FAQS: WordPress Login Errors


Some of the most frequently asked questions in WordPress communities and forums relates to issues with logging in. Login issues can result from a number of different errors. Disabling plugins, enabling cookies and deactivating your theme are three of the simplest and most common solutions to try first.

Disable Plugins

Although WordPress plugins are generally incredibly useful, there are some plugins that can interfere with your login. It may even be that there is a conflict between two plugins. It’s a pain – especially if you use a lot of plugins across your blog or website, but disabling your plugins may resolve your login issues.

You can disable all of your WordPress Plugins via the admin panel, or alternatively, by removing them from the /wp-content/plugins/ folder to prevent them from being recognised by the program.

Another option is to temporarily rename your plugins folder to prevent it from being recognised, to something such as /wp-content/pluginsABC/. Just remember to change the folder name back to the original /wp-content/plugins/ once the error has been resolved.

Enable Cookies

WordPress uses cookies for login authentication, which means simply clearing your browser cookies and cache and ensuring your browser has cookies enabled can be a simple fix for login issues.

Cookies – also referred to as HTTP cookies or web or browser cookies – are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored in your web browser. This data is sent back to the website the next time you visit, to notify the site of the your previous activity, such as logging in.

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To ensure cookies are enabled for your browser, you’ll need to clear your browser cookies and clear your browser cache.

Your browser cache stores data so that future requests for data can be served faster. For example, it might cache a web page so you can reload that page more quickly during a subsequent visit.

If you need more information on how to clear your browser cookies and cache, simply refer to the browser-specific instructions.

Deactivate Your Theme

WordPress themes can also cause conflicts and log in errors – particularly after upgrading to the latest version of WordPress or newest release of the theme itself. To determine whether the issue is being caused by your theme, you’ll need to deactivate it – a process very similar to deactivating your plugins.

First, connect to your site using an FTP client, then go to /wp-content/themes/directory and rename your current theme directory with an XX suffix at the end (so you can find it again easily). This will prompt WordPress to revert back to the default theme. Once you have done that, try logging in again – if you are successful, it was your theme was causing the issue.

If you are using the default theme this may still cause issues due to file corruption. Simply download a fresh copy of the default theme and upload it to your website.

To find out what caused a problem in the theme, you can upload and run the below code when the theme is active:

<? ini_set('display_errors','1'); ini_set('display_startup_errors','1'); error_reporting (E_ALL);include('index.php'); ?>

If you’ve tried these three fixes, there are a number of other errors that may also cause login issues. You can search WordPress Codex for more login error fixes, or have you web developer look into the issue for you.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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