How to Change WordPress Password in phpMyAdmin (a cPanel tool)

wordpress change password cpanel

In this Quick Guide, we’ll walk you through how to change a WordPress user’s password using phpMyAdmin, a tool found in most webhosting cPanels. To change WordPress passwords from phpMyAdmin is simple (it takes less than a minute front-to-back) and it’s a very useful trick to know—one we use at least a couple times every single month in our work with our clients.

Why Changing WordPress Passwords from cPanel is Useful

Why would you want to know how to do this? There are at least three relatively common situations where you find yourself with cPanel access to a site, but not WordPress admin access. They are:

  1. The admin user is registered to an email address (such as a previous developer) that your client no longer controls.
  2. Your client has lost the admin user’s password, and the “Lost your password?” emails aren’t sending correctly because of a server mail configuration problem.
  3. Your client can’t remember the admin user’s username.

In each case, you need to access the WordPress database directly—most commonly with cPanel and phpMyAdmin. Here’s you’ll quickly be able to change WP passwords in phpMyAdmin.

Video: How To Change Password for WordPress in phpMyAdmin

In this video, I walk you through how to reset WordPress passwords using phpMyAdmin, or a similar database administration tool. The core things are: using MD5 as a database-level function, and resetting your WordPresa admin account’s password again after you’ve gotten into it from phpMyAdmin.

How to Change WordPress Passwords from phpMyAdmin

Resetting WordPress passwords from cPanel is quite simple. You’ll need to make sure you have:

  • Hosting that’s running the cPanel software itself
  • The phpMyAdmin program within cPanel to view and manage your WordPress database
  • The password to the hosting account

If you’ve got those, here are the steps to change WordPress user passwords from cPanel:

  1. Log into your hosting account. (The screenshots below use InMotion. Our latest thoughts on the best WordPress cPanel hosting are here.)
  2. Select cPanel from within your hosting interface.1
  3. Once you’re in your cPanel, scroll down to Databases and select phpMyAdmin.
  4. Select Databases from the top and open your WordPress database. (This might get weird if you have multiple sites. If you doubt which database is the right one, your wp-config.php file will tell you for sure.)
  5. Once all the tables in the database appear, look for wp_users and select Browse.
  6. Once you’ve found the user you want to edit the password for, select Edit or the pencil icon by their name.
  7. Select and delete the long list of numbers and letters next to user_pass. (This was your old, securely stored, password.)
  8. Type in your new password. (Don’t forget it’s case-sensitive.)
  9. Click on the dropdown menu on the same line and select MD5. This’ll run the MD5 hashing algorithm on the value we just typed, making it into one that WordPress can work with. Hashing functions are a core part of how passwords are stored securely. David wrote a longer post about that, if you’re interested.
  10. Click Go on the bottom right of the screen.
  11. Go back to your site’s login page and log in.

And that’s how to reset a WordPress admin password phpMyAdmin!

Image credit: Paulius Dragunas

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