How we got locked out of our own website — and finally got back in!

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This is a small technical tip that we’re posting in case it can help another WordPress user. For our readers who don’t know or care what WordPress is, just delete this message. For those who do, WordPress is a blogging and content management system which is used by millions of users to create and manage online content, from the most insignificant blogs (like http://myphilippinelife.com or http://goiloilo.com) to major newspapers such as the blogs of the New York Times.

I did a really foolish thing. I was migrating our blog goiloilo.com to a new domain, myphilippinelife.com. Since we had quite a few links to and readers of our old blog, goiloilo.com, we wanted to redirect them to the new site, myphilippinelife.com.

Using the wonderful Redirection plug-in for WordPress, we redirected certain popular posts from the old site to the new. That worked fine. Then we added a wild-card redirect to send all the hundreds of other posts automatically to the new site’s homepage. It worked beautifully. For example, users would click the goiloilo.com link http://goiloilo.com/buying-a-laptop-computer-for-the-philippines and be whisked to http://myphilippinelife.com/buying-a-laptop-computer-philippines/ automatically.

I logged out of my WordPress goiloilo.com administrative account. When I went to log back in again, to http://goiloilo.com *I* was redirected to http://myphilippinelife.com/. We could not access our own blog. I could not get in to delete that wild card redirect. I was locked out of our own site.

I tried everything. Here’s how I finally broke back in to our site. I logged into our CPanel account. Both the new and old site are on the same shared server. Then I opened phpMyAdmin. That’s a utility which allows you to see and edit the SQL database which underlies WordPress. Mistakes in using phpMyAdmin can be disastrous, as I found out when I did a global delete of “goiloilo.com” from my SQL database rather than a search for goiloilo.com and replacement with myphilippinelife.com. That has resulted in hundreds of hours of manual work repairing links to hundreds and hundreds of photos.

Getting back to my lockout problem, phpMyAdmin allowed me to browse the redirects that the Redirection plug-in had created and to select and delete the wildcard redirect which was locking us out of our own site. Problem solved. We hope this may help anyone else who does the same foolish thing!

phpMyAdmin redirects

 

Here’s a link to the excellent Redirection plug-in web site.

Comments (2) Write a comment

  1. Thanks for the tip, Bob, glad you got back in. I just recently changed my Word Press theme because my website was loading really slow, but with the new change, the site loads pretty quickly now. I’ll keep your info on hand for future reference.

    Reply

    • Thanks Dave. It’s been a struggle for me. I ran our blog starting in 2008, but I really knew almost nothing about the technical aspects. I had a designer get it up on WordPress and make it look a little better, but I never did anything but take photos and write posts. I never dared update WordPress. Then, late last year Google notified me that someone had injected “cloaked spam” into goiloilo.com. All it was was a bit of code in my CSS template. I tried to get the designer who did the earlier work to fix the problems, but he was too busy. I decided to try to do it myself and I have been struggling to learn about plug-ins, themes, HTML, REGEX etc. I’m an old guy, so it’s a bit slow, but I am enjoying cleaning out the mental cobwebs by working on the blog, http://myphilippinelife.com. Regards, Bob

      Reply

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