The WordPress login page is the gateway to your WordPress site. It’s where you gain access to your site, where your site’s users will gain entry (if you make your site public), and where some hackers will attempt to brute force their way into your site.
All that to say – for such a simple page, there’s a lot going on!
In this post, I’m going to dig into everything about the hard-working WordPress login page. I’ll start with some very basic concepts and then build up to customizing the WordPress login page and adding some basic security hardening. When you finish this post, you’ll know:
- How to find your login page, as well as your credentials to log into your WordPress site.
- How to customize your login page to give it unique styling to match the rest of your site.
- A way to improve your login page’s security by changing the URL at which it is located.
- A method to further harden your login page’s security by limiting login attempts.
If you’re already familiar with how to log in to WordPress, you can go ahead and skip the first section. Otherwise, let’s get started!
How Do You Log In to a WordPress Site?
To log in to your WordPress site, you’ll need three key pieces of information:
- Login URL
Let’s quickly go through where to find each piece of information.
How Do You Find Your WordPress Username and Password?
Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact answer here. But I can suggest a few places to look.
First off, if you manually installed WordPress, you should remember having entered a username and password during the installation process. That’s the information you need to log in to your WordPress dashboard.
But, given how most hosts have automated the process of installing WordPress, there’s a good chance you either started off with pre-installed WordPress or installed WordPress with a one-click autoinstaller.
In those cases, you should have either:
- Received an email from your hosting provider with your WordPress login details.
- Set your login details when you installed WordPress with an autoinstaller.
For example, here’s a shot of what it looks like to install WordPress with an autoinstaller:
How Do You Find Your WordPress Login URL?
The second part of the puzzle is actually finding your WordPress login URL to enter your username and password.
There’s a simple trick to do this that works across all normal WordPress installations. All you need to do is append /wp-login.php to the end of your WordPress site’s homepage.
For example, if your site is www.yourdomain.com, you can find your login page at www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php.
When you visit that URL, you should see a screen where you can enter your username and password from the previous step:
If you forgot your WordPress password, you can also click the Lost your password? link to get a password reset at your admin email.
So that’s the basics of the WordPress login page – but let’s go a little bit further and learn how to customize it and harden its security.
How Can You Customize the WordPress Login Page?
As you saw in the screenshot above, the default WordPress login page is pretty generic. It uses the WordPress logo instead of your site’s logo and lacks any unique styling.
Let’s change that! There are a bunch of plugins that can help you do this. But I like one called, quite creatively, Custom Login Page Customizer.
I recommend this one because it allows you to make your changes in the real-time WordPress customizer interface. That means each time you make a tweak, you can instantly see that change reflected on a live preview of your login page.
How to Use Custom Login Page Customizer Plugin
To get started, you need to install and activate the free Custom Login Page Customizer plugin. You can do this by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for the plugin:
Once you activate the plugin, head to Appearance → Login Customizer in your dashboard sidebar. Then click Start Customizing:
You should see a live preview of your login page as well as some options in your sidebar. Choose the Login Customizer option to start switching things up:
Then, you can move through the various options to add custom styling to your login page. The plugin lets you:
- Add your own logo
- Set a custom background image or color
- Add a separate form background color
- Customize your form and its fields
- Change up the form button
- Change other text colors
These options are fairly self-explanatory – and again, each time you make a tweak, you’ll see the changes in real-time.
While I won’t show you each option individually, here’s a quick idea of how things work:
Once you’re happy with how your new login page looks, make sure to hit the Save & Publish button to save your changes.
How Can You Change the WordPress Login Page URL?
Now that you’ve got a custom login page all set up, it’s time to go one step further and add some security hardening to your login page.
One common Internet attack is called a brute force attack. In a brute force attack, hackers try to “guess” your username and password over and over and over (and over!) until they, hopefully, find a match.
While creating a strong password is one of the best ways to combat brute force attacks, changing your login page URL can also add some “security by obscurity”. While it probably won’t stop a dedicated hacker from finding your login page, it is a solid way to thwart low-level automated attacks.
And it’s also super easy to do thanks to a free plugin called WPS Hide Login.
Just like before, you can install WPS Hide Login directly from your WordPress dashboard by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for it.
Then, there’s really only one thing that you need to configure. Go to Settings → General and scroll to the bottom to find the WPS Hide Login option. All you need to do is enter a new URL for your login page and click Save Changes:
Make sure to remember this URL, because your original WordPress login URL will no longer work once you hit Save Changes.
How Can You Limit Login Attempts on WordPress?
If you want to go one step further, you can also limit the number of incorrect login attempts a user can make. If a user attempts too many incorrect login combinations, they’ll get locked out for 60 minutes.
To limit login attempts for WordPress, you can use a free plugin called Login LockDown. Like before, just install and activate it from your WordPress dashboard. Then, head to Settings → Login LockDown to configure it:
You don’t need to change any of the defaults. But if you’d like to allow a higher, or lower, number of failed attempts, as well as change the “lockout” period, you can do that here.
Wrapping Things Up
At this point, you should know pretty everything thing there is to know about WordPress and its login page!
If you’re the only one who’s going to be logging in to your site, you can probably just implement the security tweaks and call it a day. If other people will be using your site as well, you might want to throw in the custom styling, too.
If you have any other questions about logging into WordPress or customizing your WordPress site’s login page, leave them in the comments and I’ll try to help out.