Gain access to a locked WordPress website

If you are locked out of your website and a password reset hasn’t worked (eg, emails may not be working or you may no longer have access to your email address), you can still gain access to your WordPress dashboard if you have access to your webhosting account and a database management tool. In this tutorial we are using phpmyadmin which is bundled with many popular webhost control panels.

Proceed with caution! One slip may damage your website beyond repair!

Login to your webhosting account

How you login to your webhosting account will depend on your webhost.

Identify your WordPress database

In your filemanager, this information is stored in the file {website root}/wp-config.php

Locate and Open phpmyadmin

In this screen shot we are using cPanel.

Navigate to the users table in your Database

  • Open your database by selecting it in the left hand panel
  • Users are stored in the table wp_users - wp_ is the default prefix for the tables however this may have been updated in wp-config.php, see the $table_prefix variable
  • Edit Admin user

  • Identify your admin user and select Edit
  • Change user password

  • Change user_pass function to MD5. This is the password encryption type
  • Enter new password into the user_pass value field
  • Hit Go
  • The new password will be saved in the encrypted form

    Login to Dashboard

    You can now login to the WordPress dashboard using the admin username with the new password you have set in the database. When you login, the password will be reencrypted with a more secure hash.
    Article published 22nd June 2022
    Last modified 02nd November 2023