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How to Password Protect Your WordPress Admin (wp-admin) Directory

Do you want to learn how to password protect your WordPress admin directory?

Adding another layer of password protection to your WordPress admin directory can be a great way to improve your WordPress security.

In this article, you’ll learn how you can password protect your wp-admin directory easily.

How to password protect your WordPress admin (wp-admin) directory

Why Password Protect Your WordPress Admin Directory?

By password protecting your WordPress admin directory, you improve the security of the most important entry point to your website.

Your WordPress admin dashboard is the central hub of your WordPress website. It’s where you’ll publish posts and pages, customize your theme, install WordPress plugins, and more.

Often, when hackers try to get into your website, they’ll do it through the wp-admin screen. You can help to protect your website against potential attacks by using a secure password and limiting login attempts. Password protecting your admin directory is a smart way to add another layer of password protection to your website.

With that said, let’s take a look at how you can password protect your WordPress admin directory step by step. Simply use the quick links below to jump straight to the method you want to use.

Method 1: Password Protect Your WordPress Admin Directory in Your Web Hosting Dashboard

The easiest way to password protect your WordPress admin directory is by going through your WordPress hosting file manager app.

Note: Most web hosts using cPanel, like Bluehost, will have similar steps. However, your dashboard might be slightly different from our screenshots depending on your hosting provider.

First you need to log in to your hosting account dashboard and click on the ‘Directory Privacy’ option in the ‘Files’ section.

Click directory privacy

This brings you to a screen that lists all of the different directories on your server. You need to find the folder that’s for your website.

For most website owners, this can be found by clicking on the ‘public_html’ folder.

Click public_html

This brings up all of the website files you’ve installed on your server.

Next you’ll need to click on the folder with your website’s domain name.

Click domain name folder

In that folder, you’ll see a ‘wp-admin’ folder.

Instead of clicking the folder name, you’ll need to click the ‘Edit’ button next to that folder.

Click edit wp-admin folder

This brings you to a screen where you can turn on password protection.

Simply check the box that says ‘Password protect this directory’, and give your directory a name to help you remember.

Check password protect directory box

Then click the ‘Save’ button.

This will take you to a page where the confirmation message will appear.

Confirmation message click back button

After that, click the ‘Go Back’ button and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can create a user that will be able to access this directory.

You need to enter a username, password, and then confirm the password.

Make sure to note your username and password in a safe place, such as a password manager app.

Enter username and password

Then, make sure you click the ‘Save’ button.

Now, when you log in to your site, you’ll be prompted to enter the username and password you created above.

Password protect WordPress admin example

Method 2: Password Protect Your WordPress Admin Directory by Adding Code to WordPress Files

You can also password protect your WordPress admin directory manually. To do this you’ll need to create a .htpasswd file and a new .htaccess file.

First, open up your preferred text editor and name the new file .htaccess.

After that, you need to copy the following code snippet and add it to the file.

AuthName "Admins Only"
AuthUserFile /home/user/public_html/example.com/wp-admin/.htpasswd
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
AuthType basic
require user yourusername

You need to change the ‘AuthUserFile’ path to the location where you’ll upload the .htpasswd file and change ‘yourusername’ to the username you want to use to login.

Then, you need to connect to your WordPress hosting account with an FTP client. For more details, see our beginner’s guide on how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

After that, go to the ‘wp-admin’ directory for the site you want to protect and upload the file.

FTP wp-admin directory

Once you’ve done that, you need to create a .htpasswd file.

To do this, open up a text editor and create a file called .htpasswd. This file will list your username along with your password in an encrypted format.

The easiest way to generate an .htpasswd file is to use a htpasswd generator.

Simply enter your username, password, select the encryption format, and click the ‘Create .htpasswd file’ button.

Create htpasswd file

Then, you need to copy the text and paste it into your .htpasswd file.

Finally, you need to save and upload the file to the file path that you specified in your .htaccess file above.

Now your ‘wp-admin’ directory will be password protected.

Troubleshooting WordPress Admin Password Protection

Depending on how your server and website are set up, there’s a chance you might run into errors.

One of the most common errors is Ajax functionality not working on the front end of your site. If you have WordPress plugins that require Ajax, such as live Ajax search or Ajax contact forms, then these plugins won’t work anymore.

To fix this, simply add the following code to the .htaccess file that’s located in your ‘wp-admin’ folder.

<Files admin-ajax.php>
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
    Satisfy any 
</Files>

Another error you might run into is a 404 error or too many redirects error.

The simplest way to fix this is to open up your main .htaccess file located in your website directory and add the following line of code before the WordPress rules.

ErrorDocument 401 default

Note: This is the .htaccess file located in your main website folder, not the one we uploaded to the ‘wp-admin’ folder. If you’re having trouble finding it, then see our guide on why you can’t find .htaccess and how to locate it.

