If you’ve ever had a WordPress website go down to the point you cannot log into the backend (domain.com/wp-login.php), this article is for you. I’ll show you how you can deactivate all WordPress plugins even if you’re not able to access your wp-admin area. Then you’ll be able to log in to your backend and fix the issue. I’ve also got a video at the end if you are more of a visual learner!
Can’t Log Into WordPress Admin?
Not being able to log into your WordPress website is frustrating and even a bit frightening! If you can’t get to the backend, how can you fix the problem? Take a breath and read on. This article addresses your website being down because of a failed plugin update or software conflict with a plugin.
You may know you have a failed plugin update because WP actually sends an email to the admin email on the account to let you know! This has happened to me numerous times with a site I manage that has bloated software issues. Part of the email is below. I didn’t include the recovery url. I did go back and try to use it, but it said the link is only good for 24 hours and it’ll resend you a link (this didn’t happen though). I also went to WP forums where many people said their links didn’t work.
WordPress even tells you which plugin caused the problem – nice. Hopefully they are right – you can at least start out with the plugin mentioned. Now you know what it is, let’s go to your hosting company’s cpanel (control panel).
Login to WordPress Hosting Cpanel
For this to work, you’ll need to be able to log in and have cpanel access where your website is hosted. After you’re in, then go to the cpanel area and find and click on File Manager. Next, click on the public_html – that’s where your website files are usually found. Below, you’ll see the public_html has been expanded as well as wp-content. Wp-content contains your theme, plugin and upload files. Plugins are located in wp-content. In this example, I clicked on the plugins folder and renamed it plugins-x. This disabled all plugins.
When I went to the website (I wasn’t locked out in this example), I did a refresh (F5). Then I saw the image below because I was already logged in. But if you do this, you won’t see anything when you click the Plugins button because all have been deactivated. But it does allow you to log into the website.
In my case, when this actually happened to me, I renamed the plugins folder, logged in and when I clicked on the Plugins button, the screen I saw was different and I was actually able to activate the plugins one-by-one. In this example, I was not offered that choice. In fact, after I clicked off the plugins screen and then went back to it, it said I had no plugins at all. But don’t worry – they are all still there, they have to be reactivated.
Now, go back to your Plugins folder and rename, making sure it just says Plugins. Then go back to your website, refresh and all your plugins should be back – with all of them deactivated. If you got an email from WordPress saying which one(s) were the culprit, activate the others and check your site along the way. When your site breaks after activating a specific plugin, then you know for sure which one it is!
How To Deactivate Specific Plugins in Cpanel
If you want to deactivate specific plugins, simply expand the wp-plugins folder and you’ll see all your plugins. In the example below, I’ve renamed two of the folders. When I went back to the website, these two plugins were deactivated and I could choose to reactivate them.
I hope this step-by-step was helpful. It’s usually a pretty big error when you can’t log into your WordPress website. If you are the person in charge of your website, it’s a good idea to spend a little time logging into your host’s website to get familiar with your cpanel. You could also use FTP to accomplish the same thing.
Video of How To Rename WordPress Plugins Folder To Get Into Backend
Here’s the video I made on how to rename your Plugins folder at your hosting company. It’s also over on my YouTube Channel.
If you can’t log into your website for other reasons, you could check out this article by FixRunner – they go over 6 reasons you may not be able to log in along with the proper fixes for each – https://www.fixrunner.com/cannot-login-wordpress-admin-area/.