Can’t log back into your WordPress site?
Not being able to access your admin area because you’ve forgotten or lost your password or username can be very frustrating.
Fortunately, if you are a WordPress user, there is always a way to get back into your site.
In this step-by-step tutorial for non-technical users, we show you how to recover a lost or forgotten password or username and get access to your website or blog. We’ll go as far as we can without getting into complicated technical areas, and then, if this still doesn’t help you, we’ll explain to you what your other options for recovering your password details are.
Let’s start with some WordPress password basics.
Incorrect Username Or Password
Normally, if your username or password are entered incorrectly when attempting to login in WordPress, you will get an error message like the one below displayed on your browser …
Your first clue, is that if you get the login username right but the password wrong, WordPress will actually tell you this …
For security purposes, don’t set up the username “admin”.
This is the default installation username for WordPress and one of the first areas of potential vulnerabilities hackers look for with WordPress sites.
If you need to change your username, see this tutorial: Changing Your WP Username From Admin
If you have forgotten or lost your password, but you 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 below the login box …
Alternatively, just type the following URL into your web browser (where “domain” is your domain name and “tld” is your domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “info”, etc.) …
Type in your username or email and click the Get New Password button …
At this stage, there is no password “recovery” option, only password “reset”.
You will receive a system email with 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 generate a strong password.
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 generating secure passwords, but also for storing and managing all your passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool If You Need Help Creating Strong Passwords
To learn more about password management software, see the tutorial below:
After resetting your password, log in as normal …
How To Change Your Password
To change your password inside WP, log into your backend admin section and select Edit My Profile from the “Howdy, User” dropdown menu near the top-right hand corner of your screen …
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” section. Enter a new password and confirm this password here.
Note: Avoid choosing weak passwords. Use the WordPress password strength meter to help you set up a strong password.
Click Update Profile when you have entered your new details to update your password settings.
What If I’ve Lost My Username And Password?
So far, the above steps work if you’ve forgotten your password but you have access to your username or email address.
How can you log in if you’ve forgotten both your username and password?
You can still access your WordPress site, but here is where you will some technical knowledge and be able to change things inside your server.
As this tutorial is really intended 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 management 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 at least you can 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 taking a look inside your server or database makes you feel a little nervous, then please ask a knowledgeable WordPress user to help you.
For the example below, we’ll be working with the cPanel management application …
Note: We provide tutorials on using cPanel inside the WPTrainMe PRO member’s area.
Log into your server control panel …
cPanel administration area
Navigate to the “Databases” section and open phpMyAdmin …
Open up your WP database.
Note: If you have multiple databases set up on your domain, make sure that you select the right one …
Don’t panic when you see the complicated-looking screen.
Click on wp_users in the “Table” column on the left-hand side …
This section contains a list of all your site’s users with their usernames and 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 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.
For reasons of security, 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 replace 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 professional help if you really 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 …
Hopefully, this information has helped you get back into your site and you can now resume working on your website or blog.
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now
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