Currently I am part of a wordpress.org site. Something has happened in that the old administrator login details allow us to login, but every user only has "editor" capacities, and no account has permissions to edit appearance, users etc. We now need help locating which account holds administrator status so that we can try to login restore users.

  • Have you reached out to their customer support?They seem like the ones who can help you. – John Conde Oct 9 '18 at 15:13
  • You'll need access to the database, such as phpmyadmin. – WebElaine Oct 9 '18 at 15:26
  • Am I right in reading that you are able to access the WP Dashboard but cannot access the 'Users' area? If so, you may want to check your functions.php file, to see if there are any entries, which limit what appears within your WP Dashboard. Would being able to reset the Admin Password, for your WP Dashboard, be of any help? If so, I will drop an answer; explaining how to reset the Admin Password via the Databases within phpMyAdmin (Unless I am beaten to it ;-)). – Craig Oct 10 '18 at 1:18
  • ... and @Rachel , if one of these answers sorted the questions out, then please select that as the accepted answer so people can see it is resolved. :-) – garth Oct 10 '18 at 9:09

If the users are there but something has happened to the administrator status of one, I would use phpMyAdmin.

First, backup the database. Open the database in phpMyAdmin

Note that where I use wp_ your installation may be different. It might be something like wptd_. It should be obvious when looking at the table list.

Jump into the wp_users table and find the ID number of the user you would like to be the admin. That's all you need there.

Now go to the wp_usermeta table and run the following SQL statement substituting the actual ID number for the number 1 in this example.

SELECT * FROM `wp_usermeta` WHERE `user_id` = 1 AND `meta_key` = "wp_capabilities"

You should end up with a single result with this in the meta_value column


Change it to


That user will now be an administrator. If they already were, then there are other problems somewhere.

If none of that makes any sense, you shouldn't be messing with phpMyAdmin.

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  • 1
    @Rachel: Just to reiterate, perform a full backup of your MySql Database within phpMyAdmin. It is where most of your data lies (User Profiles, Page Content, eCommerce Orders etc). Simply put, mess up your Database and you could potentially lose the majority of your website's data. It is not the place to 'play around on a whim' as you could perform irreplaceable damage. Once you have resolved your current issue, you may wish to perform a local copy of your website, where you can freely experiment upon; without causing any issues with your live site. – Craig Oct 10 '18 at 14:57

I am going to assume from your question that you have no idea as to how to view functions.php or access the database.

So the best idea is to contact original developer of the website. Or if you can no longer contact them, then try the hosting company where the site is currently hosted and ask them to update your account in the database as per other answer (you may have to prove that you are authorised to do this).

And if that doesn't work, and you do have access to the Control Panel access or the database, then hire someone to do this for you.

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