Have you misplaced your WordPress password or can’t get back in?
Finding yourself unable 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 WordPress troubleshooting step-by-step tutorial for non-technical users, we help you understand how to retrieve a lost, misplaced or forgotten password or username and get back into your admin area. 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 password recovery.
Let’s start with the basics.
Wrong Username Or Password
If either your username or password are entered incorrectly when attempting to login in WordPress, you will get an error message like the one below …
Here’s a clue: If you get the username correct but the password wrong, WordPress will actually tell you this …
For security reasons, don’t install 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 need to change your username, see this tutorial: How To Change Your Admin Username
If you have lost, forgotten or misplaced your password, but you 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 section by clicking on the link found at the bottom of the login box …
Alternatively, just type the URL below into your browser (where “domain” is your domain address and “tld” is the domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “info”, etc.) …
Type in your username or email and click “Get New Password” …
At this stage, there is no password “recovery” option. You will need to reset your password.
You will receive an 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 if you need help coming up with secure passwords.
You can use a free password generator tool like PasswordsGenerator.net (shown below) …
Or password management programs like RoboForm, which lets you store and manage all your passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool If You Need Help Creating Strong Passwords
Once your password has been reset, log in as normal …
How To Change Your Password
To change your password inside WordPress, log into your site 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” screen 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 avoid using weak passwords and come up with a strong password.
Click Update Profile when finished to update your password settings.
If You’ve Forgotten Your Username And Password
So far, the above steps work if you’ve forgotten your password but you can access 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 this is where things start to get a little technical.
As this tutorial is mostly intended for non-technical WordPress users, we recommend that if the information above hasn’t helped you get back into your WordPress site, 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 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’ll just be taking a look!
If you are not comfortable taking a look inside your server or WordPress database, then please ask a knowledgeable WordPress user for assistance.
In our example, we’ll be working with cPanel …
Log into your server admin area …
cPanel administration area
Find the “Databases” section and open phpMyAdmin …
Click on your WP database.
Note: If you have multiple databases set up on your domain, make sure you choose the correct 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 registered 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 the details you are looking for …
Note: The user password is also included in this section of your WP database (in the “user_pass” column”), but as you can see from the screenshot above, it is encrypted.
Due to the purpose 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 don’t know what you are doing, and want to avoid causing errors.
Now that you know the 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 on your website.
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