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How to Fix the WordPress Login Page Refreshing & Redirecting Issue

The WordPress login page refreshing and redirecting issue is mysterious, but it’s generally an easy fix. It will take a little troubleshooting on your part, but we’ll try to break things down and make them as simple as possible.

The first thing you can do is clear your browser’s cookies and cache. This is the easiest fix for this issue, and it’s effective in most cases. If you find no success doing that, move onto figuring out if a plugin or theme is causing the issue as well as seeing if a corrupted file is the culprit.

Fix Your WordPress Login Page Issues by Clearing Cookies

WordPress scripts use cookies from your browser for security purposes. It authenticates your login information, but these cookies can cause a myriad of issues at times, including redirecting you back to the login page.

Fixing this issue may be as simple as clearing your browser’s cookies, which is something you should do on a regular basis anyway to keep your browser’s performance running in tip-top shape.

Clear the cookies and cache in your preferred browser. Clear everything “from the beginning of time” if you can. Otherwise, go back as far as you can or as far as you’re willing to at the very least.

Check if a Plugin is Causing WordPress Login Page Issues

Plugins are incredibly useful. They play huge roles in the success of WordPress, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Anyone can create a WordPress plugin, making the possibility of you installing a plugin made by an inexperienced developer highly likely. Some plugins just may not update properly no matter how well coded they are.

Login page issues can be frustrating due to the fact that it makes it impossible for you to access your WordPress dashboard, making this troubleshooting step a little more difficult than it needs to be. We need to deactivate all of your plugins to see if a faulty plugin might be causing this issue for you, and we’ll need to use an FTP client to do this as we can’t access the admin panel.

How to Set Up FileZilla

Feel free to skip these setup instructions if you’re already familiar with using FTP clients.

FileZilla is one of the most popular FTP clients available. It lets you access your site’s files in the same way your host’s file manager, such as cPanel, does.

Download FileZilla here. Pick a version compatible with your operating system. Run the installer once it downloads, install the program on your system, and open it.

Click File from the menu at the top, and select Site Manager.

FileZilla Settings

Enter your site name as a label, and enter/configure the following settings in the General tab:

  • Host – Your domain: example.com
  • Port – Leave blank.
  • Protocol – FTP – File Transfer Protocol
  • Encryption – Only use plain FTP (insecure)
  • Logon Type – Normal

Use the login credentials you use to log in to your host’s file manager as your username and password. If your host uses cPanel, use the login credentials you use to access cPanel.

Open the Transfer Settings tab. Tick the box for Limit Number of Simultaneous Connections, and enter 8 as the Maximum Number of Connections.

Deactivating Your Plugins Through an FTP Server

Deactivating your plugins through an FTP server is one of the simplest tasks you can do with an FTP client.

Start by opening your site’s root directory. It’s typically called public_html. If you see folders called wp-content and wp-admin, you’re in the right place.

Rename Plugins Folder

Open the wp-content folder. Find the Plugins folder. Right-click it, and rename it to anything you want, such as “plugins-old”. This action deactivates all of the plugins on your site.

Refresh FileZilla

Click the refresh button at the top of FileZilla, as depicted in the image above.

Try logging into your WordPress site now. If you’re able to access the WordPress dashboard without it redirecting you back to the WordPress login page, your problem is with one of your plugins.

If this did not solve your issue, continue to the next troubleshooting step.

Determining Which Plugin is Causing Your WordPress Login Page Issues

Log out of WordPress. Go back into the FTP client, and rename the Plugins folder back to “plugins”. Try signing into WordPress again just to make sure this recreates the issue.

Open your Plugins folder. Right-click on one of your plugins’ folders, and rename it to anything you want. I suggest keeping the original name and adding something to it so you don’t forget which plugin it is.

After you rename one of the folders, try signing into your site. If the problem persists, it’s caused by another plugin, and you should repeat the steps. Keep the folders renamed until you find the plugin that’s causing your issue.

If the problem goes away, it was caused by the plugin you deactivated last. You can delete it through the WordPress admin panel. If you need it for your site, see if you can find a suitable replacement. Otherwise, contact the developer directly to see if there’s a fix.

Deleting the .htaccess File

The .htaccess file is an essential file, but it can become corrupted at times for reasons we may never know. When the .htaccess file becomes corrupted, it can cause a myriad of issues, one of them being this WordPress login page issue.

Open your site’s root directory via your preferred FTP client. If you’ve been following along with this tutorial, open it through FileZilla. If you see folders called wp-content and wp-admin, you’re in the right place.