We hope this article helped you learn how to password protect your WordPress admin (wp-admin) directory. You may also want to see our expert picks of the best email marketing services for small businesses and our guide on how to get a free email domain.

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Reader Interactions

192 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. What if someone accesses our WordPress admin directory by entering mywebsite.com/wp-login.php instead of mywebsite.com/wp-admin. This method only protects wp-admin and not protects wp-login.php. So how it is useful?

    • We’ll see if we can add a method for that type of server when we update this article :)

      Admin

  2. The first method through cPanel worked like a charm. However, when I logout again from WP and login again it doesn’t ask again for the directory password. Is it meant to ask only once?

    • Your cookies/cache will remember the login information. Normally the next time you start up your computer it will require you to log in again.

      Admin

  3. The “Password Protect Directories” is not on my cPanel under “securitiy”, so I tried the manual way, but it doesn’t seem to work as it doesn’t ask for login when I open wp-admin…

    • If you reach out to your hosting provider they should be able to assist and take a look if there’s any reason it wouldn’t be working.

      Admin

  4. Thanks for your efforts!
    I used cpanel method it works fine but the problem is that the password prompt appearing on every page of my website!

    What i have to do so that it appear only at wp-admin page?

    • It sounds like you may have password protected your public_html folder instead of the wp-admin folder. You would want to remove the current protection and attempt to set it up again

      Admin

    • That would be where your WordPress folders are, you could either use FTP or your host’s file manager if they have one to get to your WordPress files.

      Admin

  5. Please this settings works fine for me, but my problem is that am using woocommerce and yith woocoomerce my account page, so when ever users login to their my-account area they are often prompted to put the login details for my protected admin, how can i fix this?

    • For that, you would want to remove this protection unless you wanted to give each user a login for the httpassword

      Admin

    • It would depend on the specific error you are running into when trying to get to your admin area for how to solve the problem

      Admin

  6. Hy buddy, i had tried cpanel method which doesnt work for me but manual method work as shown above.

    But i have one problem after going example.com/admin, i have to enter directory username and password but after after entering nothing happens means it does not redirect me to dashboard or anywhere. Just same page — shoing waiting for connection for example.com and get error too many redirect.

  7. Wow,

    You are a legend! Spent like 2hrs jumping from site to site to get this working… First site that mentioned the ErrorDocument 401 default. Works like a charm now

    Thanks

  8. Thanks so much – this is the first place I have found with all 3 bits of code that was needed – (I had the redirect problem). The code worked like a charm. I now have an extra layer of protection without adding another potentially vulnerable plugin.

  9. All I get after adding the above code in a .htacess file on /wp-admin folder is 500 internal server error.

    • If the htaccess method is not working you could remove the code and then use the cpanel method for password protecting the directory

      Admin

  10. I did this, followed the link for the error message and for some reason I don’t have a .htaccess file!

  11. I followed the steps but i now can’t log in . It says “The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.”

    even on refreshing the page the pop up to key in password does not re-appear help out

  12. hi,

    i bought new name and i change the name of website and than save it . now i cant login to admin. it show me 404 erorr
    how can i change it
    please advise

    • You would want to reach out to your hosting provider and they should be able to help you have your new domain point toward where your site is currently

      Admin

  13. I have activated password protection to wordpress directory via c-panel but wordfence is unable to scan my site. Due to ajax issue.

    I tried fixing it by updating my wp-admin/.htaccess file with the provided code by you but wordfence is still unable to start a scan. What do you suggest?

    • You may want to ensure your caching is cleared and if that error continues, reach out to Wordfence about their plugin

      Admin

  14. Enabling password protection of the wp-admin directory prevents me as logging in as the administrator. I get a page not found error. I cannot get to the login page. If I remove the password protection, I can login.

    What should I do. I am setting up a WordPress website for the first time.

  15. So how do you undo the password protect using the cPanel ..that is, I want to remove my password protection for the wp-admin directory

  16. I followed the instructions to add the password protection using c_panel.

    It works fine in IE 11 but doesn’t work in: Edge; Firefox; Chrome; or Opera.
    Any ideas?

      • I’m not sure what I missed, given that it worked in IE but not in the other browsers. I deleted the user to whom I had given access and added the same user back in and, “Voila!”, all is good.

  17. > Upload this file outside your /public_html/ directory.

    Good advice—more generally: outside your DocRoot.

    > A good path would be: home/user/.htpasswds/public_html/wp-admin/passwd/

    That, however, doesn’t seem to be outside your DocRoot ;)

  18. hi syed, i followed your tutorial as i do always whenever i find a problem but i am facing this error continiously.

    ERROR –

    “401
    Unauthorized

    Proper authorization is required to access this resource!”

