There are several types of login issues that can occur with a WordPress site. One type of error is when your login page keeps refreshing and redirecting you back to the login screen. It can be quite annoying and frustrating. In this troubleshooting tutorial I’ll show you how to fix this type of error.
Try clearing your browser’s cookies
The first step is to see if it’s your web browser (Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari) or your WordPress site which is causing the issue.
Most websites store cookies which help manage login information. Sometimes issues arise with these cookies and you need to clear them in order to start fresh.
What are Cookies?
Cookies are simple text files that a website can store on your browser. They are mainly used to “identify” a user and can be used for many things like keeping a user logged in, store the shopping cart items, etc.
Clearing (or deleting) these cookies and starting fresh can often clear up these issues. Here’s how to do that with the most popular browsers.
Clear your cookies in Firefox
- Click the three horizontal lines in the top right of your browser
- Click on the Options section in the menu
- Click on Privacy & Security on the left
- Scroll down to Cookies and Site data and click “clear data”
Clear your cookies in Chrome
- Click the three dots in the top right corner of your browser
- Click on the settings menu
- Scroll down to “clear browsing data” and hit the “clear data” button
Refresh your website and try to log in. If you’re still unable to log in, let’s proceed to the next step of our troubleshooting guide.
Does your webhost have backups available?
Some hosting plans come with free backups, if yours does then you may be able to restore your site from a recent backup.
Of course, not everyone will have this option available, but it’s worth a try. If not, things will get a little more complicated and you’ll need to get comfortable with the file system.
What happens if I can’t log in to my WordPress site?
If clearing your cookies did not help and you can’t get into your WordPress site then you might have to continue troubleshooting using the file system for your installation. This sounds scary, but it’s not as difficult as you may think.
However, it’s always a best practice to create a backup of your site before proceeding, if you don’t have one already. This way, even if you do manage to mess something up you can just restore the files.
Download an FTP client like Filezilla
In some cases, you may be able to edit your WordPress installation files directly from your host’s control panel, but if not you’ll need an FTP program. This software allows you to connect and browse the files sort of like how they’re set up on your computer.
Locate your login credentials in your web hosting control panel
Every web host should have FTP credentials available somewhere for you that allows you to connect through the software. If you’re not sure where these are, then try contacting support for help.
To log in using FTP, you’ll need your hostname (usually your domain name), a username and a password provided by your host. Make sure to download all of your files before you touch anything.
Test your plugins
Plugins are part of what makes WordPress so great, but unfortunately, they sometimes don’t play nice with each other. Even plugins you’ve been using for a long time may release an update which could conflict with another plugin.
The only way to know for sure is to test each plugin and see if they are causing the problem. Often, the best course of action is to deactivate all plugins.
Now, refresh your website and see if the problem is gone. If so, then congratulations! You’ve figured out what’s causing the problem with your site.
You can simply reactive your plugins one by one until the issue returns, then you’ll know which plugin is the culprit, and find a replacement.
How to deactivate plugins with FTP
Using your preferred FTP client, go to the plugins folder, for example:
and rename it to something else. For example:
All the plugins will cease to function.
Test your theme
Sometimes themes don’t play nice with WordPress after an update. If you revert back to the default Twenty Nineteen theme, your login page issues may disappear.
It’s not always the fault of the theme creator, things may have worked perfectly up until the latest WordPress update. If this is the case and you don’t want to use a different theme, contact the theme developer to help debug the issue.
However, the quickest course of action is to use another theme.
How to deactivate your WordPress theme with FTP
Using your preferred FTP client, go to your themes folder, for example:
and rename it to something else. For example:
WordPress will fail to find your current theme and use the default theme instead.
Delete your .htaccess file
This file can perform a lot of useful functions, but sometimes it can get overwritten and cause problems. Delete it this file and see if you can log in. If you’re able to successfully log in, you’ll need to regenerate the .htaccess file.
In your Admin Dashboard go to Settings > Permalinks and click the save button at the bottom to generate a new .htaccess file.
Update your site’s URL
If you’ve recently installed an SSL ceritifcate or changed your site’s URL this can sometimes cause issues. Changing and updating it manually may help with login page problems. Start by logging into your webhost with FTP.
Manually add the following lines (with your site’s URL in place of example.com) to your wp-config.php file, save and see if the issue is fixed.
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful and managed to solve the problem. We welcome you to submit your comments and questions using the comment form below.