Force Showing Hidden Files

Your .htaccess file is located in your site’s root directory, but .htaccess is a “dotfile.” Some file managers hide these types of files by default, so if you don’t see a .htaccess file in your root directory, don’t fret. Simply click Server in the menu at the top, and select Force Showing Hidden Files.

Once you find the file, double-click it to download a copy of it to your computer. This step is very important.

Once you have a copy of your .htaccess file saved to your computer, right-click on the file, and delete it. Try signing into your WordPress site to see if the login page issue went away.

If the issue goes away, it was caused by a corrupted .htaccess file. Open your Settings menu in WordPress, and select Permalinks. Scroll down to the bottom of the Permalink settings page, and click Save Changes. This generates a new .htaccess file for your site.

If the issues does not go away, re-upload the .htaccess file you saved to your computer to your root directory, and continue with the next troubleshooting step.

Check if Your Theme is Causing WordPress Login Page Issues

Things can go wrong when you make changes to your WordPress site, and that includes your theme’s files. You may be experiencing this login page issue after installing a new theme, updating a current one or updating WordPress in general.

Open your site’s root directory in FileZilla or your preferred FTP client. Open the wp-content folder, and open the Themes folder. See if you have WordPress’ default theme, which is named after the current year. Skip this next section if you do.

Uploading a Default Theme via FTP

If you don’t have a default theme, go to the WordPress theme repository, and download the current default theme. Again, this will be named after the current year. If you’re reading this in 2016, download Twenty Sixteen. If you’re reading this in 2017, download Twenty Seventeen, and so on and so forth.

Normally, you would install the zipped version of a theme. This works in the admin panel, but we need to upload a different file when we install a new theme via FTP.

Extract the zipped folder, and open FileZilla. You should already have the Themes folder open in the right panel. Use the left panel in FileZilla to navigate to the folder on your computer where the theme is saved to.

Open the extracted folder to find the actual folder you need to upload to the FTP server. This will be called “twentysixteen”, “twentyseventeen”, etc.

Upload Theme via FTP

Click the folder, and drag it over to the panel that contains the Themes folder to upload it to your WordPress site.

Deactivating Your Theme

FileZilla Panels

There are four “views” or “panels” in FileZilla. If you don’t know how to get back to the root directory, use the upper right-hand panel to find it, and double-click it.

Open wp-content again. Rename the Themes folder to anything you want, such as “themes-old” to deactivate your current theme. WordPress will try and find your default theme as a backup.

Try signing into WordPress. If the issue goes away, it was caused by your theme. Activate a default theme if WordPress failed to do so, or activate a different theme if you’re already using one of their default themes.

Download a fresh copy of your theme from wherever you got it from. Delete the one that’s already installed on your site, and upload the new copy. Sign out, and try signing back in to see if the issue is fixed. If it’s not, contact the theme’s developer to see if they have a solution for you. Otherwise, you might need to consider purchasing a new theme.

Defining Your Site’s URL by Adding Code to wp-config.php

Some people have solved this issue by defining their site’s URL. All you need to do is add two lines of code to your wp-config.php file. It’s that simple.

Define Site URL for WordPress Login Page Issue

Open your site’s root directory, and double-click your wp-config.php file to download it. Open it with a text editor on your computer, and paste this code into it:

define('WP_HOME','http://yourdomain.com');
define('WP_SITEURL','http://yourdomain.com');

Change “yourdomain.com” to your actual domain. If you use www at the beginning of your URL, add it as well.

Final Thoughts

This is definitely one of the most mysterious and frustrating issues you can have on your WordPress site, but there’s no clear way to prevent it from happening, unfortunately.

The best thing you can do is treat your site with respect by keeping plugins, themes and WordPress updated, and creating regular backups, especially right before you make big changes. Clicking Update for a plugin or theme may not seem like a big change, but that little action can break your site if the update you’re installing is coded poorly.

If you’re still new to the world of WordPress, check out Nick’s guide on the top mistakes beginner WordPress users make as well as how to do avoid them.

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2 comments

  1. Tony Walker says:

    Done all of these things and still cannot access my wp-Admin or wp-login. I a beginning to hate WordPress with a passion

  2. Tina Avent says:

    Same here. I have had this happen before on specific browsers and just switched what browser I use to edit. Today I cant login on any browser ant tried two different logins. Others in my company are able to login, this seems to be something that is happening on my computer specifically. I have reinstalled browsers and reset them to defaults/cleared all data. I am the lead developer, this is a problem.

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