Are you locked out of your WordPress site because you’ve forgotten your password?
Not being able to access your admin area because you can’t remember your password or username can be really frustrating.
Fortunately, with WordPress, there is always a way to get back into your site.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn the process of recovering a misplaced password or username and getting access to your blog or website. We’ll go as far as we can without getting into complicated technical areas, and then, if the information still doesn’t help you get back in, we’ll explain to you what other options are available for recovering your login details.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Entering An Incorrect Username Or Password
Normally, if you get your username and/or password incorrect when trying to access your WP dashboard, an error message like the one shown below will display on your login page …
Here’s a clue: If you get the login username correct but the password wrong, WordPress will actually tell you this …
For security purposes, avoid installing WordPress sites with the username “admin”.
This is the default installation username for WordPress and one of the first things hackers will test with WordPress sites.
If you need to change your username, see this tutorial: Changing Your Admin Username
If you have lost or forgotten your password, but you do know your username or the email address you have registered with, then click on the “Lost your password?” link in the error message …
You can also access the lost password function by clicking on the link found below the login box …
Alternatively, just type the following URL into your browser (where “domain” is your domain address and “tld” is your domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “org”, etc.) …
Enter your username or email address and click the Get New Password button …
At this stage, there is no password “recovery” option. You will need to reset your password.
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 come up with strong passwords.
You can use a free online password generator tool like PasswordsGenerator.net (shown below) …
Or use a password management program like RoboForm, which is not only great for creating strong passwords, but also for storing and managing all your passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool If You Need Help Creating Secure Passwords
To learn more about password management software, see the tutorial below:
After resetting your password, log in as normal …
Changing Your Password Inside WordPress
To change your password inside your administration, log into your backend admin section and select Edit My Profile from the “Howdy, User” dropdown menu at the top-right hand corner of your screen …
You can also access your “Profile” screen by selecting Users > Your Profile from your main admin menu.
Towards the bottom part of the page, you will see the “change password” section. 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 the Update Profile button when you’re done to update your password settings.
What If I Don’t Know My Username And Password?
So far, the above steps work if you’ve lost your password but you can access your username or email address.
What do you do if you’ve lost both your username and password?
You can still access your WordPress site, but a little technical intervention is required.
As this tutorial is really designed 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 support (i.e. your webmaster, web support person or your webhost) and let them know that you need to change your WordPress Password from phpMyAdmin, or you can try using 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 inside your server … you’re only taking a look!
If you are worried about working inside your web server or database, then please ask a web services professional to help you.
For this example, the server uses the cPanel management tool …
cPanel management software
Note: We provide a complete set of video tutorials on how to use cPanel inside the WPTrainMe PRO member’s area.
Log into your server administration area …
cPanel admin area
Scroll down to the “Databases” section and open up phpMyAdmin …
Open up your WP database.
Note: If you have a number of databases set up on your domain, make sure you select the correct one …
Don’t be concerned about the complicated-looking information on your screen screen.
Click on wp_users …
You will see a list of all your site’s users with their usernames and registered emails. Typically, the first line is assigned to the site administrator, but if you have more users and need to locate their username or email, then scroll down the list until you find the details 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.
Due to security purposes, 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 requires using 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 help from a professional if you don’t know what you are doing, and want to avoid causing errors.
Now that you have retrieved your username and email address, log out of your server, go back to your 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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