Are you unable to get back into your WordPress site because you’ve forgotten your password?
Finding yourself unable to access your admin 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 website or blog.
In this WordPress troubleshooting step-by-step tutorial for non-technical WordPress users, you will learn how to recover a misplaced password or username and get back into 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 your other options for password recovery are.
Let’s start with the basics.
If either your username or password are wrong when attempting to access your WP dashboard, you will see an error message like the one below displayed on your screen …
Your first clue, is that if you get the username correct but the password wrong, WordPress will actually tell you this …
For security purposes, using 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: Changing Your WP Admin Username
If you have lost or forgotten your password, but you do 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 feature by clicking on the link at the bottom of the login box …
Alternatively, type the URL below into your browser (where “domain” is your domain name and “tld” is your domain extension, eg. “com”, “net”, “info”, etc.) …
Enter your username or email and click on 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 with a password reset link. Click on the link to reset your password.
Enter a 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 strong passwords.
You can use a free password generator tool like PasswordsGenerator.net (shown below) …
Or use a password management software like RoboForm, which is not only great for generating strong passwords, but also for storing and managing all your online passwords …
Use A Password Generator Tool To Help You Create A Strong Password
After resetting your password, log in using your new password …
Changing Your Password
To change your password inside WordPress, log into your admin 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” area 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 avoid using weak passwords and set up a strong password.
Click the Update Profile button when finished to update your password settings.
What If I Don’t Know My Username And Password?
The above steps work if you’ve forgotten your password but you still remember your username or email address.
How can you log in 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 backend, then either contact someone who can provide you with technical assistance (i.e. your webmaster, website support person or your webhost) and let them know that you need to reset your WordPress Password from phpMyAdmin, or you can try using the method below, which will 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’s control panel. Don’t worry, you won’t be changing anything … you’re only taking a look!
If you feel hesitant about working inside your web server or database, then please ask a professional to assist you.
In the example below, the server is using the cPanel management software …
cPanel management software
Log into your server admin account …
cPanel administration area
Scroll down to the “Databases” section and click on phpMyAdmin …
Click on your WP database.
Note: If you have a number of databases set up on your domain, make sure you choose the right one …
Don’t be concerned about the technical-looking nature of the information on your 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 what 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 security purposes, 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 assistance if you really 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, return to the login screen and request a new password …
Hopefully, this tutorial has helped you get back into your site and you can now resume working.
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