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Short story: I need to change the email address for a WordPress account hosted on a cPanel server I manage. The owner has forgotten their password and her reset requests are coming to me.

Long story: I manage a hosting server at a higher ed school. Quite often Faculty ignore updating even security patches/updates even if emails are sent to them. A previous admin used to modify the rescue email address for their site, change their password, then update their site, and change the email address back. I think he would then do a request for forgotten password and then they would reset the password back. I believe he forgot to change one address back so I'd like to do this but I'm unsure where that email address for the account is stored.

Thanks!

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You could hop into phpMyAdmin to start your search.

Usually, general update emails go to the site admin. Look in the wp_options table for admin_email. That may be it.

You'll also have to take into account whatever plugins they're using. Some may send additional update emails, or override default ones, so it may also help to actually get into wp-admin and see what's installed and what the settings are rather than trying to search through the whole database. Make a backup, and then one option if you don't already have a login is to edit wp_users - set one of the email addresses that belongs to an admin to your own email address, and then you can use the reset-password trick. Then browse through plugins and their settings to find out all the emails they may be going to.

While you're in there, it sounds like it might be beneficial to add a security plugin that will automatically force updates, if the admins aren't going to do it like they should. This will help ensure the server you manage isn't as easy to hack.

  • Thanks Elaine! The exact email address I'm looking for is the one used when you click I forgot my password. I'm not certain, that's the same associated with plugins but I'm not a Wordpress guru or anything close to it! Ha! – Athens Matt Jun 5 '18 at 15:11
  • When you use the forgot my password link, the email goes to the user who is trying to log in. If you look in the wp_users database table and find the username you are trying to log in as, you can set the email address there. Since the email goes to individual users I have not seen it overridden before - always possible but highly unlikely - so there's a 99% chance that is the email address you're looking for. – WebElaine Jun 5 '18 at 16:30
  • Elaine, thank you for your help! You were exactly right, as I'm sure you knew. I found the change to my email address, I used sqlyog instead of myphpadmin, and was able to change it back to the owner's email address in the wp_users table. – Athens Matt Jun 6 '18 at 17:22

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