How to Change Your WordPress Admin Email When You Can’t Verify Your Email Address (A Guide for Lazy Cheapskate Web Developers)

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One of the problems I’ve been facing since WP 5.3 update is the “new feature” of having to verify administrator emails.

In theory, having to verify a change of email for your WordPress site is a great thing for security. The problem for me, however, is in order to get and receive emails from your WordPress site, you actually have to have the ability to send emails from your server.

If you have shared hosting or a managed VPS, this is no issue – most web hosts configure everything so that your site will be able to send WordPress admin emails.

But if you are a very lazy cheapskate developer like me, you don’t have that ability unless you go through all the effort to actually set it up.

I run most of my sites on a $5 Digital Ocean droplet, installing WordPress with a LAMP stack. Out of the box, you can’t send emails from WordPress. It’s not hard to set up, but it takes time to do. Time you really don’t want to spend if you don’t generally need email capabilities.

And sure, you can change the administrator email and password in the WordPress database itself, but again, in order to access the database in an easy-to-use format, you actually need to install phpMyAdmin or Adminer to do that.

While I don’t often need to update my admin email addresses on the sites I build, there are a bunch of reasons why you might want or need to:

  • You typed the email address wrong. One time I accidentally changed my MySpace email address to end with a .vom instead of a .com. I was locked out for years until I finally resolved it with them. I just needed someone to change the v to a c! How hard could that be?
  • Your email provider no longer exists. I made the mistake of registering my BestofStupid Twitter account with a verizon.net email address back in 2008. Twitter won’t let me back in. They don’t care that I can provide domain verification for BestofStupid or that a photo ID that says, yes, my name is Chelle.
  • Your email address is connected to the wrong Gravatar picture. I like to use different gravatar photos for different sites. Sometimes I go with a professional and serious headshot, other times I go with something a little more laid-back and casual or just use the site’s logo itself.

I was in the predicament of needing to change my admin email yesterday and this is where John Dee of General Chicken swooped in to save the day with his Change Admin Email plugin. Rather than going through all the hassle of setting up mail or phpMyAdmin, I could change my email address in just a couple of clicks.

Change Admin Email
Change Admin Email Plugin By John Dee

The plugin is everything I love in a plugin: simple to use, no complicated settings.

You change your email address + that’s the end of it. John sends you a one-time email to the new address to notify you that your email address was successfully changed. It’s fabulous!


The Step by Step Guide for Changing Your Admin Email in WordPress Without Email Verification

Since I did write in the post title that this is a “guide”, I suppose I should probably include some directions. There are actually 2 ways to do this, so you can decide whether you want to do it with a plugin or a different workaround.

Changing Your Admin Email With a WordPress Plugin

  • Step 1: Install the Change Admin Plugin from your WordPress Plugin Dashboard.
  • Step 2: Activate the Change Admin Plugin.
  • Step 3: Go to Users – Profile and change your admin email address.

See how easy that is? No need to set up SMTP, No need to install phpMyAdmin. This plugin saved me so much time that I wanted to write about it here as a token of appreciation to the developer, John Dee. You can check out his site over at General Chicken.

How to Change the Admin Email Without a Plugin

If you are a minimalist lazy WordPress developer who hates relying on plugins, there is another relatively easy workaround to change the email admin.

  • Step 1: Create a new admin user with your new email address.
  • Step 2: Log out of your site as the old admin and log in with the new admin username and password.
  • Step 3: Delete your old admin user account.

Important! Be sure that you DO NOT click on “Delete All Content” and that you keep the content and attribute it to your current user – otherwise, you will delete all your posts and that could be heart-breaking if you did not make a backup of everything.


This is my first post in this series of guides for lazy cheapskate web developers such as myself. If you are a lazy cheapskate developer and have any questions, requests for guides for me to write in the future, or recommendations for other must-have tools, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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