    1. I made htpassword file properly with user name and password.
    2. Edited main .htaccess file with proper code.
    3. Implemented this line in .htaccess file on topas first line
    ErrorDocument 401 default
    4. Add AJAX functionality code

    After doing all this i see additional popup box which need login details for wp-admin. – Success here

    But i’m not able to access my home page like example.com. popupbox appears again without calling /wp-admin. Please tell how to remove this 401 Error. I see that many bloggers asked this issue in comment section, but you didn’t reply. I hope you will soon address the problem.

    • Hello Pawan,

      This could be because the password your entered is incorrect or your server couldn’t find the .htpasswds file. We will recommend you to retrace your steps to figure out what went wrong.

      Admin

      • I am seeing the same issue. On subpages on my site, when I have my /wp-admin/ .htaccess password protecting my site, I get the user/pass pop-up box on pages on the front end.

        The temporary solution was to just remove the htaccess file from wp-admin. Now i am trying to put it back, so I’ll see what i can come up with and post back if i figure it out.

  19. Thank you for this. I worked really well especially that line “ErrorDocument 401 default” that prevented it from giving 404 error. I really dont miss tweet from you. My question now is, how can someone remove the password? And again, will the password be required upon users registration via a custom registration page?

  20. after using this method now when i try to go in wp-admin its says me maintenance mood ( this mode is on in my wp dashboard ) .. so how can i use it ?

  21. Do you have a method using IIS? I’ll be glad if you have. I’m very new to WordPress running in IIS server.

  22. hi how to change my cpanel default url like “www.example.com/cpanel” to “www.example.com/customized”
    there is nothing on the internet about this topic.

  23. Hi my dear friends I have a problem. I want to make double autentification on my wordpress.But there is conflict in wordpress htacsess between wp default rules and this code:

    AuthType Basic
    AuthName “Password Protected”
    AuthUserFile path/to/.htpasswd
    Require valid-user
    Satisfy All

    I get error like 500 or error “this page is wrong”, but after delating wp default rules my code work.There is some conflict between wp code and my code! Can anyone take solution!

  24. A very nice approach, but I also suggest to go secure with https, because no matter how protected the admin panel is, with passwords, the passwords itself are not secure if it’s not https.

  25. Hey guys, my issue is related to this post but it is little different too.
    I need to password protect my wp-content folder in my hosting.
    I called my godaddy hosting and they said that it is not possible.
    But i need to password protect it.
    Can someone help me out please?

  26. Password Protecting WordPress Admin with Permalink “Post Name” gives error error login page( Redirect too many times). How to solve?

  27. Can I do this for my wp-login?

    The wp-admin is password protected and gives out a 401 if some tries to exit the pop-up (so 0 access without the 1st password).

    But my wp-login allows access to a disfigured wp-login page if someone exits out of the pop-up.

  28. That’s a great article.

    However, I’d like to ask you how can I track the who visits the page (IP, etc) even though if they don’t type any username or password or type wrong ones. I can’t seem to find a way to do that.

    Please let me know.
    Thanks!

  29. Thanks for this article. It is really helped me lot save the login form anonymous person. But, i have an issue on my site. Whenever the user visits and entering to the single post page it asks the user enter the username password, Even though they have didn’t accessed the wp -admin. it happens only in Mozilla browser. How to solve this?

  30. I has finished setting protect password for wp-admin folder. But i can not registered new account for guest. Because it apperance pop-up login require username/password.

  31. sir actually i have changed my admin directory from example.com/wp-admin to example.com/abcde …how to password protect it now

  32. Thanks for this valuable info.I have question I want to setup limit login Attempts if users fails 1st time then try after 24 hrs latter how to I make this on cpanel?

  33. Hi there I do password protect my wp-admin directory and I did add that code to my htaccess …but…it is still asking for authorization.

    Any suggestions?

  34. i dont ve set password for wp-admin folder but still it shows authorization dialog .
    how to solve the issue,

      • Hi, I am also facing the same problem. May I know what are the changes that have to be done in server configuration?

        Please let me know as soon as possible.

  35. I recently added password protected my “wp-admin” directory and my “wp-includes” directory. Now each time i try to access my “wp-admin” page with it’s username and password that i created i get to dialogue box popping up for me to enter the username and password for that of the “wp-includes” directory before signing in to the main wordpress admin page.

    Have you encountered such issue with wordpress before?

  36. Thanx so much for this! After an extended break from blogging I installed a new blog today and as soon as I password protected the admin directory I got the redirect error. This fix worked flawlessly :)

  37. After setting this security. Server always ask for password with a popup even in a user visit the site home page. Is there any way to overcome this.

    • This gets resolved once you add the htaccess entry for admin-ajax.php. Follow the tutorial section towards the end.

  38. You saved me a lot of time .
    I was looking arrange the problem and you post save me !
    thanks again ¡

  39. There is no htaccess file in my wp-admin folder! There is only one in var/www
    How do I fix the Ajax problem?

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