Manual:Resetting passwords

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There are any number of situations where a user may need to reset their password. Typically, people either forget their password or experience some kind of security breach that may have disclosed their password. For most situations, they can reset their own password using "Email new password".

In situations that are complicated by the user forgetting their account name or losing access to their email, additional measures may need to be taken by an administrator or system administrator.


Use Special:UserLogin[edit]

If you know the username for an account, you can use the "Email new password" feature on the Special:UserLogin page. To use the feature, visit the Special:UserLogin page for the relevant wiki, fill in the Username field of the form and press the ”Email new password" button. A temporary password, along with instructions on how to reset the account's password, will be sent to the email address associated with the username.

Finding the username for a given email address[edit]

If you know the email address for a user, but not their username, query the userManual:user table table of the MediaWiki database to find the associated username. For example, to find the username for, run the following query:

SELECT user_name FROM user WHERE user_email = '';

Use the changePassword.php maintenance script[edit]

The changePassword.phpManual:changePassword.php maintenance script allows system administrators to change the password for an account. For complete instructions see changePassword.phpManual:changePassword.php. If you are already familiar with maintenance scripts, run the following command:

# set the password for username 'example' to 'newpassword'
php changePassword.php --user=example --password=newpassword

Caution: System administrators should not know the unencrypted password for user accounts. A user may use the same password over many different sites. If one of their accounts that uses the same password is compromised, then suspicion can be thrown on the administrator. It is better to use "Email new password" to force the user to reset the password for their own account.

Use Special:PasswordReset[edit]

Special:PasswordReset allows accounts with the 'passwordreset' permission to reset account passwords for the local installation of MediaWiki.

To use:

  • Type username you want to reset in box provided and click "Reset password"
  • An automatically generated password will be emailed to the user

For automatically inserting the username in links, use Special:PasswordReset?wpUsername=Foo.

Direct database modification[edit]

To reset a password you can change the value of user_password field, in user table. However, it's generally far easier and safer to use "Email new password" or use the changePassword.php script.

Note Note: If your MediaWiki installation uses a memory cache, such as APC, memcached or Redis, then the user object is cached. Thus after making SQL changes you must flush the cache before a user can log in with the new password.

For MediaWiki Version 1.13 and above[edit]

You should choose the salted or unsalted method depending on the value of $wgPasswordSaltManual:$wgPasswordSalt in LocalSettings.phpManual:LocalSettings.php.

MySQL unsalted
UPDATE `user` SET user_password = CONCAT(':A:', MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
MySQL salted (make sure both instances of "somesalt" are the same)
UPDATE `user` SET user_password = CONCAT(':B:somesalt:', MD5(CONCAT('somesalt-', MD5('somepass')))) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
PostgreSQL unsalted
update mwuser SET user_password = text(':A:') || MD5('somepass') WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
PostgreSQL salted (make sure both instances of "somesalt" are the same)
update mwuser SET user_password = text(':B:somesalt:') || MD5(text('somesalt-') || MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';

For MediaWiki Version 1.12 and below[edit]


UPDATE user SET user_password = MD5(CONCAT(user_id, '-', MD5('somepass'))) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';


UPDATE mwuser SET user_password = MD5(text("user_id") || text('-') || MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';


Also restarting Apache and clearing your browser cache might help.

You can copy the known password from one account to another: (Tested on Mediawiki 1.15, MySQL)

SELECT user_id, user_name, user_password FROM user;
| user_id | user_name | user_password                                |
|       1 | User1     | :B:1d8f41af:1ba8866d9c43d30b7bc037db03a067de |
|       2 | User2     | :B:ee53710f:4291b056175513a5602d48eaeb79705c |

UPDATE user SET user_password = ':B:ee53710f:4291b056175513a5602d48eaeb79705c' WHERE user_id = 1;