process of recovering a lost 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 recovering your password details.
Let’s start with some WordPress password basics.
If your password or username are entered incorrectly when you try to login in WordPress, you will see an error message like the one below displayed on your browser …
Your first clue, is that if you get the username correct but the password is wrong, WordPress will let you know this …
For security reasons, using the username “admin”.
This is the default installation username for WordPress and one of the first areas of potential vulnerabilities that hackers look for with WordPress sites.
If you need to change your username, see this tutorial: Changing Your WordPress Admin Username
If you have forgotten or lost your password, but you do know your username or email address, then click on the “Lost your password?” link in the error message …
You can also access the lost password area by clicking on the link at the bottom of the login box …
Alternatively, just type the URL below into your web browser (where “domain” is your domain address and “tld” is the domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “org”, etc.) …
Enter your username or email address and click the button to get a new password …
At this stage, there is no password “recovery” option. You will need to reset your password.
You will receive a system notification via email with a 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 if you need help generating a strong password.
You can use a free online password generator tool like PasswordsGenerator.net (shown below) …
Or use password management programs like RoboForm, which not only lets you create secure passwords, but also store and manage all of your passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool To Help You Create A Strong Password
To learn more about password management software, see the tutorial below:
After your password has been reset, log in using your new password …
How To Change Your Password Inside WP
To change your password inside WP, log into your site and select Edit My Profile from the “Howdy, User” dropdown menu near 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 WordPress password strength meter to help you come up with a strong password.
Click Update Profile after you have entered your new details to update your password settings.
What If I Can’t Remember My Username And Password?
So far, 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 mostly aimed for non-technical WordPress users, we recommend 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 assistance (i.e. your webmaster, website management person or your webhost) and let them know that you need to change your WordPress Password from phpMyAdmin, or you can try the method below, which will simply 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 … you’ll just be taking a look!
If you are not confident about working inside your web server or database, then please ask a knowledgeable WordPress user to help you.
In the example below, the server is using cPanel …
Note: We provide tutorials on using cPanel inside the WPTrainMe PRO member’s area.
Log into your server administration account …
cPanel administration area
Navigate to the “Databases” section and open up phpMyAdmin …
Click on your WP database.
Note: If you have multiple databases set up on your domain, make sure you select the right one …
Don’t worry about the technical-looking nature of the information on your screen.
Click on wp_users in the left-hand column …
mySQL database tables
This section contains a list of all your site’s users with their usernames and emails. 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 WP 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 reasons of security, WordPress stores all passwords as a cryptographic hash function (MD5 Hash) instead of 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 assistance from a professional if you don’t know what you are doing, as you could end up causing errors.
Now that you have retrieved your username and email address, log out of your server, return to the login screen and request a new password …
Hopefully, you have found this tutorial useful and can now resume working on your site.
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